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State employee furloughs need oversight

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Some state employees’ departments or divisions are 100 percent funded by the federal government — i.e. the Disability Determination Service Division and the Department of Social Services, which processes Social Security Disability claims for California citizens. The Social Security Administration pays the Department of Social Services 100 percent of salaries, benefits and overhead for the Disability Determination Service Division program, plus 10 percent into the California General Fund. Budgets for 2005, 2006, and 2007 were $198, $194 and $191 million, with 10 percent “indirect costs” ($19,354,392 for 2007). “Indirect costs” would lose 10 percent in proportion to the furloughs, $1.9 million loss for the California General Fund. More than 1,400 employees make 300,000 Social Security Disability decisions per year. Schwarzenegger included our division in the 10 percent furloughs, reducing Social Security Disability case reviews by 10 percent and depriving Disability Determination Service Division employees of 10 percent income provided by the Social Security Administration. Absolutely no California savings result by including Disability Determination Service employees in furloughs. The California General Fund will actually lose 10 percent of 10 percent, or $1.9 million. It is pure folly to deprive disabled Californians from timely Social Security Disability decisions, uselessly turn away $1.9 million from the California General Fund and deprive 1,400 Disability Determination Service staff of 10 percent of their income — all for nothing! Richard Dann, MD Auburn