Some questions about the shutdown, for anyone who can answer them:
- What was it like in the office when employees came in Tuesday to be officially told they were furloughed?
- Am I correct that the next scheduled payday for most federal employees is October 11? Whatever the date is, it's important. No federal civilian employee gets a paycheck until the shutdown ends, even if they've been working through the shutdown.
- What's it like for Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) and others working in mostly deserted offices?
- If you've been furloughed, how are you spending your time so far?
- Is there some word on the street about when or if the employees furloughed at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) will be called back to work despite the shutdown? Is there any risk that instead of calling the other ODAR employees back that the ALJs will be sent home instead? I think we can all agree that it's impractical to have the ALJs working without support staff for more than a short time.
- Has there been a problem with claimants not showing up for hearings and appointments, thinking that Social Security is completely shut down?
- The Appeals Council receives lots and lots of faxes. The fax machines I'm familiar with print out received faxes. If the fax machine runs of paper, the fax machine stores the fax in its memory but that memory is finite. Faxes can be lost if the machine runs out of paper and memory. The faxes coming into the Appeals Council won't stop. Will there be someone there to stock the fax machines with paper? Is there sufficient memory to cover days, maybe weeks, of faxes?
- The Office of General Counsel (OGC) has to process lots of attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). I'm afraid I know the answer, but will OGC be able to process these during the shutdown? More generally, how will OGC discharge its core responsibilities with something like 90% of its staff furloughed? There must be scheduled hearings, trials, settlement conferences, oral arguments, etc. Is OGC just getting all of these continued?
- For employees still at work, are there bottlenecks caused by the large number of furloughed employees?
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