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SSA Commissioner Claims No Silver Bullet To Stop Problems Within Agency

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Is Commissioner Astrue Scrambling To Rehire Former ALJ Judges While Freezing Pay Raises And Increasing Workloads? by, Jack Swint

"Our inability to timely handle work makes the public more frustrated, and you endure that frustration. I also know that outcomes like pay freezes may cause you to question your career choice."" Michael J. Astrue, Social Security Commissioner

Is It All Hands On Deck Or Abandon Ship?

On Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 at 5:15pm,  SSA Commissioner Michael J Astrue sent a broadcast message to all employees that fell just short of doom and gloom for some aspects of the agency in 2012. When looking for someone to take a portion of the blame for SSA's shortcomings this year, he pointed to Congress" "We were surprised that Congress did not stick to the substantially higher level of continuing disability reviews called for in the debt ceiling legislation passed last August. This lower level of funding, combined with substantially more people filing hearings requests, requires us to shift resources."

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Astrue goes on to say that SSA suffered a net loss of over "4,000 Federal and State (related) employees in FY 2011 and we expect a net loss of over 3,000 employees this fiscal year."  He admits that job related stress, higher workloads and pay issues equal an unhappy workforce. "I know that fiscal shortfalls create stress in our offices, especially when there are fewer of you to handle more work. Our inability to timely handle work makes the public more frustrated, and you endure that frustration. I also know that outcomes like pay freezes may cause you to question your career choice."

Besides stress, heavier workloads and those pay freezes that he claims is partly the cause employees leaving; there is another possible reason. And it is a problem that was self-inflicted by early retirement incentives offered by SSA officials. A decision that added to the already disastress backlog of stalled appeals...

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