Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley introduced legislation Wednesday that would delay cuts to services provided at Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices. Beginning in August, the Social Security Administration will no longer issue Social Security number printouts in its field offices.
In October, the field offices will stop providing benefit verification letters. “Making unwarranted and expensive service cuts to these offices moves us closer to permanently shuttering them, leaving Iowa seniors with no where to go,” Braley told Iowa reporters in a conference call.
Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, said seniors rely on the verification letters for a variety of services and would only be able to request the information online or over the phone. “The Senate Special Committee on Aging recently issued a report regarding these service cuts,” Braley said. “After reading the report, there’s every indication that these service cuts would have an especially harsh impact on Iowa seniors who are likely to lack Internet access and face long holding times when seeking information over the telephone.”
Braley also noted the report indicates the service cuts will not save any money. His bill would simply prevent the cuts from happening for another year. “During that time, I’m going to demand that the Social Security Administration illustrate how seniors will maintain reasonable access to those services and how taxpayers are going to save money by making this change,” Braley said.
Last year, 11 million Americans used SSA offices to request information, according to Braley. There are 19 SSA field offices in Iowa. In 2013, over 450,000 Iowa seniors received Social Security benefits. Braley is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Tom Harkin. His opponent in November’s general election is Republican Joni Ernst.