Mary Glenn-Croft, deputy Social Security Administration commissioner for operations, sent an email last Wednesday announcing that SSA offices will be trimming their service hours for a second time this year due to declining agency budgets, reports Sean Reilly for http://www.federaltimes.com.
The email stated that all 1,233 SSA offices will be closed to customers at 3:00 instead of 3:30 beginning November 19, 2012. SSA first implemented a 30 minute cut back on office hours last August, 2011.
SSA offices are also closed to the public every Wednesday at noon since January 2, due to austerity measures.
Glenn-Croft explained that their adjustments with operation hours aimed to lessen employee overtime claims and help them complete their administrative responsibilities within regular working hours.
Kia Green, SSA spokeswoman, wrote in an email response to Federal Times that the changes are part of the continuing resolution which President Obama signed last week. The bill provides SSA with less operational budget than originally requested.
Witold Skwierczynski, president of the union council, said in an interview last Wednesday that less overtime will further aggravate the state of the salaries of SSA personnel since they have been enduring a pay freeze for almost two years.
Skwierczynski also added that the reduction of service hours may be part of SSA’s strategy to increasingly use the internet and telephones for agency contact.
20 field offices were closed last year and another twenty seven are in line to be closed this year, he said.
The American Federation of Government Employees has already issued a bargaining agreement and will launch a protest to Congress, Skwierczynski said.
The union council represents over 28,000 SSA personnel in field offices and tele-service centers around the country.