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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2012

SCHUMER URGES FEDS TO KEEP ROME SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE OPEN FOR BUSINESS; PROPOSED RELOCATION TO UTICA COULD PUT ESSENTIAL SOCIAL SECURITY SERVICES OUT OF REACH FOR THOUSANDS OF ROME SENIORS



Schumer & Assemblyman Brindisi Push Social Security Commissioner To Keep Rome’s North George Street Office Open To Serve 22,000 Local Seniors—Rome Facility Touts High Efficiency and Service Ratings

Closure & Relocation Could Force Thousands of Rome Seniors, And Many Disabled, to Travel Further For Essential Retirement, Social Security, and Disability Services

Schumer: We Shouldn’t Pull The Rug Out From Underneath Our Seniors

 

Today, after the Social Security Administration announced plans to relocate the North George Street office in Rome earlier this month, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Assemblyman Brindisi urged the Social Security Administration to keep the social security office at its current location to keep essential services nearby for 22,000 Rome seniors. While the officials understand the need to take cost-saving measures during difficult economic times, Schumer and Brindisi highlighted that tens of thousands of seniors, often disabled, rely on the close proximity of the Rome office in order to secure their hard-earned social security benefits. In their letter to Commissioner Michael Astrue, the lawmakers pointed to the fact that the North George Street facility has received high efficiency ratings over the years, and in combination with the importance that the Rome office holds for tens of thousands of seniors, Schumer and Brindisi are urging the Social Security Administration to keep the facility open for Rome’s seniors.

 

“Relocating this social security office will unduly burden tens of thousands of Rome seniors, forcing the elderly and disabled to travel great distances to access their essential and hard-earned social security services” said Schumer. “That is why I’m urging the Social Security Administration to demonstrate its commitment to providing convenient, accessible services to tens of thousands of local seniors by reversing course on the location of the North George Street office in Rome. This facility has received top-ratings in efficiency and service, and I am pushing Commissioner Michael Astrue to consider the importance of this facility and the face-to-face help it provides to senior citizens in local rural communities when determining cost-saving measures.”

 

"The North George Street social security office is not only efficient but it plays a vital role in providing access to benefits Romans and their surrounding rural neighbors have worked hard to earn. Closing an office that accommodates roughly 22,000 residents just doesn't make sense and I'm proud to join Senator Schumer in opposing this relocation proposal,” said Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi.

 

Earlier this month, the Social Security Administration announced that the Social Security office on North George Street would be relocating its operations to the Alexander Pirnie Federal Building in Utica. This news would mean that the 22,000 beneficiaries residing in the Rome area who obtain their retirement and disability services at the social security office in Rome would have to travel a much greater distance for these essential services. This relocation comes despite the Rome office’s high efficiency rating over the years, among the highest in the country.

 

A copy of Schumer and Brindisi’s letter appears below:

 

Dear Commissioner Astrue,

 

We write today in response to learning of your agency’s decision to relocate the Rome Social Security Office on North George Street, a move that would impact roughly 22,000 residents, forcing them to go farther for essential services. These individuals, many of them elderly or disabled, rely on the close proximity of the Rome office and the face-to-face help it provides.  

 

While we agree that cost-savings measures should be implemented throughout the agency, we also recognize the value that the North George Street location provides the Social Security Administration. Over the years, the Rome site has touted high efficiency ratings that confirm its ability to get the job done effectively. Moreover, the Rome location accommodates residents from other communities that border Rome but are not as close to Utica.

 

Again, we ask that you reconsider relocating Rome’s North George Street Social Security Office and invite you to call upon us should you have any questions regarding our request. We should do everything we can to accommodate the 22,000 residents in and around the City of Rome who have worked hard to earn their social security benefits.

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