Starting January 8, 2020, all Social Security field offices will open on Wednesdays from 9 am to 4 pm.
On January 1, 2013, the Social Security Administration reduced its Wednesday hours for the over 1,220 filed offices in the United States. The offices, as of that date, closed on Wednesday at noon to the public. The reduction of hours were caused by budget cuts. The business model allowed the Social Security employees to work on Wednesday afternoon but without having to see walk-ins. In that way, Social Security employees could process claim work, uninterrupted, and reduce the need to pay overtime. At the same time, the Social Security Administration began to emphasize its on-line options to obtain basic Social Security services at www.ssa.gov. Within the Social Security Administration’s web site, a person could apply for disability. That person could also appeal an unfavorable decision regarding an application for disability benefits. (Social Security’s web site also allows for a number of other things to be accomplished without the need of going into a local office. These things include: applying for retirement benefits or Medicare benefits. A person could also notify the Social Security Administration of a change of address, or establish direct deposit.)
Not unexpectedly, the wait times at the Social Security field offices increased. According to a February 2018 report from the Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration, the wait times for people who had appointments waited an average of longer than 1 hour for service. The Inspector General noted that the reasons for the increased wait times included many factors. Included among those factors are: a large number of the public coming to the filed offices, complex workloads, staffing issues, and shortened public operating hours.
In order to reduce the wait time, the hours of the field offices were increased by one hour a day for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. As noted above, effective in January 2020, the Wednesday half day will be a full day, from 9 am until 4 pm. Social Security is still encouraging the public to utilize its eServices.
In addition to re-opening its field offices 9am to 4 pm, Social Security has announced hiring 1,100 new employees. 100 of the new employees will be assigned to the processing centers. The processing centers is the section which actually process the payments to claimants. This new addition to the processing centers will be welcome. The payments for so many of my clients are delayed at the processing centers.
The other 1000 employees will be hired for Social Security’s toll free number (800-772-1213).