Social Security office to cut hours to public, open at new location

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WALLA WALLA — Starting today, Walla Walla’s Social Security Administration office will begin offering reduced public access hours. The office will be open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On Dec. 3, however, that shorter window of time will take place in a new building when the agency moves to its new office at 880 N.E. Rose St.

The new space is larger than the current one — about 4,000 square feet, officials said — and has a larger reception area to accommodate visitors. “It is in a stand-alone building, and the new infrastructure will better support the technological needs of our employees when assisting the public,” noted acting communications director Ann Mohageri.

Beginning Jan. 2, the office will close to the public at noon every Wednesday.

While agency employees will continue to work their regular hours, this shorter public window will allow them to complete face-to-face interviews and process claims work without incurring overtime, noted a SSA press release, adding that “significantly reduced funding” makes it impossible for the agency to provide the overtime needed to handle service to the public as it has done in the past.

All SSA field offices will be closed on Friday, to allow staff to focus on reducing backlogged workloads.

According to officials, many Social Security services — including applying for retirement, disability or Medicare benefits, signing up for direct deposit, replacing a Medicare card, obtaining a proof of income letter or informing the agency of a change of address or telephone number — do not require an office visit. Those services are available at www.socialsecurity.gov or at 800-772-1213. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 800-325-0778. Most online services also are available in Spanish at www.segurosocial.gov.

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