Budget Austerity Leads to Reduced House at Social Security Offices

The Baltimore Sun reports today that with widespread budget cuts on the horizon, Social Security beneficiaries will soon get a preview of how customer service can be affected by a more austere federal government.

Though the agency made no public announcement, the Woodlawn-based Social Security Administration told employees this month it will cut hours of operation at its 1,233 field offices for the second time in as many years.

Nearly 180,000 people visit the offices every day to apply for Social Security cards as well as retirement and disability benefits.

The union representing Social Security employees and advocates for the elderly and disabled criticized the move, which will cut more than five hours from office schedules every week. The groups worry that hours will be reduced further when Congress returns to Washington after the Nov. 6 election to deal with the nation’s fiscal crisis.

“Shorter hours at Social Security offices shortchange beneficiaries and applicants, many of whom are people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Marty Ford, director of public policy for The Arc, a Washington advocacy group. “This is the unfortunate real-world impact of several years of underfunding and cuts to the administrative budget of the Social Security Administration.” See Story here: