Jul 31, 2012

Whether Furloughs And RIFs Come To Social Security To Be Determined In Next Few Weeks

      Update: According to Politico, the basic deal described below has been struck but the devil is in the detail for Social Security and we probably won't know the details until early September.
     The Washington Post reports that Congressional leaders are nearing agreement on a Continuing Resolution to fund government operations in the first half of the 2013 fiscal year (FY), which begins on October 1, 2012. Under the agreement, agencies would suffer an across the board reduction in their budgets in the percentage specified by last year's budget agreement. According to the article:
Congressional leaders are likely to announce that they have reached an agreement in principle but leave passage of the deal until after Congress returns from its August recess. The timeline would allow some details and budget crunching to take place, but it also would provide a window for the deal to go awry if outside groups pressure Republicans to fight for deeper spending cuts.
     For Social Security, the key language here is "details and budget crunching." This means there would be some departures from the across the board spending cuts. Social Security is in bad need of a major departure from the across the board spending cuts. According to a Senate Finance Committee report if the across the board spending cuts are applied to Social Security:
Social Security would lose 5,000 employees and all of the agency's employees and all Disability Determination Services employees would suffer approximately six weeks of furloughs. The average processing time at the initial level on disability claims would raise from 111 days to 180 days and the number of pending disability claims would nearly double from 861,000 to almost 1.5 million by the end of the fiscal year.
     You simply cut those numbers in half for a six month continuing resolution. Two and a half days a month of furloughs for ALL Social Security employees. I don't think you can lose 2,500 jobs without a significant reduction in force (RIF). This all starts on October 1, 2012 without Congress taking special action to protect Social Security. Other agencies are facing the same issues and are seeking the same sort of special exemptions from the appropriations cuts.


Anonymous said...

I'd gladly take a 6-week furlough. Hopefully it can be taken all at once or at least on Fridays/Mondays.

Not quite what teachers get, but a good start.

Anonymous said...

SSA will not furlough, it just wont happen. The cost of figuring out how to adjust payroll deductions for healthcare, TSP, vacation accured, and on and on is way too much.

BTW if you are bragging about being able to go 6 weeks without pay and little notice, then you a just feeding the people that say federal employees are overpaid.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the SS folks should go hang out at some convention like the greedy defense workers (that really should be canned) and put on some t-shirts that say "save our jobs."

Anonymous said...

@ anon 12:45.

1. I think it's only common sense to have the ability to weather brief periods of unemployment. My father told me to always have the ability to go 6 months without a paycheck because you never know when that might happen.

2. Many people have a spouse or significant other that contributes to overall household earnings. My ability to go 6 weeks without pay is not, in any way, an indication that govt. empployees are overpaid. It's an indication that I reside in a fiscally responsible household.

Anonymous said...

Agree with 2pm.

I have almost a full year of expenses saved, but it was done over the course of 14yrs and passing on a new car, fancy vacations, etc.

Granted, being able to save money is probably being "overpaid" in the conservative eyes because they want the norm to be $40k household income for everyone but business owners and their inner circle

Anonymous said...

RIF all those new OGC attorneys & ODAR ALJs & support staff. Last hired, first fired.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I would love to have 6 weeks salary laying around, unfortunately I am in a one income family with a disabled child. All the Dr's appts, therapy, ect. gets expensive, and makes it nearly impossible to accumulate 6 months salary. Even if my spouse was working instead of caring for/teaching my child, we would be shelling out thousands per month for a nanny. You are unable to lump everyone in the same category of spending too much on fancy cars and extravagant vacations for not having a $50K savings account. BTW both of our vehicles have 120K and are 7 yrs old and 17 yrs old and our last vacation was 5 years ago.

Anonymous said...

One wonders is the bank account would be so fat if the government employees were paying a non government employee share of healthcare premiums.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Social Security News said...

Let's not get into personal attacks here. cth

Anonymous said...

Administrator, I was not attacking personally. Just responding to an attack, I do apologize, however you had to agree with me...thx.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 9:06 am. I work for the govt. but do not use the offered health insurance. My spouses program is MUCH cheaper (by at least 75%) with essentially the exact same coverage. Those who think govt. health insurance is great are basing that opinion on stories and rumors. The actual facts are quite different than your perception.

Anonymous said...

From the FAQs at OPM


Generally, as a Federal employee, you share the cost of your health benefits premium with the Government as your employer. Please check our Premiums page for more information . You can also find premiums in your health plan brochure and the Guide to Federal Benefits. In addition to the health plan's premium, you may have to pay deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance.
The FEHB Handbook has additional information on how the Government's share is calculated. For most employees, the Government contribution equals the lesser of
a) 72 percent of the overall weighted average; or
b) 75 percent of the total premium for the plan you select.
The amount you pay is the balance. That is, the difference between the total premium and the government contribution for your health plan. If you are enrolled in a health plan that has premiums above the average, the premium balance for you to pay will be higher.

Please note temporary employees do not receive a Government contribution toward the cost of their health insurance.