Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Democratic Members to Speaker Boehner - Abandon Plan to Shut Down SSA

The following is taken from a March 16, 2011
press release by Democrats Ways and Means Committee:

WASHINGTON, DC—Today 125 members of the House Democratic Caucus sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) urging him to restore reasonable funding levels to the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the House Republican 2011 budget to avoid shutting down the agency for the equivalent of a month this year. The letter was spearheaded by Reps. Sander M. Levin (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee, Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

Ranking Member DeLauro: “Social Security ties generations together, providing economic security to millions of American seniors who otherwise might not be able to afford their daily expenses. And yet, it will be one of the first casualties of the Republican’s spending bill. The $1.7 billion drop in funding to the Social Security Administration could cause a shutdown of four weeks; leaving current beneficiaries without help should they need it, new retirees without benefits, our current workforce without the knowledge that their wages are being accounted for, and even newborn children without Social Security numbers. Americans of all ages depend on Social Security, and we must stand up to defend it against these reckless Republican cuts.”

In a letter to employees last month, SSA cautioned that it may have to furlough workers if cuts to its budget are enacted into law. In their Continuing Resolution, Republicans have proposed cutting SSA’s administrative funding by more than 9 percent in 2011, from $11.8 billion in 2010 to $10.7 billion this year. In addition, the Republican proposal provides for $1.7 billion less than SSA needs to keep pace with inflation and rising workloads.

We note Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett was a signing member and has been active in his support of disability issues. These cuts have real impact on SSA who has suspended sending earning statements, overtime and other services due to the biweekly budget scenario and lack of ability to plan out the rest of the year. We hope Speaker Boehner takes the letter seriously. Disabled Americans are not asking for a stimulus or a bail out. A promise kept for their safety net would be sufficient.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Social Security offices across U.S. to protest cuts

From the Washington Post, Lisa Rein Staff Writer penned an article regarding Social Security workers who will be demonstrating today.

Social Security workers around the country, “Rhode Island to Montana” will be holding demonstrations today. Members of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign and other groups were also scheduled to take part in Wednesday's protests.Last year some state furloughs affected the Disability Determination offices and the agency's workers have consistently warned that drastic cuts in service will impact what the agency's employees can do in this time of increasing claims and limited employment.

Dana Duggins, an official with the American Federation of Government Employees National Council of Social Security Administration locals, states that some SSA workers will hand out fliers and carry signs that read "No furloughs" and "No budget cuts" during a staggered midday lunch period and tell the public what they think would happen if the Republican plan - or a smaller version of it - were to be enacted. Federal workers have been targeted by Republican lawmakers and the White House as both seek to reduce the deficit by reorganizing and reducing government.

We have long felt that cuts to SSA's budget and staffing limitations are pound foolish and not even penny wise. Every cut delays the claims disabled submit and the appeals that occur in the process. The safety net that SSA provides is the last place to look for cuts. We support the union's efforts and agree with employees who are asking for budget and staffing levels that support the disabled who depend on SSA's field offices and Disability Determination Services. You cut SSA staff and you cut services for the disabled. It is that simple.