A new internal watchdog report on the Social Security Administration (SSA) recently reported long processing times at hearing offices. Additionally, bipartisan leaders of a special Senate committee have asked SSA to explain why so many facilities have been closed.
Since 2000, the SSA has closed almost 125 field offices. The leading Senators on the committee stated: “Service hours at field-office locations have also been cut while wait times have risen and hearing backlogs have grown.”
An SSA inspector general’s report examined two regional SSA hearing offices and found that both had high processing times, low morale, below-average staffing levels, and issues with claimant representatives, telework, and the quality of the support staff’s work.
The Senators expressed their concerns: “It is our view that the availability of conveniently located and adequately staffed Social Security field offices is crucial to providing good service to America’s seniors, people with disabilities, and their families, and to maintaining the public’s trust in Social Security, Medicare, and other programs that SSA administers.”