According to the Social Security Administration, they requested from the government roughly $11.76 billion for administrative expenses for the fiscal year that began in October. Instead, Congress cut the budget by almost $400 million leaving the administration in a rather difficult situation.
Despite the recent go ahead from the government to approve more applications this year, claims are still mounting. Workers are constantly working overtime to keep up with the public demand which is costing the administration more money than they anticipated.
In an announcement made this week, the Social Security Administration intends on scaling back hours at 1,400 offices nationwide to save money. A spokesperson for the agency, however, reassured the public that claims will still continue to be processed. Employees will continue to work the same hours but will spend less time interacting with the public so as to have more time to process claims.
“Although we do not have a specific figure as to how much will be saved by this change, it will reduce the need to incur overtime,” said an agency spokeswoman, pointing out that this change will have the most impact on the people who meet face-to-face with agency workers in order to receive their benefits rather than getting them online.
“I don’t like that […] I don’t do anything online,” said one man who receives disability payments and meets regularly with a case manager. Other claimants echo the sentiment, another claimant even pointing out that many people on Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income don’t even have computers.
The agency has not commented at this time on how the lack of access will affect people’s benefits or whether the shutdown of the 1,400 offices will affect how people receive their benefits.
Source: The Trib Live, “Social Security to cut hours at downtown office,” Bobby Kerlik, Nov. 9, 2012