The Social Security Administration (SSA) and Congress are causing undue hardship for Social Security claimants by closing field offices in mostly urban areas. The most recent casualty is the SSA office in Arlington, VA, scheduled to close its doors on June 21st.
The scheduled shuttering of the Arlington office comes on the heels of others in heavily populated urban areas, including in Milwaukee and Chicago during the past year and the announced closing of an SSA field office in Baltimore (also effective this June). Since 2010, SSA has closed more than 60 field offices nationwide and furloughed 3,500 field office employees.
Yesterday, I joined other seniors’ advocates and labor activists in 90-degree heat to protest the closing of the Arlington office, located in a high-rise office building close to the local Metro station. Protesters carried signs reading, “Keep SSA Open!” and chanting “Social Security, find a way! This office has got to stay!”
The Arlington office currently serves some 25,000 claimants every year. Closing Social Security field offices like this one causes undue difficulty for the elderly, disabled and working people who rely on public transportation. The nearest alternate location in Virginia is a 2-hour round trip via subway and bus. When I asked the crowd at the rally (which included retirees who rely on these offices) if this was acceptable, they shouted, “Hell, No!”