Senators, watchdog hit Social Security over closed offices and poor service

arlington rally social security office closure
When community offices close, residents lose direct access to the benefits they’ve earned. AFGE joined activists from Social Security Works, Alliance for Retired Americans, and the Northern Virginia Labor Council to rally against the proposed closure of the only Social Security Administration office in Arlington, VA. Photo: American Federation of Government Employees via Flickr Creative Commons,

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is getting heat from inside and outside the agency stemming from scores of field-office closures and poor customer service.

Bipartisan leaders of a special Senate committee want Social Security to explain why so many facilities have been shuttered, while a new internal watchdog report documents long processing times at hearing offices.

In letters to SSA and the General Services Administration (GSA) on Monday, Sens. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine) and Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa.), the chairwoman and ranking Democrat, respectively, of the Senate Special Committee on Aging said, “as some 10,000 seniors turn 65 each day and file for Social Security and Medicare, we should be expanding access to services, not reducing access.”

Instead, Social Security has closed about 125 field offices since 2000 and, the senators said, “service hours at field-office locations have also been cut while wait times have risen and hearing backlogs have grown.”

Read more (Washington Post) »

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