DHHS lays off 56 employees, closes disability benefits office because of federal government shutdown

AUGUSTA — All employees at a disability services office in Winthrop and four more in the Maine Department of Health and Human Services were laid off Monday as a result of the federal government shutdown, Gov. Paul LePage announced Monday evening.

The 52 employees at the DHHS Disability Determination Office in Winthrop make Social Security disability determinations on behalf of the federal government, but will be furloughed until Congress and President Barack Obama can end a political stalemate that has kept the federal government closed for the past week. Employees were notified on Monday and the layoffs were effective immediately, said LePage in a media release. The Disability Determination Office in Winthrop will be closed until further notice.

In addition, the state notified four other DHHS employees that they have been laid off, including two in the Office of Aging and Disability Services, one in the Office of Multicultural Affairs and one in the Office for Family Independence.

All of the affected positions are 100 percent federally funded.

“The state of Maine has no choice but to suspend operation of disability determination because it relies solely on federal funding,” said LePage. “This is just one of the many difficult situations we must address as the federal shutdown in Washington continues with no immediate resolution in sight.”

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Bob White's picture

Question for you people

Why is it when Bush was President everything was his fault? and I mean everything!!! When our Governor puts his foot down he is being a bully. However when President Obama has ran up the deficit trillions of dollars lied about an attack on us, was against raising the debit ceiling when he was a senator and the list goes on and on Plus he says he will not negotiate with the republicans. Obama doesn't own any of this in your eyes its all those bad guys in the GOP. Wow that medical marijuana must be some good stuff. This is where we differ as people I know there are a lot of things in play so obviously no one person or even a one group is to blame neither with Obama or any other political party or person.
The President can not say "he will not negotiate" that sets a tone John Boehner has said that nothing is of the table. Well Mr. President you need to sit at the table lets get talking. Will Boehner get everything they want probably not. I'm not sure if the President is trying to get the egg off his face from the way he handled the Syria but this isn't the time to have a ego.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I'll bet if one of the oBAMa

I'll bet if one of the oBAMa girls gets in trouble at school it's Michelle's fault.

Bob White's picture

Your so wrong Saint

I find it hard to believe your this wrong as intelligent of a man that you are and you got your last comment so wrong it mystifies me. Paul it wouldn't be Michelle's fault it would be George W Bush's fault.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I stand corrected. Momentary

I stand corrected. Momentary lapse of reason. 0O:-)


Who won't negotiate

Boehner admitted yesterday on Fox News that there were budget negotiation going on before the shutdown and that Reid accepted the Republican counter offer on the budget but that Republicans recanted their offer to "take a stand" on Obamacare. The democrats have already compromised and the president has said over and over that he will negotiate once the government is reopened. Shutting down the government unless the democrats reverse the election they just won is not negotiating it is extortion and it would be the height of irresponsibility for the President to turn his back on the will of the people who voted in the last election and to give in to this kind of threats. Imagine the situation were reversed and the democrats shut down the government unless they got universal registration of all firearms. Would that seem fair to you?

Have you noticed, Claire,

Have you noticed, Claire, that whenever you or I or anyone else brings up that admission by Boehner, it gets really quiet in the Amen Corner?

FRANK EARLEY's picture

It has been more than proven........

Thank you John Boehner,because of you, my friend, who I'm helping with her SSDI application is in the second stage of the application process, and desperately needs help to maybe save her home. Now I guess the wind has gone out of her sails.
I've said this before, when your disabled, especially when you first become disabled it's a traumatic experience. It's a total feeling of helplessness that a lot of people have never felt before. Now along with the life altering incident that has disabled you, your being totally disrespected by the Republican party and their games.
I would imagine that there is dancing in the isles up in Augusta. I mean being able to disrupt the lives of that many needy people without even having to make up an excuse, LePage must be beside himself.
Now I'm hearing about a bunch of new victims of Boehners games. The families of those soldiers killed in Afghanistan. No immediate death benefits. Now that's what I call supporting the troops. Whats next??????????????????????

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The president has the power

The president has the power and the authority to change that immediately, but he won't because he's banking that the republicans will get blamed for it by you Kool-Aid drinkers. And, obviously, I'm right.

Bob White's picture


You should write to the President and tell him he needs to compromise. Thankfully the speaker has gotten more furlough works back to work when Reid said no. When you have a President that comes out and says there is no compromising on the budget or the debit ceiling then there is a problem.

Dems already compromised.

Dems already compromised. Boehner reneged because the Tea Party strong-armed him into adding their amendment.

 's picture

We now know that the shutdown was planned from the beginning of

the year by Republicans to do as much damage as they could to the country and to Obama. We need to remember this in 2014.

 's picture

Are you serious?

Are you serious?

 's picture

Yes, NYT reported it, I believe, Monday

Morning Joe discussed the reports today. More than 30 "conservative" organizations met (meeting funded by Koch brothers) in early January to develop strategy for dealing with Obama's second term. Meeting agreed to shutdown the government over Obamacare if necessary to end the law. Agreed to send Cruz around country this summer to prepare for the shutdown strategy and to ramp up anger toward Obama and Obamacare.
Nothing surprising here, they met in 2009 to formulate a strategy which would make Obama a one-term president. Their strategy failed but these folks don't give up.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Not only did they plan to disrupt.........

Not only did they plan the disruption of the ACA, they issued talking points to be used in answering the inevitable questions. They showed an actual document with the actual talking points. They match almost word for word with what the likes of Boehner and Cruz are saying to place blame on the Democrats. These talking points were already in print as far back as 2011, The Coch Bros. have put millions into the plan to destroy Obama, and the ACA. They kind of remind me of the Wizard of OZ, being unmasked by Toto, behind the curtain. scaring all the little people with loud noise and smoke.
Has anyone ever heard just what it is the Coch bros. are actually looking to accomplish? What are they trying to buy with all their millions, I would think if it's that important to them, they would maybe try a legitimate course of action to accomplish their goal.......

 's picture


First, this is critical. Shows that the Republicans have been negoitating in bad faith all along. They never intended on compromising confirming the on-mic conversation Rand Paul and McConnel had. They would never accept anything the Democrats would have offered; it was all for the cameras.
Second, confirms their propaganda. No Republican was responding with their own views. They were working off a script.
Third, The Koch Brothers have never made a dime. All their money came from their father who was the Treasurer and primary financial backer of the John Birch Society for decades. No one we will ever talk to or hear from knows what they want. But the evidence is pretty clear. They want control of the Country like businessmen in 1933-34 who tried to create a fascist dictatorship with Roosevelt as a figurehead.


Word Salad.

Word Salad.

 's picture

Non-comment, comment

why did you waste the energy.

 's picture


To LePage the disabled are easy targets.


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