This week, House Republicans passed a radical plan to cut, cap, and end Medicare, a program that many Americans rely on. This bill would write into law extreme and unpopular priorities – more extreme than those offered in this spring’s Ryan budget, which would have ended Medicare – and dramatically slash programs for the most vulnerable Americans, programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Democrats understand the urgent need to get America’s fiscal house in order, but we cannot and will not support efforts that place those fiscal burdens on the backs of our Nation’s working families and seniors.
Policies like those advocated by the House Republicans in the 112th Congress have real consequences for all Americans. The following notification, which my office received this morning, is just one example of how those policies are already impacting the services that many people in our communities rely on:
Social Security Field Offices to Begin
Closing to the Public a Half Hour Early Congressional Budget Cuts Force Reduced Public Hours
Effective August 15, 2011, Social Security field offices nationwide will close to the public 30 minutes early each day. For example, a field office that is usually open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. will close daily at 3:30 p.m.
“While agency employees will continue to work their regular hours, this shorter public window will allow us to complete face-to-face service with the visiting public without incurring the cost of overtime for our employees,” said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security. “Congress provided our agency with nearly $1 billion less than the President requested for our budget this fiscal year, which makes it impossible for us to provide the amount of overtime needed to handle service to the public as we have in the past.”
Most Social Security services do not require a visit to an office. For example, anyone wishing to apply for benefits, sign up for direct deposit, replace a Medicare card, obtain a proof of income letter or inform us of a change of address or telephone number may do so at www.socialsecurity.gov or by dialing our toll-free number: 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
As debt limit talks move forward, I will continue working to ensure a meaningful outcome that protects our communities and families, while bringing down the deficit and ensuring America pays its bills.
As always, thank you for allowing me to share this update with you, and please continue to share your concerns and insights with me by contacting my office.