SSA displays online interactive map on furloughs in 19 states

Map shows states lost $65M in federal funds and delayed benefits for people with disabilities

The Social Security Administration has started an interactive online map to highlight the 19 states that have lost $65 million in federal funds collectively by furloughing workers whose salaries are paid by the SSA.

Under a joint federal-state funding relationship, SSA pays the full salaries of state employees who do initial processing of disability claims under the federal Disability Determination Services program.

As a budget-reduction measure, governors in recent months have adopted furloughs for their state workforces. The mandatory time off without pay included the disability-processing workers in 19 states, despite cautions from SSA not to include them.

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“Furloughing 100 percent federally funded employees makes no sense,” the SSA said on its website. “The states save no money by furloughing employees working in the DDS.”

States that lost the most funding from January 2009 to February 2011 were California, $48 million; Ohio, $6 million; and New Jersey, $2 million, according to the map.

The online map, which was posted on the SSA’s open-government Web pages this month, also shows that disabled people in those states have been delayed in receiving $33 million in federal benefits as a result of those furloughs.

The greatest effects were on disabled people in California, with $24 million delayed; Ohio, with $3 million delayed; and New Jersey, with $1 million delayed, the SSA map indicates.

The greatest effect was in California, where 87,000 households with an eligible disabled person were affected by the delays, SSA said.

Some governors, including Colorado’s, started furloughs but exempted the disability-processing employees.

The SSA also suggested that the state governments that had furloughs for the disability workers may not comply with federal regulations.

“Federal regulations require that states avoid furloughs or other hiring restrictions whenever possible,” SSA said.

Federal money that isn't spent on furloughed workers in one state is reallocated to other states, it said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.


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