The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 15, 2014

Braley opposed Social Security service cuts

OTTUMWA — Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley, along with 100 other lawmakers, is standing strong against impending Social Security cuts.

Cuts will begin as soon as next month, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) will no longer issue Social Security number printouts in its field offices. Iowa has 19 field offices which are located in Cedar Rapids, Decorah, Dubuque, Marshalltown, Waterloo, Burlington, Coralville, Davenport, Ottumwa, Council Bluffs, Creston, Des Moines, Ames, Carroll, Fort Dodge, Mason City, Sioux City, Spencer and Storm Lake.

"Over 450,000 Iowa seniors receive Social Security benefits, and many of these seniors utilize Iowa’s 19 Social Security Field Offices for the services that they are promised. Yet as you know, the Social Security Administration is planning to cut two important in-person services in coming months," said Braley in a letter to Carolyn Colvin Acting Commissioner of the SSA.

According to Braley's office, more than 11 million Americans used field offices across the country to request number printouts and obtain benefit information. Now seniors are left no choice but to use the SSA website or telephone to request this information. This creates a problem because of the lack of knowledge many senior citizens have.

The SSA changes will continue in October when offices will stop providing benefit verification letters to seniors except in emergencies. These in-person services are being cut because it is believed to save money. Braley, however, does not agree.

"It is my belief that these cuts will hinder seniors’ access to valuable services, and I’m also concerned that the SSA has failed to show American taxpayers [how they] would achieve any savings," said Braley.

Braley has introduced the Seniors Access to Social Security Act which, if passed, would prevent cuts for one year. During this time Braley will seek approval for another way for taxpayers to save money while keeping these face-to-face services at SSA field offices.

Recently Braley has requested that Iowans go to braley.house.gov to share their personal testimonies of experiences at Iowa SSA offices, which he will share with the SSA officials.

— Follow reporter Danielle Lunsford on Twitter @CourierDanielle

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