Lawmakers call for safety upgrades as people face long lines ‘outside in the heat for hours’ at Social Security offices
People who face long waits for service at the Social Security Administration’s field offices have had to contend with one more complication this summer — intense heat.
That prompted leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee to send a letter to the Social Security Administration on Tuesday asking the agency to take action to address the safety needs of people who are seeking in-person help.
“Although most SSA field offices can assist visitors, in some locations people have been standing outside in the heat for hours at a time, without the guarantee of getting their needs met,” wrote Reps. Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Kevin Brady, R-Texas, in a letter addressed to Kilolo Kijakazi, acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration.
Neal is chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, while Brady is the committee’s Republican leader.
The letter went on to detail uncomfortable situations people who are seeking help have been put in, citing media reports, including elderly or disabled individuals waiting more than six hours in temperatures close to 100 degrees. The conditions led one individual to faint in Texas, lawmakers noted, while other people in Florida slept outside the night before to secure their spots in line for the next morning. In some cases, people have had to come back on multiple days to get their needs addressed.
“We strongly urge SSA to take additional action to address the safety needs of individuals who are seeking field office services,” Neal and Brady wrote.