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Statement for the Record, Testimony for the Subcommitte hearing on SSA Budget

Date: 
03/09/2011
Author: 
Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner SSA

On March 9th, the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing on SSA budget. Commissioner Astrue testified that Congress appropriated for SSA less than the President requested each year from 1992 to 2007. Current "theoretically level-funded" continuing resolution (CR) does not consider SSA increasing operating costs and at the same time does not include $350 million Recovery Act funding that SSA received in FY 2010. Essentially, this means that in FY2011 SSA will have to operate with a significantly smaller budget as compared to last year.

A full year CR will force SSA to continue hiring freeze for all headquarters and regional office staff (started in July of 2010). The Agency will restrict hiring only to the "components critical to the backlog reduction effort to replace staffing losses" (this means very modest hiring at ODARs). SSA will reduce or eliminate overtime.
Plans to open 8 new hearing offices will be shut down. SSA will discontinue 300 remote services sites nationally and will consolidate local field offices wherever it makes "fiscal sense." A new teleservice center in Tennessee will not be open.

If the CR continues SSA will suspend the current contract and stop sending Social Security Statements to non-beneficiaries who are over age 25. Under a new contract SSA plans to send Statements only to people age 60 and over and people under 60 upon request only. Social Security Statement may become available on line (nothing in the works yet).

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