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Social Security to Shut down 5 Field Offices across U.S.

August 3, 2012

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently bared its plan to close down at least five field offices across the country, according to the union representing agency employees.

In a press statement released by the American Federation of Government Employees, the said offices that are pending closure by the end of September are located in Biloxi, Mississippi; Ketchikan, Alaska; Louiseville, Kentucky; Washington, D.C.; and Clinton, Iowa.

Since January of this year, the federal agency has already closed down eight field offices.

Meanwhile, SSA spokesman Mark Hinkle stated in an email that “given the tight budget situation, we’ve had to make tough choices, including consolidating a small number of our offices.” The move won’t result in workers losing their jobs.

Incidentally, the said action is one of the latest in the string of belt-tightening moves by SSA leaders. Aside from the field office closures which started in January, field offices around the country began to close their offices to the public a half-hour early to cut down the need for overtime.

The closing down of field offices also began to draw protests from lawmakers representing the communities affected. For instance, members of the Alaska delegation in a July 13 letter to SSA Commissioner Michael J. Astrue implored him to consider “all feasible alternatives.”

The said closures are expected to affect thousands of Americans who will likely lose access to information on their Social Security benefits as well as to service representatives.

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