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State Cuts delay Social Security Payments

April 12, 2009

Washington – Social Security benefits for people with severe disabilities are being delayed by layoffs and furloughs of state employees.

This is according to Social Security Commissioner, Michael Astrue who said on Easter Sunday that several state governors are increasing the backlog of disability claims and hurting their own constituents by granting medical leave of absences for workers who make disability decisions.

Astrue also commented that “the State’s response is illogical”, this is with regards to the state of California’s announcement about layoffs, furloughs and hiring freezes which state officials believe would help balance the state budget that had been significantly depleted by the recession.

Typically, claims are processed and evaluated by state employees but it is the federal government who reimburses the state for the wages of these employees and also pays the full benefits for citizens found to be disabled.

With the furloughs and layoffs of state employees, states are not saving any money. They are only delaying payments to severely disabled people.

This delay came at a time when claims for disability benefits are rising due to the high rate of unemployment and a weakened economy.

The Social Security Administration is currently paying $12 billion each month to more than 13 million people with disabilities but is expected to receive more than 3 million claims within this year alone. This is a 15% increase from new claims filed in 2008.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said that an unprecedented fiscal crisis is the main reason for ordering state employees to take 2 days off per month without pay through 2010.

A spokesman for the governor said that the governor believes that the state needs to cut back just as every family and business is doing. State officials are also hoping that the furloughs would have a minimal effect on state services, but they do understand that these services may also suffer.

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