Sequestration: What It Will Mean Locally

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The faces of the massive budget cuts known as sequestration aren't in Washington, D.C. They are moms from the Tri-State region like Tia Reils who have the Social Security Office on speed dial.

"Especially when it comes to two autistic children and turning stuff in updating cases, it's not always easy," Reils explained.

On Friday, she got in and out of the Huntington office fast.

"Sometimes you call, you will be the twentieth on the line and you will sit there quite a bit," Reils said.

She said she knows the employees are working as fast as they can. It's just the amount of information that is needed which takes some time.

But if Congress doesn't act before the March 1 deadline, the massive cuts will go into effect. As a result, that Social Security line could get longer. One money saving measure could mean the offices close one day a week as a money saving measure.

West Virgina's Army and Air National Guard stands to lose 56 employees. Another 920 will be notified about furloughs, to the tune of $6.5 million.

If this becomes a reality, it could mean fewer mine inspections. The mandatory inspections would happen but nothing beyond that.

Fewer TSA workers will mean delays at airports that are major hubs for travelers in our region. However, locally, leaders at Tri-State and Yeager airports don't anticipate problems.

At the Covenant House in Charleston they are bracing for the possibility of a major funding change.

Covenant House Executive Director Ellen Allen says they've been preparing for cuts for some time now. She says it "could be devastating." The non-profit serves the homeless, helps those less fortunate pay their utilities and even works with AIDS patients. Each one of those programs is on the sequestration chopping block to lose funding.

Also at risk are Title I programs, mental health programs -- even food safety will be affected.

The automatic cuts are set to go into effect March 1.


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