Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, spoke from the House Floor Tuesday to introduce the Social Security Administration Accountability Act - legislation that would require the Social Security Administration provide adequate justification before closing any field offices.
Earlier this year, the Social Security Administration proposed closure of the Amherst field office. Higgins has vowed to fight the closure, citing the "devastating" consequences for seniors, students, and individuals with disabilities.
"Easy access to the services provided by Social Security field offices are critical to community members who need those services most," Higgins said. "This legislation will halt the closure of any offices until all factors are considered. If the Social Security Administration would really take the time to understand the unique population it serves out of the Amherst office, I'm confident they would realize, like this community does, the need to keep that office open."
The text of Higgins' remarks is below:
"Last month, the Social Security Administration announced proposed plans to close the Social Security field office in Amherst, N.Y., among other regional offices. This proposal is both unnecessary and ill-conceived, and threatens the ability of seniors, international students, and individuals with disabilities to access critical services.
"In response to this, I plan to introduce the Social Security Administration Accountability Act, which would require that the Social Security Administration provide Congress and local communities with adequate notice and justification for field office closings.
"This bill would require that Congress receive a report, which includes caseload data, service population and staffing levels at field offices, as well as the process by which office are selected for closing.
"Mr. Speaker, the recent FY 2014 budget appropriated an additional $11.7 billion to the Social Security Administration for administrative expenses, which should provide the financial stability to alleviate the need to close field offices across the country.
"I urge my colleagues to support this request."