U.S. Rep. Graham Urges Social Security Office to be Reopened in Gadsden Co.

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By: Lanetra Bennett
July 2, 2015

Quincy, FL - U.S. Representative Gwen Graham is urging the Social Security Administration to re-open the local office in Gadsden County.

The office has been closed for more than a year.

Natascha Jones came to the public library in Quincy Thursday. It wasn't to check out books; but, to take care of business with the social security office. "It was awkward." She said.

That's where Gadsden County residents have to go because the local social security office closed in March 2014.

U.S. Representative Gwen Graham wants it re-opened. In a letter to the Social Security Administration, she says, "When those offices close, there is a disproportionate impact on communities with higher poverty rates.

Quincy resident Betty Lodman says, "Since they moved and relocated, it's more stressful for us to get there and get the things that we needed, like for transportation wise."

Residents are able to do video-conferencing with a social security representative in Tallahassee from the Quincy library.

Graham writes, "I appreciate that SSA installed a videoconference system in the local library to connect seniors with representatives in other field offices. However, I do not believe this is an effective way to provide a wide range of vital services to those who need it most."

Jones says, "You get confused where you really don't know exactly where to go. Then it's hard because you got to be on the computer looking at somebody through the camera. I just feel like it's best for them to have their own office."

Graham adds in her letter, "These are factors that must be considered, with input from the community, before a decision is made to close a field office, not after the fact."

If the social security office does reopen in Gadsden County, it doesn't look like it'll be in the same location. A sign is posted in front of the old building on Highway 90 saying a children's learning center will be opening soon.

At the time of closing, county officials said the Social Security Administration was expected to save $3 million over ten years by closing the Gadsden County office.

By: Lanetra Bennett
March 31, 2014

Quincy, FL - The doors of the Social Security Office in Gadsden County are now closed.

County officials say they were not officially notified of the closing until March 5th.

Despite protest rallies and pleas, the Social Security office in Gadsden County is now closed effectively immediately.

Residents were still arriving at the Gadsden County Social Security Office in Quincy Monday, but, to their disappointment the office was closed.

County officials say the Social Security Administration is expected to save $3 million over the course of ten years by closing the office.

But, local leaders are not going down without a fight. They are in the process of making social security services available at other locations.

Gadsden County Commissioner Brenda Holt says, "The locations we're looking at are the libraries in Gadsden County. We have three libraries that we can get the icons on the computers as soon as possible. The video conferencing hopefully would be at one of those locations, or the highway patrol station."

Commissioner Holt says they expect to have a definite answer on this alternative by the end of the week.

There are some concerns about using computers at kiosks or alternate locations, but, commissioner Holt says there will be someone available to assist the elderly or anyone in need.

Holt, the Gadsden County sheriff, the Quincy mayor and others say they are still talking to lawmakers to get funding to open the social security office back up.

Updated By: Eyewitness News
March 19, 2014, 5pm

The Social Security Office in Quincy is set to close later this month.

Today, several people gathered at the office to protest the closing.

Residents gathered in front of the office on East Jefferson Street this morning.

If the office were to close, the next closest Social Security Office is in Tallahassee, which protesters says is the biggest issue with the closing.

"We are here on the behalf of the elderly and anybody who gets assistance from Social Security because they will have problems trying to drive to Tallahassee," said Sarah Figgers, protester.

Residents and a County Commissioner met with the Social Security Administrator at a meeting yesterday.

Protesters say they will be returning to the office each day leading up to the closing of the office in a few weeks.

News Release: Steve Southerland's Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, II authored a letter today to U.S. Commissioner of Social Security Carolyn W. Colvin requesting a meeting regarding the closure of the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s office in Quincy, Florida. Southerland’s letter requests a meeting with SSA to explore options that will keep these vital services in place in Gadsden County.

“I was extremely disappointed to learn that the administration had chosen to close the doors on Quincy’s Social Security Administration office,” said Southerland. “We’ve been in contact with SSA and urged them to explore other options that will keep these vital services in place in Gadsden County, readily accessible to the people who need it most.”

NOTE: To review the letter, please click here.

People in Gadsen County may have to travel farther to receive certain government benefits.

The Social Security office in Quincy will close at the end of the month. All services will be diverted to Tallahassee.

Today, concerned residents met with District 4 Commissioner, Brenda Holt and other leaders to discuss how to keep the office open.

Commissioner Holt says 10,000 people use the Quincy Social Security office. Many of them are there every week.

"Everyone from senior citizens to the disabled use this office quite often. They do not have the funds to go 30 miles away to get to a facility," she said.

The commissioner met with a Social Security administrator this afternoon and gave options on how the office can stay open and still save money.

Those options included, shortening business hours and utilizing free county office space.

They also discussed postponing the office closure for at least a year.

Commissioner Holt says she hopes a decision will be made by the end of this week.

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