A group of more than 100 House members has called on the White House to stop further closures of SSA offices and to reopen those already closed, saying that with some 10,000 persons becoming eligible to retire each day, the need for such offices is growing, not shrinking.
The agency has closed more than 120 offices, or about a tenth, since 2000 and service hours at many of the remaining offices have been reduced, for reasons including funding restrictions and a move toward providing services online rather than in person.
The letter said that even with the increase in online services, the number of in-person visits to field offices rose by 5 percent over the last two years and “there is no substitute for in-person assistance by trained and experienced Social Security employees.”
It added that if an office needs to be closed due to local circumstances, “another one should be opened serving the same population in a nearby location.”
A group of senators recently sent a letter to SSA making largely the same points.
An IG report of earlier this year found that wait times have increased in all 10 SSA regions since 2010, as field office staff has dropped from about 29,100 to about 27,200 over that time.