Social Security braces for ‘a crush’ of visitors as offices reopen

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A sixty-four-year-old man from Texas was jailed last week after being charged with assaulting a Social Security office. According to Fox 44 News, the man faces felony charges and remains in jail as of the end of last week.

The man was charged with aggravated assault of a public servant after an “office visitor had a physical confrontation with a security guard”. Police told the outlet that the visitor was “asked to leave and refused”, at which point he “was charged with punching the security guard in the head and abdomen”.

Back to the office

The alleged assault comes as the Social Security Administration (SSA) prepares to finally reopen its offices in full in April. Some offices have been partially open in recent months. Reuters recently explored what reopening the office could mean for Social Security recipients.

“The good news: Social Security’s sprawling network of more than 1,200 U.S. field offices will reopen to the public in early April after a two-year COVID-19 shutdown,” the Reuters article said. “During that time, nearly all public services were available only online, by phone and by mail. Millions of Americans who need in-person help from the agency can now start getting it. .

The bad news, however, as with so many other aspects of post-pandemic life, is that things aren’t going to immediately return to normal.

“The Social Security Administration (SSA) is bracing for a crush of office visitors,” Reuters said. Along with the pent-up demand created by the long shutdown, the agency’s national toll-free number has experienced issues, with some callers receiving busy signals or abrupt disconnects, which an SSA spokesperson confirmed. Phone system issues are expected to increase further demand in the first weeks of reopening.

The Reuters report added that the Social Security Administration’s underfunding problems are partly due to recent budget negotiations. The government’s recent spending resolution added $411 million to the program’s budget, less than half the White House’s request.

“Our level of funding for 2022 will complicate our efforts to improve services to the public, although we remain committed to doing so,” SSA spokesman Mark Hinkle told Reuters.

Federal News Network reported this month that the Social Security Administration has offered retired employees the option to return to work, to help reopen offices.

“Calling SSA Retirees!!! Looking for another opportunity to help serve the American people? If so, we are looking for retirees to help the agency as we begin the transition to re-entry and reopening of our field offices to the public We are looking for temporary support for approximately 400 field offices during the start of the school year.

Stephen Silver, technology editor for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who also contributes to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and connect today. Co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Picture: Reuters.

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