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Pittsburg's SSA office soon to close - KOAM TV 7

Pittsburg's SSA office soon to close

Updated:

Update September 19, 2013 10:41CST: "The American Federation of Government Employees  is very concerned about keeping offices in smaller communities to support the public," said AFGE Representative Cheryl Hainkel.  

In less than one month Southeast Kansas residents will no longer conduct their business locally at the Social Security Office.

On Thursday the union met with employees in Pittsburg  to hear about their concerns regarding the closure.

"It's an important topic and there are a lot of questions right now," said Hainkel.

Jobs are safe for the 12 employees at the Pittsburg building, they will be reassigned to the Joplin SSA office.

The union says they're also concerned about the drive local residents will have to make to conduct their business.

"If their dropping off papers work and stuff like that ifs not going to be convenient to get it to Joplin," said Union Representative Senitria Hampton Monk.

By all indications the closure of the SSA building is linked to lean budgets, the agency received nearly one-billion less the past two budget years to operate its network of offices across the county.

 "When your serving 400-500  international students who need social security cards for work that's not something you can ride a bike 40 miles away to get that completed," said Hampton Monk.

 The agency has moved ahead with its plan to close the Pittsburg office  based on only 45 to 50 daily visits.

"We do want to see the office stay open for the public and for the employees," said Hampton Monk.

Hainkel says,"We would hope that it would be stopped and what really helps is grassroots support that communication through church's the community Facebook and people reaching out to the congressman."

 

Social Security Administration (SSA) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients are used to conducting their business locally in Pittsburg, but that will soon change.

KOAM & Fox 14 have confirmed that the local SSA office on Broadway and East Adams is slated to close to the public in November.

The office serves six counties in the area. 

"If it's not local that means people have to commute. We like to have it here especially if it's already here," said Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall.

The 12 employees have the option of relocating to the SSA office in Joplin. 

The move has the Pittsburg City Manager concerned about area residents who are unable to travel long distances. 

"We have other buildings in the City of Pittsburg and plenty of buildings that can house 12 employees," said Hall. 

Its closure is linked to lean budgets. The agency has received nearly one billion dollars less over the last two budget years to operate its offices across the country. 

The office in Pittsburg is in need of repairs and renovations that could cost up to one million dollars.

Hall says, "I wish they would consider working with the local community." 

The nearest office for those seeking face to face services would be 33 miles from the Pittsburg office in Joplin. 

"You know this is one of the things we have here, we have a federal presence in this building and it would sure be nice not to lose that," said Hall. 

While there's no appeal process there is a history of the agency backing off of a closure if there is enough political pressure. 

We're told Kansas Senator Moran plans on meeting with the agency about the closure sometime this week.

The office is set to close on November 15th, 2013.

The SSA web site: http://www.ssa.gov/

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