While many offices are being closed by the Social Security Administration the need for benefits continues to increase. Individuals are facing longer waits as a result when seeking information.
The 64 field offices that were closed since 2010 is the largest number closed in the history of the agency. Hours have also been reduced in 1,245 other field offices as well. According to a congressional report, impact on local communities is seldom taken into account when these office closings occur. One senator stated: “The closure process is neither fair nor transparent and needs to change.”
Applications for Social Security benefits including ones dealing with disability are continuing to increase. There are 11 million Americans who receive Social Security disability benefits of some kind. This represents a 38 percent increase from ten years ago. The SSA is encouraging more individuals to access services by going online. While there have definitely been more applications completed online, many seniors do not have the ability to fill out applications in this manner.
The problem could be even more complex for filing disability claims. Besides problem of having access to computers to file the applications online, the process for filing disability claims is already complex. There are a number of requirements that must be met before Supplemental Security Income or Social Security disability insurance benefits will be awarded. In addition to requiring applicants to have all of their paperwork and medical records in order, applicants for disability benefits are often denied. There is also the problem concerning delays for individuals seeking appointments at these officers.
Many applicants may require assistance when applying for benefits. Attorneys can often help in getting these claims expedited. They can also help applicants maneuver through the entire application process.
Source: Quincy Herald-Wing, “Social Security closes offices as demand soars,” Stephen Ohlemacher, June 17, 2014