The Social Security Administration has announced that starting November 19, 2012, Social Security field offices nationwide will begin closing to the public 30 minutes early each day. Also, starting January 2, 2013, offices will close to the public at noon every Wednesday.
The changes are being implemented in response to reduced funding provided by Congress under the continuing resolution for the first six months of the new fiscal year. While agency employees will continue to work their regular hours, this shorter public window will allow them to complete face-to-face interviews and process claims work without incurring the cost of overtime. The agency said that the funding cuts make it impossible for the agency to provide the overtime needed to handle service to the public as it has done in the past.
All Social Security field offices will also be closed to the public on November 23, the day after Thanksgiving.
Despite these changes, the agency said that most Social Security services do not require a visit to an office and therefore shouldn’t be hindered by the reduction in office hours. Many services, including applying for retirement, disability or Medicare benefits, signing up for direct deposit, replacing a Medicare card, obtaining a proof of income letter or submitting a change of address or telephone number can be done online at www.socialsecurity.gov or by calling (800) 772-1213.