The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare joined the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and other advocates to protest the scheduled closing of the Social Security Administration field office in Arlington, VA. The Social Security Administration plans to close the office on June 21, 2018. Protesters gathered in 90-degree heat in front of the high-rise office building at 1401 Wilson Boulevard with signs reading “Keep SSA open,” and chanting, “Social Security is our fight! Social Security is our right!”
“Closing Social Security field offices like the one here in Arlington causes undue difficulty for elderly and working-class claimants who rely on public transportation to get here,” National Committee president Max Richtman told the crowd. “If the office is shuttered as planned in June, these individuals will have to travel nearly two hours round-trip on Metro and Metrobus to the nearest Virginia office in Alexandria. This is unacceptable.”
The scheduled closure 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 the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore (also effective this June). Since 2000, SSA has closed nearly 125 field offices nationwide.
One of the reasons SSA plans to close the office in Arlington is related to the alleged inability of another government agency, the General Services Administration (GSA), to find acceptable real estate in the area.
“We’ve heard this same excuse offered as the reason offices in other cities had to be closed. If GSA, which is the federal government’s real estate agent, can’t find acceptable space for a Social Security office in an area with a 20 percent vacancy rate, then perhaps they should go into a different line of work. Instead of GSA, SSA should be given authority to serve as its own real estate agent,” said Richtman.
The National Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization acts in the interests of its membership through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff. The work of the National Committee is directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters.
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