The Social Security Administration has announced that it will close its offices in Long Beach, New York, later this month. The closure comes as a result of budget cuts from Congress. The SSA action could affect those wishing to apply for benefits from Long Beach and surrounding towns.
The Social Security Administration has processed Social Security Disability Insurance applications since 1996 at the Long Beach location. Staffing cuts, reduced hours and more limited services are among the targets of the more than $1 billion budget reduction for the current year. Officials say that the office closure will reduce costs and save the agency approximately $3.8 million over the next 10 years.
Social Security amounts to approximately 20 percent of the federal budget each year. It has been stated that nearly 55 million Americans received a total of $727 billion in Social Security benefits in 2011. Agency officials also noted that they are currently under a hiring freeze and consequently will not be hiring any new agents.
Senior citizen residents of Long Beach make up a large proportion of the local population. The office to be closed currently services 21,000 beneficiaries. Most of the employees of the Long Beach office will be transferred to other nearby Social Security offices, including those in Freeport and Far Rockaway.
Seniors can use Social Security offices to apply for benefits and to obtain other services. Though there may be a significant impact on the ease with which seniors can contact the Social Security Administration, services will still be provided at the offices that remain open. Those seeking Social Security Disability benefits would benefit from learning about the claims process as it relates to them. Many people find the SSDI procedures confusing, and those individuals that take the time to have their matter handled correctly will likely be pleased that they did.
Source: LIHerald, "Long Beach Social Security office shuts it doors, "Anthony Rifilato, Feb. 10, 2012.