The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 8, 2009
Biden to governors: Don't furlough state disability service staff

Last week Vice President Joe Biden sent a letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, Chairman of the National Governor's Association, calling on states to exempt federally-funded state Disability Determination Service employees from furloughs or other budget cuts.

Here's an excerpt:

I am very concerned that some States are imposing hiring restrictions or furloughs on the DDSs. This is not only unsound but it also goes against the spirit of the Recovery Act which included funding explicitly intended to reduce the Social Security disability backlogs and assist Americans with disabilities in this difficult economic time.

Then on Monday, Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, issued a press release, thanking Biden for trying to ratchet up the pressure. (Astrue had written his own letter to Rendell in February.)

While both officials make a clear case, it appears that they aren't getting much traction with the states.

California accounts for roughly 10 percent of all DDS claims in the nation. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn't exempted DDS employees from furloughs.

To read the Biden letter, click here. For Astrue's letter, pop this link. View the online press release here.

Next up: A letter from Pres. Barack Obama?

Thanks to TSW user CM for calling this our our attention.


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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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