Sending Office: Honorable Gwen Moore
I write to seek your support for legislation, H.R. 7146–the Maintain Vital Access to Social Security Services Act of 2018– that would require the Social Security Administration (SSA) to take certain steps, including
seeking and considering public input, prior to closing a field office. The need for putting in place these commonsense protections is highlighted in the letter of endorsement for the legislation from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
letter notes that “unfortunately, for years SSA has conducted a campaign to close or consolidate field offices and limit the hours during which offices are open to serve the public. The National Committee has frequently expressed
concern about the impact of these closures and consolidations on the agency’s ability to serve those seniors and people with disabilities who depend on the service SSA’s local offices provide.” The bill would create “new and powerful safeguards against hasty
or ill-conceived office closures.”
SSA field offices are a backbone of the agency’s ability to serve the American public, including America’s seniors. With visitors to field offices expected to grow over the next decade, now is the time for Congress
help ensure that the American public can access in person assistance to get information about the benefits they have earned.
The bill would, among other provisions,
- Require the SSA to operate a sufficient number of field offices and employ an adequate number of personnel at each field office to provide convenient and accessible services to the public while minimizing wait times.
Bar the SSA from closing, consolidating or otherwise reducing service at a field office unless it:
- Provide public notification at least 90 days before a proposed closure is to take effect and include specified information in that notice, including the reasons for closure and any alternative locations considered.
- Provide congressional notification at least 90 days before a proposed closure to the Members of the House and Senate in whose district the office is located.
- Require at least two public hearings in the service area affected by the closure.
- The bill would impose a moratorium on all field office closings until at least 180 days after the SSA has made the necessary changes to its guidance and regulations to comply with the requirements of this bill.
I urge you to cosponsor this legislation. For questions or to be added, please contact Chris Goldson in my office at email@example.com
MEMBER OF CONGRESS
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