Try getting an answer to your questions about government retirement benefits by calling your Social Security office. Let's hope you have plenty of time to wait ... and wait ... and wait.
Perhaps you will be tempted to visit the Social Security office personally. Again, be prepared for long waits and red tape.
But you may want to make that call or visit soon, before the Social Security Administration decides to close your local office.
Since 2010, the agency has closed 64 field offices and at least 490 "contact stations." That is the highest number of closures during a five-year period in the agency's history, and there still is more than a year and a half left in this five-year period.
In addition, service hours have been slashed in field offices that remain open. That happened some time ago.
The Social Security agency's budget for administrative expenses increases every year. During the 2012 fiscal year, $11.5 billion was spent for that purpose. The fiscal 2014 request was $12.4 billion -- a substantial boost in two years.
And, of course, in asking for more and more money, Social Security officials annually boast of increased productivity.
So, more spending and allegedly better productivity have resulted in dramatic cutbacks in service. Why are we not surprised? It is the federal government, after all.
-- The Dunkirk Observer