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Furloughs need oversight

Letter to Editor
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State employee furloughs need oversight! Some state employee departments or divisions are 100 percent funded by the federal government, e.g., the Disability Determination Service Division, Dept. of Social Services, which processes Social Security Disability claims for California citizens. SSA pays Department of Social Services 100 percent of salaries, benefits and overhead for the Disability Determination Service Division program, plus 10 percent into the state’s General Fund. Budgets for 2005, 2006, and 2007 were $198 million, 194 million and $191 million, with 10 percent “indirect costs” ($19,354,392 for 2007). “Indirect costs” would lose 10 percent in proportion to the furloughs, a $1.9 million loss for the CA General Fund. The 1,400 employees of the division make 300,000 SSA disability decisions per year in contract with SSA. Schwarzenegger included our division in the 10 percent furloughs, reducing SSA disability case reviews by 10 percent and depriving DDSD employees of 10 percent income provided by SSA. There’s absolutely no state savings result by including Disability Determination Service employees in furloughs. California General Fund will actually lose 10 percent of 10 percent, or $1.9 million. It is pure folly to deprive disabled Californians from timely SSA disability decisions, uselessly turn away $1.9 million from the state General Fund, and deprive 1,400 Disability Determination Service staff of 10 percent of their income. Richard Dann, MD Auburn