Today, after language they offered instructing the Social Security Administration (SSA) to halt any further actions until the SSA Inspector General (IG) concludes ongoing reviews of the SSA’s field office closures was included in the 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04) and Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement:
“As part of our continuing effort to put our constituents first, we fought hard to include this language in the omnibus. Given that this was the quickest means by which to oppose this ill-advised closure of the field office on the Southside of Milwaukee, this is a matter of critical importance to those who depend on the services available at this location.” said Congresswoman Moore. “I strongly urge the SSA to heed the clear and unmistakable sense of congress on this matter and not close the Mitchell Street Office while the IG investigation is underway.”
“Thousands of Milwaukee residents visit the SSA’s Southside office each month and they should have in-person social security services in their neighborhood,” said Senator Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I have been working with Congresswoman Moore and other Milwaukee elected officials to urge the SSA to work with us on a solution to ensure that residents of Milwaukee’s Southside, which is home to the state’s largest Latino community, continue to have direct and immediate access to these critical services. This next step makes clear that SSA should not make a final decision about the Mitchell Street Office until the IG can complete its review.”
The language is included below and available here (DIV H, 74):
Field Office Closures: There is significant concern about decisions to close field offices that may not be in accordance with law, regulations, and SSA procedures. These critical decisions must comply with Federal law, regulations, and procedures to account for the impact such actions will have on the community. The agreement notes that SSA’s Inspector General (IG) is reviewing decisions to close field offices, including whether SSA followed internal procedures in proposing consolidation, notifying the public, and considering feedback from public input. While the IG review is ongoing, the Acting Commissioner should not make any final decisions related to field office locations under review. Further, the agreement encourages SSA to carefully consider and fully implement any IG recommendations that may result from such review.