Sequestration and SSA

March 1, 2013

Sequestration’s mandatory budget cuts are scheduled to take effect Friday March 1, 2013.  While the press has reported that SSA will not be affected, this statement is misleading.  The payment of benefits will not be affected, however, the cuts will affect other aspects of the day to day operations of the Agency.  Field and hearing office operations will be impacted, although the degree is not yet known.  SSA estimates that there will be longer waits in field offices and for calls to the toll free SSA number (1-800-772-1213).  Pending levels of disability claims will rise and it will take longer to receive a decision.  At the hearing level, claimants will have to wait nearly a month longer for a hearing decision and the progress SSA has made in reducing backlogs will likely be eroded.  If the hearing office has to implement furloughs, 3,o00 hearings per day will not be held.

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