Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration (SSA) reported that it began implementing cost savings initiatives in 2011, which helped avoid furloughs and mitigate some of the challenges in implementing sequestration in fiscal year 2013. After sequestration was ordered, SSA reported that it continued many of its cost-cutting measures such as restricting hiring and limiting overtime and travel. While it is difficult to separate the effects of sequestration from the effects of other ongoing budget constraints, SSA reported that sequestration cuts would result in growing backlogs of hearings for Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit claims and longer wait times at Social Security offices. Further, officials noted that loss of experienced staff could mean increasing workloads, backlogs, and improper payments in the future. In addition, SSA officials told us that the inability to replace departed staff can negatively affect long-term succession planning.