I usually use this space to warn you about food or drug issues that you need to look out for. But today’s warning is a little different. But you definitely need to look out.
While everyone is focused on Obamacare and wars breaking out all over, something sinister is happening behind your back. You probably won’t know about it either — unless you need to make a visit to your local Social Security office. And that’s when you’ll discover it’s been shut down.
Since Obama took over, Social Security offices have been closing in record numbers. As of last month, a total of 64 field offices had been shut down, along with some 533 temporary mobile offices. And of the 1,245 offices left, many have been forced to cut back their operating hours.
And who suffers?
So instead of that in-person chat in a Social Security office, you just might have to take care of any problems, questions or forms online.
I know a lot of us don’t like to handle confidential matters on the Internet. But that may be what getting SS help has come down to.
And all this comes at a time when the system is being flooded with new applicants as more and more Baby Boomers reach retirement age. Applications for Social Security have risen by a whopping 27 percent since 2007.
But not everyone is convinced relying on technology is such a great idea. As one critic, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, who chairs a Senate Special Committee on Aging, noted, “They don’t do any kind of analysis on what would happen to a community when their field office closes.” And that includes “figuring out how the most vulnerable populations would make their way to the next-closest office.”
There’s also the growing problem of Social Security accounts being subject to Internet fraud.
But to smooth the transition, the SSA created a cutesy YouTube video last year featuring a cat who walks on a computer keyboard. That’s supposed to show just how simple the new system is to use. “Millions of you people have already retired on line,” says the fedora-wearing feline. “It gives me hope for your species — well, some.”
You just know that cat is from the government. And is here to help.
“Social security closes offices as more seniors need services” Brianna Ehley, June 18, 2014, The Fiscal Times, thefiscaltimes.com