Backlash Against Social Security Administration (SSA) Field Office Service Cuts
In an earlier entry, we looked at two significant cuts to field office services due to budget shortages and security concerns. To recap, field offices will no longer provide benefit verification letters and Social Security Number (SSN) printouts. Today, we will look at the public’s response to the impending service cuts.
Unions representing SSA personnel and advocacy groups representing senior citizens, the disabled, low-income, and those with limited English proficiency have voiced serious concern over these cuts. They argue that the cuts are being phased out too quickly and that efficient, functional alternatives have not yet been established for vulnerable populations most affected by the cuts.
The SSA is pushing for the establishment and usage of data exchanges at the federal, state, and local levels, which would drastically alleviate the difficulties that the field office cuts will pose to the public, but advocacy groups argue that data exchanges will not help those facing language barriers and access barriers (i.e. limited computer and internet access, lack of computer-use skills) obtain much-needed SSA documentation.
The SSA initially specified an implementation date of April 1, 2014 for the cuts, but is now considering delaying that date in response to these criticisms and concerns, while it considers meaningful alternatives.