February 22, 2012

Schumer, Gillibrand Urge FEDs to Open Social Security Satellite Office for Long Beach Seniors After Long Beach Site Closes

Lawmakers Make Push to Open Part-Time Social Security Office to Ease Transportation Burden for Thousands of Long Beach Seniors

Long Beach, NY – After the Social Security Administration shut its Long Beach office doors earlier this month, U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today urged Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael Astrue to work with the City of Long Beach to open a part-time local satellite office for the tens of thousands of Long Beach residents seeking help securing their benefits. Lawmakers pointed out that the closure results in Long Beach seniors facing the serious burden of relying on their own transportation to access the nearest office. 

“Closing this social security office will unduly burden Long Beach seniors,” said Schumer. “But there’s still hope: by opening a satellite office on Long Beach,  the Social Security Administration can demonstrate its commitment to providing convenient, accessible services to tens of thousands of local seniors, and I urge them to do so immediately.” 

“Long Beach residents deserve access to critical services,” said Gillibrand.  “Opening a satellite Social Security office here will provide our community’s most vulnerable with the adequate help they need.” 

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand wrote in a letter to Social Security Commissioner Astrue, “We request the opening of a satellite office in Long Beach to provide adequate service to the Long Beach community. As you may know, Long Beach is located on a barrier island and while the City itself boasts an efficient transportation network, its residents need to rely on personal transportation to access the mainland of Long Island… While we agree that cost-saving measures should be implemented throughout the agency, we cannot leave those most vulnerable without access to these resources and believe that a satellite office, operating on a part-time basis, should be discussed with the City of Long Beach.  The absence of any office will heavily inconvenience and potentially prevent beneficiaries from being able seek help or acquire their benefits.” 

Earlier this month, the Social Security Administration closed its Long Beach office at 25-27 East Park Avenue, placing many of the community’s elderly and the disabled who are unable to drive or find their own transportation at a disadvantage. The Long Beach office is set to merge with the Freeport Office. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand requested that the Social Security Administration put in place a contingency plan to open a Long Beach satellite office. 

Full text of the Senators’ letter is below: 

Dear Commissioner Astrue, 

We are writing in response to the recent closing of a Social Security office located at 25-27 E. Park Avenue, in Long Beach, New York. Local advocates report that the office was frequented by over twenty thousand individuals. These individuals, many elderly and/or disabled, must now find their own transportation to the nearest office in Freeport, Mineola or Far Rockaway, the closest being approximately 30 minutes away. We request the opening of a satellite office in Long Beach to provide adequate service to the Long Beach community. 

As you may know, Long Beach is located on a barrier island and while the City itself boasts an efficient transportation network, its residents need to rely on personal transportation to access the mainland of Long Island. Additionally, U.S. Census numbers indicate that over 16 percent of residents in Long Beach are over the age of 65. This is higher than the New York State average of 13 percent. While we agree that cost-saving measures should be implemented throughout the agency, we cannot leave those most vulnerable without access to these resources and believe that a satellite office, operating on a part-time basis, should be discussed with the City of Long Beach.  The absence of any office will heavily inconvenience and potentially prevent beneficiaries from being able seek help or acquire their benefits. 

We respectfully ask you to consider reconsider your decision to close the Long Beach office without any plans to open a satellite office.