Today’s Oregonian reports a frightening prospect – the state’s governor is proposing furloughs for all state workers to try to balance the budget – including DDS personnel. Just as they start to make a dent in the hearing office backlogs, this would move the bottleneck back one step to the office that makes intermediate determinations of disability.
The Oregonian says: Social Security officials say Oregon’s proposal to furlough state workers who handle the agency’s disability applications will bog down an already slow claims process, harm sick and injured people and provide no savings to Oregonians.
In a letter to Gov. Ted Kulongoski this week, the Social Security Administration’s regional commissioner, Donald Schoening, urged the governor to exempt Oregon’s 192 Disability Determination Services employees from proposed furloughs. Schoening pointed out that Social Security pays the salaries and overhead — more than $25 million a year — for those state workers.
“Furloughing Oregon DDS employees will not reduce state expenditures,” Schoening wrote. “It will, instead, reduce federal monies paid to the state and delay payments to disabled citizens who rely on the monthly benefits to meet their living expenses. These outcomes are directly opposed to your goals.” See article here: