Days after sending a letter to administration officials demanding answers on Social Security service cuts, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today is calling on Iowans to share their experiences with Iowa Social Security Administration offices as he continues his push to delay the cuts to the essential services that 11 million Americans—including many Iowa seniors—used just last year. Braley will share the comments he receives with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
“It’s important the Social Security Administration knows that Iowans are paying attention and aren’t going to sit around while these important services disappear without warning or a single penny saved,” Braley said. “Tens of thousands of Iowans use these services and the Social Security Administration needs to hear exactly how those Iowans are going to be affected.”
Iowans are encouraged to go to braley.house.gov to share their experiences and take a survey about their experience utilizing services at Social Security Administration field offices.
Beginning August 2014, SSA will no longer issue Social Security number printouts in its field offices. In addition, beginning October 2014, SSA field offices will stop providing benefit verification letters, except in emergency situations. Many seniors rely on these verification letters for a variety of services. Those requesting this information would be able to do so only online or over the phone. Last year alone, 11 million Americans used SSA offices to request this information.
Iowa’s 19 SSA field offices are located in Cedar Rapids, Decorah, Dubuque, Marshalltown, Waterloo, Burlington, Coralville, Davenport, Ottumwa, Council Bluffs, Creston, Des Moines, Ames, Carroll, Ft. Dodge, Mason City, Sioux City, Spencer, and Storm Lake.
Over 450,000 Iowa seniors received Social Security benefits in 2013.
Braley’s Seniors’ Access to Social Security Act would prevent those cuts for one year, during which time Braley will seek verification that the proposed service cuts will not adversely affect Iowa’s seniors and will save taxpayers money.
This week, Braley wrote a letter to SSA Commissioner Carolyn Colvin asking her to provide a series of answers about the proposed cuts, including whether an analysis of cost savings has been done and if public input was solicited prior to the proposed cuts. Braley also sought information from Colvin on how Iowans seeking these services would be informed of cuts.
In June, Braley joined a Congressional push to prevent the elimination of the SSA services in a letter to the head of the SSA, noting that it’s vital that seniors be able to receive these services in person especially given that telephone wait times for SSA services have risen drastically in the last year, and that many seniors lack internet access.