Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 20, 2018 – Lawmakers have criticized the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) recent field office closures across the United States.
The agency has closed 10 percent of its field offices nationwide since 2000, which is around 125 locations. Recent closures have included offices in North Baltimore, Maryland and Arlington, Virginia. In addition, SSA has also gotten rid of all 533 contact sites, which served rural areas. Officials explained that the shutdowns were part of the agency’s overall goal to transition to an increased use of online services.
“There are certain population groups that are likely to face major difficulties due to the office closures, including senior citizens and individuals with disabilities,” said Florida social security disability attorney David W. Magann. “Without a conveniently located field office, they may be forced to travel long distances to another location. The SSA should remember that not everyone is able to access services online.”
U.S. Senate Special Committee Chairwoman Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Robert Casey, a ranking committee member, sent letters to the SSA and General Services Administration (GSA) seeking explanations about why multiple offices have closed recently. They expressed their concerns about the series of shutdowns impacting the SSA’s quality of service.
The letters 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.” The senators pointed out that service hours at various field office locations have been cut while wait times and hearing backlogs have increased.
The letters cited recent findings from a SSA inspector general’s report that documented long processing times at regional hearing offices. The watchdog report noted low employee morale and insufficient staffing levels, among other issues. It suggested that having a higher support staff ratio could improve average processing times. Florida was among several states found to have “a disproportionate number of the lowest-ranking hearing offices” in relation to processing times, according to the acting inspector general.
Learn more at http://www.floridasocialsecurity.com/
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618
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