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SSA suggests austerity measures possible if bill passes

Spokespeople for the Social Security Administration have claimed that if an appropriations measure making its way through Congress passes, the Administration will be forced to temporarily lay off employees and stop new hiring. Local branch offices may also have to temporarily close.

The Congressional measures, one in the House and one in the Senate, take a slightly different approach than the plan offered by the President. Whereas the President proposes an administrative budget increase of $522 million over the current $11.1 billion budget, the Congressional plans both propose cuts in this budget. It is important for New Jersey residents following this story to remember that this operational budget is different from the trust fund which the government uses to actually pay benefits.

The Social Security Administration has already seen its actual budget shrink ever the past several years, that is since 2010, once one accounts for inflation. On the other hand, the number of people on Social Security has increased by 12 percent over the same period of time. With respect to disability claimants, the main concern over budget cuts is that people will have to wait longer for decisions about their SSD benefits for disability. Already, disabled applicants may have to wait about 500 days, over a year, for a decision on benefits.

Especially in an election year, the political climate, along with the measures currently pending in Congress, are subject to change. Still, those New Jersey residents who are concerned about the continued viability of Social Security should pay careful attention to this ongoing story.

Source: The Washington Post, "Closed Social Security offices, furloughed staff under GOP cuts, agency warns," Joe Davidson, Aug. 9, 2016.

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