As Congress continues to debate the budget, it seems more and more likely that some cuts will be made to Social Security programs such as Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income. Although the final outcome of this ongoing debate is still unknown, SSD applicants and recipients will likely notice changes at their local Social Security field offices, starting next month.
According to an SSA press release, Social Security field offices in California and throughout the country will close to the public 30 minutes earlier every day. This change will take effect on August 15, 2011.
Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue says that the hour cut will allow SSA employees to complete their necessary interviews and other duties without incurring overtime and other extra costs to the agency. However, employees’ hours will not be cut.
“While agency employees will continue to work their regular hours, this shorter public window will allow us to complete face-to-face service with the visiting public without incurring the cost of overtime for our employees,” Astrue said in a statement. “Congress provided our agency with nearly $1 billion less than the President requested for our budget this fiscal year, which makes it possible for us to provide the amount of overtime needed to handle service to the public as we have in the past.”
With the ongoing debate and public outcry regarding the significant wait times associated with a Social Security Disability application and appeal, it is unlikely that SSD applicants and recipients will be pleased with a move that has the potential to increase wait times across the board. We will update our blog with any new developments.
Source: Social Security Administration, “Social Security Field Offices to Begin Closing to the Public a Half Hour Early,” 22 July 2011