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Could the Impending Budget Cuts Touch You?
Posted By Tamara Lytle On November 21, 2012 @ 11:43 am In Washington Watch | No Comments
Sequestration – that’s the five-dollar word for the across-the-board budget cuts looming in the near future – sounds pretty arcane and abstract. But if the automatic cuts go into effect at the beginning of the year, many older Americans could feel them quite tangibly – when they go to the Social Security office, turn on the heat or hear their stomachs rumble.
When Democrats and Republicans couldn’t agree on a deficit-reduction package last year, they tied their own hands. They agreed to cuts in defense and domestic programs that will go into effect automatically if they haven’t found another way to deal with the deficit problem. Now they’re scrambling to find that way.
Social Security and Medicare benefits are protected. But the Social Security Administration will have less money to pay its administrative expenses. The result: disability-claim processing could jump to a six-month wait. (This from a July 2012 report on the likely impact of sequestration by Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa.) What’s more, as the result previous budget cutbacks, Social Security offices will close on Wednesdays at noon, beginning in January.
Other programs also will be cut. “Most of these programs don’t have enough money to serve the people they have currently,” says David Center, AARP’s federal affairs director.
The cuts, which would come a fourth of the way into the government’s fiscal year, could total 12 percent. Here are some of the impacts, according to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee:
And there may be more that no one envisions right now because, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
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