Union Warns House GOP Proposal May Put Social Security Administration in Crisis

Republicans’ proposed cuts might push the Social Safety Administration to shut workplaces and slash service hours.

A union representing greater than 750,000 federal staff warned Wednesday that the Home GOP’s proposed cuts to the Social Safety Administration for the approaching fiscal yr would deeply hurt the already strained and understaffed company, probably forcing it to shut workplaces and slash service hours.

Such impacts would “devastate the company’s means to serve the American public,” Julie Tippens, legislative director of the American Federation of Authorities Workers (AFGE), wrote in a letter to the highest members of the Home Appropriations Committee.

Final week, a Republican-controlled appropriations subcommittee approved legislation that will reduce the Social Safety Administration’s (SSA) price range for fiscal yr 2024 by $183 million under the at the moment enacted stage. President Joe Biden’s 2024 price range proposal, in contrast, known as for a $1.4 billion increase for the company.

The total Home Appropriations Committee nonetheless should approve the measure, certainly one of a dozen authorities funding payments that Congress is trying to cross by September 30 to avert a authorities shutdown.

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Tippens famous that “seniors and disabled people already face lengthy traces to get assist at subject workplaces” — situations that will solely worsen below the GOP proposal.

“Somebody calling SSA’s helpline faces an antiquated telephone system that incessantly drops their calls and the place the typical wait time is 35 minutes,” Tippens wrote. “A employee with disabilities attempting to assert their earned incapacity profit faces a wait time of over seven months to get an preliminary choice and as much as two years or longer to schedule a incapacity listening to. Greater than 10,000 Individuals die, and one other 5,000 Individuals are compelled to declare chapter, yearly whereas ready for his or her incapacity listening to.”

“Extra cuts to SSA will lead to a speedy enhance of wait occasions, pressure SSA workplaces to shut in lots of communities, and scale back service hours to the general public,” she added, urging lawmakers to reject the funding discount.

The GOP’s proposed cuts to the Social Safety Administration come after Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced plans to determine a bipartisan “fee” to look at methods to chop Social Safety.

Two weeks after McCarthy’s remarks, the 175-member Republican Research Committee released a proposal that will increase Social Safety’s full retirement age to 69, a change that will reduce advantages across the board.

Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), a leading proponent of Social Safety growth within the Home, warned final week that Republicans’ assault on the Social Safety Administration is their “first step” towards reducing advantages.

“Social Safety is one factor the American folks ought to have the ability to rely on, but the Home Republican invoice would disrupt entry to these earned advantages,” stated Larson. “Already, years of underfunding, mixed with the Covid-19 pandemic, have considerably worsened Social Safety Administration’s service, and led to prolonged delays throughout a time of rising want.”

“The Home Republican invoice will solely pile onto this drawback, making it more durable and more durable for Individuals to entry their earned advantages,” Larson continued. “I’ll proceed to battle for the Social Safety Administration to have the funding and staffing it wants to enhance customer support to the American folks.”

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