SSA budget forces overtime cuts

Friday - 7/22/2011, 4:16pm EDT

By Ruben Gomez
Federal News Radio

Budget pressure is forcing the Social Security Administration (SSA) to curtail public hours at its field offices, the agency said in a press release.

Starting August 15, SSA field offices nationwide will close 30 minutes early each day in an effort to reduce employee overtime.

"While agency employees will continue to work their regular hours, this shorter public window will allow us to complete face-to-face service with the visiting public without incurring the cost of overtime for our employees," Michael Astrue, SSA commissioner, said. "Congress provided our agency with nearly $1 billion less than the President requested for our budget this fiscal year, which makes it impossible for us to provide the amount of overtime needed to handle service to the public as we have in the past."

Earlier this year, budget cuts forced SSA to reorganize its IT functions. Funding reductions, Astrue told Federal News Radio in a May 18 interview, have also forced personnel changes, including a hiring freeze and the loss of 3,500 positions.