Social Security Administration offices in Georgia and around the country are opening after being closed for more than two years, and the challenges involved are already becoming clear. Lawmakers are now calling for hearings that will discuss the way forward as offices open and strategies to resolve the many struggles and challenges that lie ahead.
Republican leaders including Ways and Means Committee leader Kevin Brady, (R -Texas), and Tom Reed (R-New York) who heads the Subcommittee on Social Security recently wrote to Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) asking him to hold a hearing on ways to meet these challenges.
In March 2020, Social Security offices around the country closed down in response to the pandemic and remained closed until last month. Most activities of the Social Security Administration moved online or were conducted via phone. That has meant interminable wait times as many Social Security activities including the processing of disability applications were delayed. These delays have meant financial struggles for many disability applicants who have been waiting for more than a year now to get their applications processed and approved. The Social Security Administration phone lines have also been clogged, and applicants have reported wait times of several minutes before they can speak to an officer. In many cases, callers have been unable to reach an office representative at all.
Now that the field offices are open, those struggles are likely to be exacerbated as potential beneficiaries and applicants call field offices to make appointments. Lawmakers are of the opinion that opening up Social Security offices after a gap of 2 years is an unprecedented action, and therefore, there need to be solid strategies in place to manage these challenges. There has not been a single hearing to understand how these struggles can be dealt with, which is why these lawmakers are calling for a hearing.