Social Security Office decreases hours

Photo by Joe Moore

Photo by Joe Moore

The Social Security Office in Covington will close half an hour earlier beginning Monday.

The office, located at 9180 Covington ByPass, will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The change is due to budget cuts, according to a press release issued by the Social Security Administration.

Congress allocated nearly $1 billion less than requested by President Barack Obama to Social Security for this fiscal year. The agency is no longer able to pay workers overtime to handle service to the public as in the past.

"While agency employees will continue to work their regular hours, this shorter public window will allow them to complete face-to-face service with the visiting public without incurring the cost of overtime," the release states.

Local Social Security field offices have lost nearly 1,600 workers during the past nine months due to the budget cuts, said Regional Communications Director Patti Patterson.

Patterson did not respond to questions about whether customers could expect to see longer wait times at the local office or longer processing times for benefits requests and other services.

The Social Security Administration urges customers to take advantage of online and telephone service,where most business can be handled, including applying for benefits,signing up for direct deposit, replacing a Medicare card, obtaining proof of income letter or obtaining a change of address or telephone number. All of these matters can be handled at www.socialsecurity.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213. The deaf or hard of hearing can call the TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.