According to the 2013 OASDI Trustees Report, Social Security will be insolvent within the next two decades. Sounds terrible, right? Well, according to recent reports, matters might get even worse for our Social Security system.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news. However, one of the goals at the Phillips Law Firm is to constantly keep our clients and our citizens informed of news that will likely affect their rights and access to justice. Recent tremblings within Congress motivates our desire to share the following news to better accomplish this goal; and, to assist in your protection.
Dozens of Social Security Offices Set to Close
A senior agent within the Social Security Administration (SSA) recently informed Congress that, due to budget cuts, the SSA will have to close dozens of field offices. This is despite the fact that millions of baby boomers have, are, and will be approaching retirement. According to Nancy Berryhill, the agency’s deputy commissioner for operations, this closure should not be too intrusive or impactful. Her reasoning is that better internet access and more online services will help ease the transition of office closures.
Nonetheless, Senators involved with this issue appear unconvinced. According to Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the top Republican on the Aging Committee, “the fact of the matter is, millions of seniors and disabled Americans are not accustomed to doing business online…Even as computer and broadband technologies become more widespread, the idea that the Social Security Administration can serve beneficiaries primarily online ignores the very real needs of the senior and disabled populations.”
Key facts exist that support Senator Collins’ view. Many older Americans now lack access to the internet. Many also are not comfortable using the internet to apply for Social Security benefits. Consider for a moment that, last year alone, more than 43 million people visited Social Security field offices for benefit related questions and information.
This entire problem is further exacerbated by the reality that numerous SSA office closures have already taken place. The agency has closed 64 field offices since 2010. This figure represents the largest number of closures in a five-year period in the SSA’s history. Further, the agency has recently closed over 500 temporary mobile offices that serve remote areas. Working hours have also been reduced in the 1,245 field offices that remain open.
According to the SSA, it saves approximately $4 million over the course of a decade for every field office it closes. Sure, reduction in employees and the closure of field offices certainly saves the SSA money, but does it help you?
The Impact of Office Closures
The SSA’s decision to close numerous field offices is not really that helpful for citizens. Granted, closed offices may not matter to those that have great internet connection and are masterful in navigating the complex maze within obtaining Social Security benefits. Many of us, however, are unhappy with out internet. Still many others do not even have the foggiest of clues as to where to begin in order to claim benefits.
The vast majority of Americans claiming their Social Security benefits have questions when it comes to receiving these benefits. The bulk of these questions cannot be answered online. Quality and trusted answers require hearing them from a real person and a real voice. Thus, the closure of SSA offices will more than likely mean a delay in getting questions answered. The closure will also mean a delay in submitting benefit applications and a similar delay in receiving actual benefits. These are not, by any means, good things. Continued office closures will likely have a negative impact upon us all.
Can Phillips Law Firm Help?
Of course we can. Skilled professionals armed with numerous years of experience and a high caliber level of intelligence often helps turn failure into success. Let us deliver this success to you. The attorneys at our firm know the intricacies of the Social Security system. Our team can help navigate the various channels within the agency to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. Why deal with red tape when you can receive top-notch, and much needed assistance, to circumvent it?
Simply contact us today and let us make your Social Security experience a better one. We can assist in: filing your claim; appealing a claim; and/or, answering any questions about the entire claim process. Yes, SSA offices might be closing soon; but, ours is usually open and we have attorneys ready and waiting to assist you with your legal needs.