According to the National Organization Of Social Security Claimant's Representatives the sequestration's mandatory budget cuts will take place on March 1, 2013. The general press has reported that Social Security will not be affected; however, this is not fully accurate. The payment of benefits will not be affected; however, the other operational aspects of Social Security will be affected.
According to the Social Security Administration's fact sheet on the effective sequestration on Social Security's operations, field office and hearing office operations will be impacted. Social Security estimates that sequestration will result in longer waits at field offices averaging 30 minutes and for use of the 800 number. In addition, initial disability claims would take approximately 2 weeks longer for an initial decision.
Nationally the sequestration would result in loss of more than 5,000 additional Social Security Administration employees. This can only have an impact on the speed at which claims are processed.
At the hearing level, Claimants will have to wait nearly a month longer for hearing decisions and the process of reducing the time it takes to get to hearing would be eroded. This is particularly troubling since the average processing times are now increasing nationally to about 382 days.