Last week, the Social Security Advisory Board (SSAB) released an insightful report, detailing the impact of Social Security field offices on its beneficiaries and other stakeholders. To follow up on these efforts, today, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Chairman John Larson, and Congressman Brian Higgins sent a letter to the Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner, Andrew Saul, asking for a response to the troubling findings from the SSAB’s report. The Members released the following statement:
“Many vulnerable citizens, including those who are disabled, low-income and lack access to the internet rely on fields offices to receive assistance. We know that closures of these offices hit these populations the hardest and can impact services at nearby offices. That’s why I continue to work with my colleagues to call for greater transparency about closure decisions and also greater efforts to engage and involve local communities and public officials, calls which were echoed in the report released last week.
Each year, tens of millions of Americans visit field offices. I hope the SSA will consider the report’s findings and use the information to make changes that protect services to our constituents and ensure Social Security field offices are utilized to best serve their beneficiaries,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore.
Chairman John Larson said, “Field offices are vital for serving the public, including our most vulnerable beneficiaries. Tens of millions of Americans each year visit these offices. Social Security is an earned benefit. We need to ensure we are doing everything we can to provide Americans with the customer service they deserve. The Social Security Administration must take the report’s finding into account and maintain a robust national network of field offices – not close them!”
Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Social Security field office closings have been arbitrary and ill-conceived, leading to access challenges for many who need the services most, including seniors and people with disabilities. Many of the programs and procedures that fall under the SSA can be confusing and oftentimes navigating the bureaucracy requires face-to-face communication that only field offices can provide. The impact on communities and the residents an office serves must be a primary factor in any restructuring decisions.”
Read the full text of the letter here.