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California SSA workers protest proposed budget cuts

Today, workers at several California Social Security Administration (SSA) offices will participate in informational picket lines outside local Social Security office buildings. The picket lines are part of a statewide protest of the proposed federal budget cuts that, if passed, will drastically reduce SSA funding and increase Social Security Disability (SSD) wait times and service to SSD recipients.

According to a press release from the American Federation of Government Employees Social Security workers (AFGESS), which organized the picket lines, the goal of the protests is to educate the residents of California about the proposed budget cuts, and to encourage Californians to contact their legislators and encourage them to vote against the cuts to Social Security programs. The AFGESS also planned a national call-in day at state SSA offices, during which constituents are urged to call their legislators and urge them to strike down the budget cuts.

The protests are in response to a proposed $1.7 billion reduction in SSA funding for 2011, which was introduced by members of the U.S. House of Representatives. According to the AFGESS, such a sudden and drastic budget cut would force SSA employees to take up to a month of furloughs, which is essentially unpaid vacation.

In addition to being potentially devastating to the many SSA workers who will be harmed with such a substantial drop in their take-home pay, the proposed cuts will ultimately be the most harmful to those who are receiving or who wish to receive SSD benefits. The AFGESS says that the wait times for benefits will increase past their current record levels, as will backlogs of pending disability claims and appeal hearings.

Source: KRCR, " Protests Planned Over Proposed Budget Cuts ", 6 April 2011

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