According to KSAX of Minnesota, a government shutdown caused by proposed 1.7 billion funding cuts would close down Social Security Administration offices for up to one month. SSA employees across the state are protesting the shutdown. Both Alexandria and Brainerd locations in greater Minnesota held protests outside SSA offices, those protesting said that both employers and beneficiaries will be greatly affected.
A Social Security Administration Representative Clint Tuorilla said that applications for benefits will not be processed and phones would not be answered, which could affect a lot of people. SSA workers stood outside in hopes of raising awareness over the government shutdown and how those depending on SSA benefits would be negatively impacted.
Mary Perrier, a former SSA employee said that she experienced previous government furloughs. During those periods, claimants did not receive their needed checks, were unable to obtain information from Social Security to file for benefits and no one could help them, because the staff were sent home.
If no changes are made, the government is scheduled to shut down after April 8.
Back in 1995, about 4,800 employees stayed on the job to process beneficiaries monthly checks, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Another 61,000 were forced to stay home, but officials quickly recalled them once it was realized the American public needed SSA’s phone answered and benefits processed.
Other states are having their own protest rallies held by SSA employees. The American Federation of Government Employees Social Security workers announced an informational picked in Baltimore. Other states have joined in the protest, saying that a government shutdown of SSA would result in longer waits for benefits and backlogs for pending disability claims.