How budget cuts could have an impact on your Social Security benefits

Apr 25, 2012, 8:33 a.m.

Many people are discovering that budget cuts may impact Social Security services they might require, but so far there are no changes pending for Social Security benefits. Overall, the entire Social Security Administration (SSA) is struggling to balance services they are able to offer to the public despite severe budget cuts.

Budget cuts are primarily seen today in reduced office hours and cutbacks in some services. The 2011 fiscal operating budget is $11.4 billion, which seems to be a generous amount. In reality, however, this year's budget falls short of last year's by a whopping $510 million. This is a deep cut in funding against a continuing increase of about 8,000 senior boomers turning 65 each day.

To provide services to new applicants, the agency must determine where cuts are to be made without sacrificing the excellent service they are known to provide. One of the first areas to be cut by the SSA is to close service sites in remote areas and close most field offices a half hour earlier. A new call center is also being put on hold while about 3,500 jobs will be cut from the 68,000 person workforce this year, with 4000 more jobs on the chopping block in the next year.

Retirees will discover there are times now when going to an SSA office in person may be faster than trying to get answers by telephone. Seniors understand that their Social Security benefits are unlikely to be cut, but they may not hear about other related budget battles taking place in Washington D.C. that will affect their ability to communicate with and get local services from the Social Security Administration.

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