Thousands of American Federation of Government Employees Social Security Administration workers from 96 offices in 31 states across the country today had a one-day informational picket to educate the public about the devastating impact the proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 federal budget would have on the Social Security Administration.
“SSA employees are shocked and dismayed by the actions and rhetoric from some members of Congress regarding the Social Security program and are expressing such concern by participating in an informational picket at SSA offices across the country,” explained Witold Skwierczynski, president of AFGE National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals.
House Republicans have proposed a $1.7 billion reduction in SSA funding for the remainder of FY 2011. If this proposal is included in the new Continuing Resolution (CR) for FY 2011, the budget cuts would lead to a month of furloughs at the Social Security Administration resulting in longer waits for benefits, backlogs of those with pending disability claims and hearings could reach record levels, and waiting times at field offices and busy signals at SSA’s toll free number would increase dramatically.
“SSA is already operating under a partial hiring freeze because of the current Continuing Resolution. A major loss of staff, budget cuts and furloughs will compromise the progress made in chipping away at the vast backlogs in integrity workloads such as Continuing Disability Reviews and SSI Redeterminations. We would be cutting services to the population who need assistance at key times in their lives – retirees and the disabled. Why would we treat this population with such cavalier insensitivity? If the government shuts down due to failure of Congress to agree on a budget and SSA closes its doors, the most vulnerable population will have no access to the benefits they are entitled to receive,” concluded Skwierczynski.
Standing in solidarity with AFGE was the Strengthen Social Security Campaign and the Alliance for Retired Americans.