Budget Outlook - Fiscal Year 2014
The deadline (September 30th) is rapidly approaching for the Federal Government to agree upon the amount of annual funding the Social Security Administration receives for Fiscal Year 2014. If history is any indication, it is likely that Congress will prevent a lapse in appropriations by enacting a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to fund critical government operations and allow Congress the time to complete the full-year 2014 appropriations.
However, SSA has to prepare for the possibility that a lapse could occur at the end of this month. A lapse would mean that a number of government activities would cease due to a lack of appropriated funding. It would also mean that a number of employees would be temporarily furloughed.
As a former SSA employee, I recall many years where this same scenario played out. Typically, the situation is resolved without furloughing employees. However, even without employees being actually furloughed, it does come at a cost. The threat of being furloughed increases stress on SSA employees wondering how their personal situation will be affected if a deal is not reached. This comes at a time when morale is already down because of reduced staffing, increased workloads, and cuts in overtime. In addition to the lost productivity from decreased morale, many hours are expended in contingency planning for furloughs. The sooner the Federal Government comes to a deal on next year's funding for SSA, the better it will be for SSA employees and the public.
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