Thank you for visiting paducahsun.com, the online home of The Paducah Sun.

June 2012
27 28 29 30 31 01 02

Click here to submit an event.

Social Security closing offices as boomers age


WASHINGTON - Budget cuts have forced the Social Security Administration to close dozens of field offices even as millions of baby boomers approach retirement, swamping the agency with applications for benefits, a senior agency official told Congress Wednesday.

Better Internet access and more online services are easing the transition, said Nancy Berryhill, the agency's deputy commissioner for operations.

"We are fully committed - now and in the future - to sustaining a field office structure that provides face-to-face service for those customers who need or prefer such service," Berryhill told the Senate Special Committee on Aging. "We also understand, however, that customer expectations are evolving due to changes in technology, demographics and other factors."

Senators appeared unconvinced.

"The fact of the matter is, millions of seniors and disabled Americans are not accustomed to doing business online," said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the top Republican on the Aging Committee. "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."

The committee held a hearing Wednesday after issuing a bipartisan report showing that Social Security has closed 64 field offices since 2010, the largest number of closures in a five-year period in the agency's history.

In addition, the agency has closed 533 temporary mobile offices that often serve remote areas. Hours have been reduced in the 1,245 field offices that are still open, the report said.

As a result, seniors seeking information and help from the agency are facing increasingly long waits, in person and on the phone, the report said.

"They don't do any kind of analysis on what would happen to a community when their field office closes, including figuring out how the most vulnerable populations would make their way to the next-closest office," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., chairman of the Aging Committee.

The closings come as applications for retirement and disability benefits are soaring, a trend that will continue as aging baby boomers approach retirement.

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Your comment has been submitted for approval
captcha 8806ad9525a84254a29e7464a4cd0b0f
Top Classifieds
  • • Old English Bulldog Puppy$ ... Details
  • Hummel Figurines, Bells & Platesi ... Details
  • PILLOW TOPmattress sets NEW in plasti ... Details
  • Cash for farms & gold (270)339-8 ... Details
  • RUNNING, fixable, junk vehicles, equi ... Details
  • SEEING is believing! Don't b ... Details
  • 3 BD, 2.5 BA, 1900 sq ft, 1 mi. from ... Details
  • OWN YOUR OWN HOME -AS LOW AS $500 DO ... Details
  • 2012 Honda Civic EX-L sedan 4 dr. 70K ... Details
This Week In Photos
Most Popular
  1. Trump denies mocking journalist's disability
  2. Parade draws heavy security
  3. Russia joins with France to fight IS
  1. Drive-by shooting kills single mother
  2. Two hurt in 3-vehicle wreck
  3. Missing woman's body found
  1. Russia joins with France to fight IS
  2. Trump denies mocking journalist's disability
  3. Parade draws heavy security

Check out these recently discussed stories and voice your opinion...