In a statement, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), who chairs the Social Security subcommittee under Levin, says, "[T]his Republican plan would close down Social Security offices for an entire month this year. That means half a million American seniors, disabled workers and surviving family members--working people who have earned their Social Security benefits--will find themselves placed into a backlog of unprocessed claims. It means phones going unanswered, claims going unprocessed and a ripple effect of backlogged cases that will continue well beyond this year."
The Republicans claim the cuts amount to about $1 billion below what President Obama requested. But when dig in deeper, Democrats have found the cuts add up to about $1.7 billion -- a hefty chunk of SSA's operating budget.
This includes rescinded stimulus funds, and the $500 million SSA currently has in its reserve account to meet legal requirements and other operating expenses.
This comes at a time when the Social Security Administration is already stretched thin. SSA is operating under a hiring freeze because its current allocations are too low. Democrats warn the cuts would cause blackout periods in SSA's operations, and create a huge backlog of claims across the program.
And, of course, things get even worse for beneficiaries if the spending impasse isn't bridged, and the government shuts down temporarily.