Washington, D.C. — Rep. Claudia L. Tenney, R-22, New Hartford, joined 56 of her House colleagues in sending a letter to Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, and Everett Kelley, President of the American Federation of Government Employees, on Wednesday.
In the letter, they write:
“We write to urge you to work together to develop a plan to reopen the more than 1,500 Social Security field offices that are currently closed to the public. Numerous constituents across our districts have reached out to us to express their frustrations with access to Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices. Many of our constituents from vulnerable populations who lack access to reliable internet, or do not have a reliable phone number or mailing address, are struggling to access Social Security services. In order to provide the services the American people are entitled to, it is imperative that these field offices reopen.
We are also concerned the continued closure of SSA’s field offices will result in further delays in processing critical benefits and other services, on top of the already existing benefits backlog.”
A recent report from the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General found that SSA is facing a backlog of unprocessed mail, including benefit applications and requests for Social Security cards. As you are aware, delays in these areas can cause significant hardship for beneficiaries.”
The health and safety of federal employees should be a priority in any reopening plan. With the availability of three safe and highly effective vaccines however, it is clear that field offices can be reopened safely. Numerous public and private entities throughout the country have resumed normal operations. It is time the Social Security Administration reopen as well.