Social Security managed to escape most of the impacts of sequestration. Other agencies, like the Defense Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the Housing and Urban Development Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have furloughed people. Social Security cut back office hours and is doing more with fewer people. It's had two budget cuts in the last two years, and Congress — when it gets back from its latest extended vacation — may or may not approve a new budget.
In the meantime, Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin has sent an all-hands message to staffers asking them to hang in there. Effective now, she said, "We are facing our toughest fiscal challenge in 30 years...we anticipate lengthy debates over our budget...Congress may not reach agreement before Sept. 30, which means we may enter a new fiscal year under a continuing resolution and under the continued effects of sequestration."
Colvin, a veteran fed with four decades of service, noted that SSA has lost 10,000 employees in the last three years, and this has resulted in imbalances in different offices.
She said she is telling SSA bosses to "provide for broader empowerment at the staff level," greater delegation of both "accountability and responsibility" — while asking each employee to come up with "game-changer" processes, rules, procedures or systems that make it easier to do more with less.