Social Security Needs to be More Accessible

KINGSTON – Friday, Congressman Pat Ryan wrote a letter to Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Andrew Saul, demanding the SSA to reopen their field office in Kingston. Since the closure of the previous field office, thousands of seniors living in Ulster County are forced to travel upwards of an hour to reach an SSA office.

“Thousands of Ulster County seniors are forced to travel over an hour to get help from the Social Security Administration – that is a ridiculous burden to place on hard-working New Yorkers who deserve easy access to these earned benefits,” said Representative Pat Ryan.

“Social Security offices provide necessary resources, including applications for Social Security cards, information on Social Security benefits, and support for limited-income Medicare beneficiaries. To close the field office and leave seniors who may not have reliable internet or access to a car without these services is completely unacceptable. I am demanding the Social Security Administration right this wrong and reopen their field office so that Hudson Valley seniors can access these much-needed services.

“For years, I regularly took neighbors and friends to the Social Security Office, helping them get their benefits and have their questions answered,” said Lori Annuziata, a Shawangunk resident. “Since the office closed, accessing these resources has been nearly impossible. My internet is spotty at best, and many of my friends are unable to drive. Forcing us to navigate the Social Security system without in-person assistance is an absolute disservice to our senior community. Thank you Congressman Ryan for bringing our voices down to Washington and fighting for the office to reopen.”

“After our Social Security office was closed, the pandemic hit, and the ability for seniors to get their Social Security questions answered became much more complicated,” said Susan C. Koppenhaver, Director of the Ulster County Office for Aging. “We were seeing up to 25 people who needed this help every single week when the Social Security personnel were here onsite. Many do not have internet expertise, and rely on our help, which was even difficult for our staff, as the Social Security offices were not manned in person for months on end. Thank you Congressman Ryan for working to address this- we are imploring all local and federal legislators to reconsider having a Social Security Administration office here in Kingston.”

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