... When CBS 12 News viewers kept emailing us about the really long lines at the Social Security Office on West Palm Beach's Congress Avenue, we had to see it for ourselves.
And this is what we found today: A line out the door, of people of all ages and needs, in the hot summer sun, with an afternoon rainstorm approaching. ...
One person says they've been there four times. One time for three hours. 2 hours another time. Today's it's about 2 1/2 hours.
Another person - "About an hour a half, two hours waiting. This place sucked."
"We got here at 10 a.m.. Thought we were here for a decent time. We got here. We stood outside for an hour, an and twenty minutes at least."
No sooner did we start asking questions did staff here attempt to chase us from the scene.
"Sir. You got to stop. You're on federal property".
So we reached out the Social Security Administration Public Information Officer in Atlanta for answers. ...
CBS 12 is no exception to long waits for the Social Security Administration.When the Public Information Officer finally returned the call, the defense was that the average wait at the West Palm Beach office was only 47 minutes.
We called them just after 1 p.m. today and were promised a response to our story. Now, 5 hours later, we are still waiting....
Update: The local member of Congress thinks that "infrastructure changes" are needed to address the problem.
Further update: This is from the TV station this afternoon (emphasis added):
Representative Lois Frankel discussed your complaints about long wait times at the West Palm Beach SSA Field Office with the Acting Social Security Administrator (SSA) Carolyn Colvin at the White House today.
Rep. Frankel tells us the long lines are a result of sequestration budget cuts. "The situation is an example of mindless budget cuts called sequestration, and it has drastically impacted vital programs across the nation including Social Security," said Frankel.
Today, Representatives Lois Frankel, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings and Tim Murphy—all Democrats from Florida--all sent a letter to the Southern Regional Commission of the Social Security Administration, Michael Grochowski, urging him to investigate and address long wait times at the West Palm Beach SSA Field Office.
CBS 12 has also learned the SSA field office closes to the public at noon on Wednesday, so that staff can process an abundance of paperwork.# SSA client Elizabeth Ratliffe said, “You saw them turn people away as early as 10 o’clock. As soon as I went in, they stopped letting people in."Maybe somebody finally noticed the parallel to what happened at the Department of Veterans Affairs.