According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a Social Security Administration (SSA) office in north Philadelphia was closed earlier this month due to federal budget cuts. Residents were told to visit another office, located downtown.
“I just went down [to the office],” Robin Blount, 52, told the Inquirer. “It was so crowded downtown – there must have been a thousand people just sitting there waiting.” The president of the company that leased office to the SSA said people are still showing up every day, unaware it has closed.
“The first couple of days it was closed, there was a line of people waiting for it to open at 9 a.m., and when it got past 9 and it didn’t open, some people started shaking the gates,” Robert Smith, vice president at Beech Companies told the Inquirer.
An SSA representative declined to comment on the office closure. A spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah told the Inquirer that the office was closed because of federal budget cuts that took place before the sequestration. It is sad when budget cuts affect SSA services. Even though this issue appears not to be a result of the sequestration, SSA processing times and administrative services have been greatly impacted by cuts.
In April, an editorial by Witold Skwierczynski, president of the American Federation of Government Employees National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals and Barbara J. Easterlin, president of the Alliance for Retired Americans, ran in the Huffington Post saying the SSA intends to lay off more than “1,500 temporary employees, cut nearly all overtime and leave unfilled more than 5,000 positions as employees retire.”
The sequestration that took effect on March 1 has affected Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) processing times. The SSA is currently operating with an 8 percent reduction to its $11.5 billion budget.
We will continue to keep you updated on sequestration and SSA budget news. If you have questions about an application for disability benefits, do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers for a free consultation. You may also reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers