Social Security Administration Praises
on "Illegal" Furloughs in California
Asks Governor Schwarzenegger to Accept
Ruling and Congress to Increase Oversight
Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, issued the
following statement regarding two recent decisions of the California
Superior Court for the County of Alameda:
"When it comes to the furlough of state employees whose jobs
are paid for by federal funds, California Superior Court Judge
Frank Roesch ruled state officials have 'abused their discretion'
and that 'such a policy is arbitrary, capricious and unlawful.' I
could not agree more.
For more than a year, I have made the case that these furloughs
cost states money, hurt their most vulnerable citizens, and harm
hard-working civil servants. California’s furlough of Disability
Determination Service (DDS) employees costs the state $849,000
per furlough day in administrative funding. More importantly,
each furlough day results in a delay costing California’s
disabled citizens over $420,000 in much-needed Social Security
benefits. For the sake of the citizens of California, I call
on Governor Schwarzenegger to reject his own failed policy and
not appeal the court's ruling.
Social Security funds 100 percent of DDS employees’ salaries
as well as all overhead costs -- about $2 billion nationwide this
year. These funds cannot be used by the states for any other
purpose, so states do not save a single penny by furloughing employees
in the DDSs – they only slow getting benefits to the disabled,
unduly harm its civil servants, and cost the state needed tax revenue. Nevertheless,
about a dozen governors are imposing similar across-the-board hiring
freezes or furloughs that also affect DDS employees. I sincerely
hope Congress will use its oversight authority to investigate not
just California, but the other states that are using -- or have
used -- furloughs and hiring freezes for positions that are fully
funded by the Social Security Administration and other federal
To read the entire decision in Service Employees International
Union Local 1000, and Yvonne Walker v. Arnold Schwarzenegger,
et al., click here.
To read the entire decision in Union of American Physicians and Dentists v. Arnold Schwarzenegger, et al., click here.
To read the California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes report on Furloughs in Federally-Funded Benefit Programs, click here.
To read a letter from Vice President Biden to the Governors, click here.
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SSA Press Office 440 Altmeyer Building 6401 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21235
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