Social Security Office Struggles: Republicans Urge Change as Backlogs and Wait Times Persist

A Social Security card rests in between the pages of a 1040 tax form.
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Local Social Security offices are offering more in-person services — but the Social Security Administration (SSA) is telling Americans to expect large crowds, long waits and service delays. To avoid long waits, the SSA advises to call ahead and schedule an appointment, however, the SSA has also warned the public of busy signals or dropped calls.

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Ways and Means Republican Leader Kevin Brady (R-TX), Subcommittee on Social Security Republican Leader Tom Reed (R-NY) and Subcommittee on Oversight Republican Leader Tom Rice (R-SC) have sent a letter to Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) to hold a hearing to discuss these challenges.

“In light of the ongoing difficulties that the public continues to face when trying to reach the SSA, and with offices already reopening, the American people deserve to understand how the SSA plans to manage this transition and improve on the service it provides to the public,” the letter states. 

“In the more than two years since the SSA closed its offices to the general public, this committee has not held a single hearing to discuss these challenges, despite the difficulties that our constituents have had and continue to face when trying to do business with the SSA,” the letter continues. 

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U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Bob Casey (D-PA) sent a letter in March urging President Biden to create a “Beneficiary Advocate” position within the SSA to act as a voice for beneficiaries. 

Democrats also sent a letter to Acting Commissioner Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi in January requesting an update on how the SSA plans to improve service delivery to the public.

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The letter cited a report that “found that nearly half of the 151 million callers to field offices and the national 800-number went unanswered, including 16.4 million callers who gave up while waiting in the queue. Many of these service issues have persisted long before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has amplified and exacerbated these gaps in service for all, particularly for those whose sole source of income is Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or both.”

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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