The newly-appointed and confirmed Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced a hiring freeze that will affect some quarters of the Administration. This affects Californians looking to work for the SSA or applying for benefits from the SSA.
The Commissioner indicated that the freeze will mostly affect the national headquarters and also will affect certain regional offices. While they perform important work that can affect those applying for Social Security Disability benefits due to a disability, the staff in these offices do not directly interact with constituents, including those applying for disability on a regular basis.
To be clear, the freeze is not the same as actually cutting back on staff. However, it will mean that new positions cannot be created and vacancies cannot be filled in those areas subject to the partial freeze. Likewise, temporary positions may not be extended without a special exception.
The new Commissioner has indicated that his priorities are to improve other customer services and also to reduce wait times that have been a plague on the whole Administration. The Commissioner has said that he believes his move will ultimately help serve these purposes.
As mentioned, though, the whole Administration is, at least to some degree, interrelated, so it is hard to know exactly how a hiring freeze in one quarter will affect those who are trying to obtain disability. For instance, the Administration’s Appeals Council, which is not located in the Washington area, hears cases from all over the country. Some have expressed concern that those who assist in the hearing process may be effected by the freeze.