Ranking Members Scott, Crapo Urge SSA to Reopen Field Offices to the Public
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.), ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, sent a letter urging Acting Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi to immediately reopen SSA’s field offices to the public.
Joining Ranking Members Scott and Crapo were 13 members of the aging and finance committees: Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
“Social Security is a bedrock of our nation’s social safety net, especially for our nation’s seniors aged 62 or older who comprise more than four-fifths of all Social Security beneficiaries. … On March 17, 2020, the Social Security Administration (SSA) suspended in-person services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This suspension created a disruption to the millions of new applicants and beneficiaries receiving Social Security benefits,” the senators wrote.
“On behalf of the nearly 70 million Americans who receive benefits from SSA, we reiterate the need to reopen the field offices as quickly as possible. Our nation’s seniors and beneficiaries of SSA programs deserve no less.”
Nearly 21 months ago, the SSA suspended in-person services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the SSA reportedly submitted its reentry plan to the Office of Management and Budget in July of 2021, it has still failed to fully reopen its offices to the public. This has resulted in disruptions to the millions of applicants and beneficiaries receiving Social Security benefits, including:
- Challenges for individuals, especially seniors in rural areas, who do not have reliable telephone or internet access;
- A reduction in Supplemental Security Income awards and disability benefit approvals; and
- Mail backlogs and delays in providing benefit payments.
As ranking member of the U.S. Special Senate Committee on Aging, Senator Scott has worked on a number of bills, resolutions, and hearings on behalf of seniors and other social security recipients.
- In May, he introduced the SENIOR CARE Act to ensure working seniors with disabilities keep Medicaid coverage.
- In July, he led a letter urging President Biden to explain his politically-motivated removal of SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul and to reinstate his position.
- In October, he introduced the Senior Citizens’ Freedom to Work Act, to eliminate the Retirement Earnings Test in Social Security and clear up a confusing work disincentive for seniors, and he released a full report on retirement security.
- Since March, he has held hearings on addressing seniors’ health care needs, fighting Alzheimer’s, building wealth at an older age, maintaining physical and mental vitality, combating frauds and scams, building retirement security, and improving disaster management.
Click HERE to view the full letter.