Highlights

Open

Contests and
Sweeps

Dream Vacation Sweepstakes

10 weeks. 10 amazing trips. Seize your chance to win!
See official rules. 

Car buying made easy with the AARP Auto Buying Program

Free Fun!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Work
PROGRAMS

Best Employers for Workers Over 50

See the latest winners of this AARP recognition program.

Employer Resource Center

Attract and retain top talent in a changing workforce.

Most Popular
ARTICLES

Viewed

Commented

Special Report

Budget Cuts Impact Social Security Office Hours, Services

Meanwhile, number of boomer applicants grows

As the security guard at a Social Security field office in the Philadelphia area, Larry Scheffler keeps his eyes and ears open. "I see people come in, the worry in their faces. And I see these employees doing the best they can to help them."

See also: Latinos' crucial contributions to Social Security.

And doing it with less money and less time with the public. Earlier this year, Congress cut the Social Security Administration's fiscal 2011 operating budget — the money that funds field offices, call centers and other facilities (but not benefits). The current $11.4 billion is $510 million less than in 2010, even as 8,000 boomers turn 65 daily and applications for retirement benefits are up by about a quarter in the last five years.

As a result, the SSA has shut remote service sites in rural areas and shelved plans for the first new call center in more than 10 years. On Aug. 15, most field offices began closing 30 minutes earlier (at 3:30 p.m.) to save on overtime. The 68,000-person agency is set to cut 3,500 jobs this year, with another 4,000 going in 2012.

The cuts result from a long-running Washington budget battle little noticed by the public. The risk is that Social Security will be unable to deliver service Americans deserve.

Social security budget down boomer applicants up stack of papers and folders

Social Security budget cuts impact services. — Photo by Trevor Lush/Corbis

Still, the Philly-area office is running smoothly, a "thank you" concluding every transaction. Yvette Rosendo, 50, who came by to stop her deceased mother's checks, said she tried calling, but was on hold for 45 minutes. "I don't blame the SSA," she said. "It's being squeezed, just like everyone else."

You may also like: 10 things to know about Social Security. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Your Work

Jobs You Might Like

Discounts & Benefits

Explore Your Learning Possiblities