The House and Senate have passed the GOP stop-gap budget plan cutting $4 billion in federal spending over the next two weeks.  This plan averts a government shutdown on Friday but leaves agencies like the Social Security administration facing furloughs, office closures, and delays in processing claims.   The GOP wants these cuts extended for the remainder of the year and the SSA has already warned employees of furloughs if that happens.  Here’s a sample of what this budget proposal means for SSA and its beneficiaries:  Total Reductions in House GOP Proposals:  $981 Million – Current budget shortfall in SSA (due to the freeze at 2010 funding) $125 million – Additional reduction in budget proposal $500 million – Internet Technology reduction $118 million – Computer Center reduction  $1.724 billion in Total SSA Operations/Systems reductions  What does that mean for Social Security beneficiaries? For every week that SSA employees are furloughed:
  •  100,000 people will not have their retirement, survivors or Medicare applications processed causing workers to wait longer for their hard-earned benefits during this period of economic uncertainty, and causing widows and surviving children to face continued uncertainty during a stressful time
  • 73,000 disability applicants will wait 30 days longer than the already unacceptable wait of almost 4 months
  • 18,000 disability applicants making an appeal will wait until 2012 to present their appeals to a judge
  • 115,000 new and 231,000 replacement Social Security numbers will not be issued, leaving workers without the documentation they need to start a new job or open a bank account
 This is exactly the “starve the beast” politics promoted by those opposed to programs like Social Security for decades.  Social Security works for millions of Americans each year, yet it’s still under constant assault.  Defunding the agency as proposed in this budget resolution fulfills that political goal while also hurting millions of American seniors, the disabled, survivors and their families at the same time.