Closing Social Security field offices can cause undue hardship for claimants, yet the Social Security Administration (SSA) has shuttered 67 of them since 2010. Seniors advocates have recently intensified their efforts to push back against field office closures. Those efforts may finally gain some teeth with the introduction of a bill by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.). Her ‘Maintain Access to Vital Social Security Services Act of 2018’ (H.R. 7160) would make it harder for the SSA to summarily close field offices.
Congresswoman Moore represents a district that includes the city of Milwaukee, where SSA closed a field office serving poor and mostly Hispanic residents last Spring – forcing them to seek assistance at an alternate location that’s hard to reach by public transportation.
SSA closed other field offices in urban areas earlier this year, including one in Arlington, VA (just outside the Nation’s Capital), and another in the city of Baltimore. A Social Security office in urban Chicago was closed in 2017. In all three locations, elderly and disabled Social Security claimants have been forced to travel longer distances to obtain in-person service.