In this report, we sought to determine the effect of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) decision to reduce field office (FO) hours to the public.
FOs are SSA’s primary points of contact for face-to-face service with the public. In August 2011, SSA began closing FOs (nationwide) 30 minutes earlier each day. In November 2012, SSA extended these early closures to 1 hour. In January 2013, SSA further reduced FO hours by closing every Wednesday at noon. With the reduced hours, FOs were open to the public 27 hours compared to the previous 35 hours per week.
Since Fiscal Year 2011, SSA has experienced increased workloads as well as decreased staffing levels and budgets. Therefore, SSA took measures to continue providing adequate service to the public, including reducing FO hours. Although the FO is closed to the public, SSA staff continues working. According to SSA, the reduced public hours allow staff to complete face-to-face interviews and process claims with reduced overtime costs.