Welcome

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

Calendar
June 2012
S M T W T F S
27 28 29 30 31 01 02

Click here to submit an event.

Social Security closing offices as boomers age

BY STEPHEN OHLEMACHER Associated Press

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 a76d3ec4167c42a59a58308ff28dee53
Top Classifieds
  • Cocker Spaniel Pups.AKC (270)476-2580 ... Details
  • PILLOWTOP Mattress Sets, NEW in plast ... Details
  • RUNNING, fixable, junk vehicles, equi ... Details
  • 1994 Ardmore by Clayton 16x80 Must be ... Details
  • SEEING is believing! Don't buy p ... Details
  • Lake Front Home 3,000 sq. ft., Kuttaw ... Details
  • 24x44 Mobile Home $3,000/obo Call 270 ... Details
  • 3BR/1BA brick home/3.8 acres, 2424 Gr ... Details
  • 2005 Ford Taurus, 115k miles, exc. co ... Details
This Week In Photos
Most Popular
  1. Auto economic footprint strengthens in Kentucky
  2. Kids on their own among fleeing migrants
  3. Hickman County attorney announces new tax program
  1. Bright outlook for soybeans, corn this year
  2. Cyclist hit, killed by vehicle
  3. School clinics getting high marks
  1. Auto economic footprint strengthens in Kentucky
  2. 10 years old, YouTube valued at $20 billion
  3. School clinics getting high marks
Discussion

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