SSA takes state furloughs to Congress

Michael Astrue, Commissioner, Social Security Administration

wfedstaff | June 3, 2015 9:10 am

By Meg Beasley
Federal News Radio

The ” target=”_blank”>told the Federal Drive’s Tom Temin and Amy Morris today. “The silliness of it is that we just cut the funding off. So [states] are hurting themselves in these bad economic times in two ways. Their employees are getting less money, less salary and paying less taxes. And people who should be getting disability benefits from the federal government are getting them more slowly and their tapping other state resources while their waiting for a disability decision.”

California was the first state to furlough disability workers 18 months ago, and that caught the agency off guard when it became a widespread practice, he says.

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Astrue estimates that at any given time 10 to 15 states have some sort of furlough or other restriction on SSA’s ability to provide services.

“It’s been almost 2 years now and it’s time to do something,” he says.

That something is proposed

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While most state officials are civil in negotiations with SSA, Astrue says some have been combative and even refused to speak to SAA representatives.

Now that the legislation has been proposed and endorsed by the administration, Astrue says the hard work of rallying Congressional support and finding co-sponsors beings.

“We think we’re going to get a fair amount of support on this… now we’ve got to turn that talk into actual action,” he says.

Meg Beasley is an intern with Federal News Radio.

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