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Congressman Young Works to Reverse Cuts Facing Social Security Administration Services

Washington, D.C.Alaskan Congressman Don Young recently wrote Social Security Administration (SSA) Acting Administrator Carolyn W. Colvin to request that she reconsider her agency’s proposal to cut vital SSA services, including the elimination of in-person requests for verification statements and copies of Social Security Numbers from SSA offices, set to take effect this fall.

“Many Alaskan communities continue to be underserved by reliable high speed broadband networks, which is one of my many concerns with the SSA’s decision to move these services entirely online,” said Congressman Don Young. “I’ve made the case in the past that Alaskans already face an uphill battle when accessing important SSA services, in part because we only have four SSA offices in the state. By reducing someone’s ability to visit a field office and complete the most basic of requests, the SSA has failed to understand the many obstacles facing the people it serves.”

Following a bipartisan investigation by the Senate Committee on Aging and subsequent hearing into closures of SAA field offices and reductions of traditional services, Congressman Young and 122 of his colleagues wrote Acting Administrator Colvin to identify the severity of these changes and the impact they would have on a growing number of aging Americans.

In part, the letter to Acting Administrator Colvin stated:

“Beginning in August, with respect to Numi-lites (Social Security Numbers), and October, with respect to benefit verification statements, these valuable services will be discontinued. Americans will no longer be able to walk into field offices to request these documents, but instead, will have to apply online or by phone for benefit verification or apply for a Social Security card, adding 7 to 10 days to wait times. While SSA has indicated that an exception policy will address dire situations, we are concerned this will be burdensome to administer and that many people with urgent needs will be left out.”

“Middle class Americans have regular need for the benefit verification statement for tax purposes, car loans, mortgages or rental agreements. Additionally, these forms are used in applying for low income benefits, housing, or workforce programs. And unemployed job seekers may need proof of their Social Security numbers quickly, without having to wait for a Social Security card to arrive in the mail, to make sure that they don’t miss out on jobs when potential employers are moving quickly.”

“…Limiting access to these forms without understanding the effects on Americans could result in unintended consequences for our constituents. We understand SSA has suffered budget cuts, however discontinuing these services is likely to increase rather than decrease cost at the expense of millions of beneficiaries who need, want and have paid for these services.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.

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