Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose district includes part of Shelton, is criticizing the impact of sequestration on the Social Security Administration (SSA). DeLauro said sequestration \u201cputs the basic functions of Social Security at risk\u201d and the cuts come at a time when the agency \u2014 and many other government departments \u2014 have been \u201cdealing with funding that has not kept up with inflation and demand over the years.\u201d Sequestration is the process of automatic spending cuts in certain government programs to try to lower the federal budget deficit. Flat funding Funding for the SSA over the past two fiscal years for routine operations has been essentially flat, according to DeLauro, the senior Democrat on the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee. \u201cIn each of these years the funding level provided was below the president\u2019s request by $924 million, or 8%,\u201d she said. \u201cThese cuts have a real impact on our ability to serve our seniors, and to ensure they get the proper benefits they have earned.\u201d Budget cuts required by sequestration come at a time when Social Security retirement claims are increasing and a backlog continues in disability claim hearings, DeLauro said. \u201cThe SSA is already understaffed, and these cuts will only make things worse,\u201d she said. \u201cDue to limited resources, the SSA has already taken measures such as curbing hiring and closing offices.\u201d Criticizes Republicans DeLauro was critical of the role of Republicans \u2014 who control the U.S. House \u2014 in how much funding was being provided to the SSA. She said while \u201cthe majority [Republicans] claims to want to save money by cutting out program waste and inefficiencies, their rhetoric is not matched by their action. Rather, it suggests that they would prefer to see Social Security falter in its basic responsibilities to Americans.\u201d DeLauro said Social Security is an important part of most people\u2019s retirement planning. \u201cSocial Security is the ultimate legislative expression of our nation\u2019s shared values,\u201d she said. \u201cFor over 75 years, it has tied generation to generation. It ensures that seniors have a secure retirement after decades of service to their communities. And it provides a safety net for those who can no longer work due to an accident or disability.\u201d Social Security lowers elderly poverty The federal retirement entitlement program has uplifted the lives of many seniors, according to DeLauro. \u201cAs soon as the first Social Security check was issued, poverty among the elderly began to drop, from more than 30% of elderly Americans in the 1950s to 10% today,\u201d she said. \u201cTwo out of three seniors today rely on Social Security as the prime source of monthly income, including three-quarters of all elderly women,\u201d she said. DeLauro is from New Haven and represents the Third Congressional District. Shelton is divided between two congressional districts. U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, also a Democrat, represents the Fourth District that covers other parts of Shelton.