Fight for city’s Social Security office continues

In light of the potential closure of the Social Security Administration part time office in Bristol at the end of January, Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne and Congressman John B. Larson are announcing a new collaborative effort to continue to allow residents with general Social Security issues to have a direct link to Social Security Services, reported a press release from Larson’s office.
Following discussions between Mayor Cockayne, Congressman Larson, the Social Security Administration and key Social Security constituencies to increase opportunities for service, the news release reported three new partnerships have been created. These partnerships include local Bristol organizations, the Social Security Administration state headquarters in Hartford, and the installation of a teleconference system in the Bristol Senior Center to facilitate one on one meetings between key Social Security staff and Bristol residents.
“I remain frustrated that sequestration cuts have left the Social Security Administration with no choice but to significantly reduce costs after continual reductions in funding since 2010. Drastic cuts in funding have also translated, in part, to a reduction in staff of 12,500 employees nationwide, including 144 in Connecticut. After working with Mayor Cockayne and leading local constituency groups towards a solution, we have been able to preserve crucial access to services from Social Security for Bristol residents,” said Larson, according to the press release from the congressman’s office.
New partnerships between the Hartford Social Security Office have been established between the following organizations to provide direct avenues of communication between Bristol residents and the Social Security Administration, the release said:
The Bristol Community Organization, 55 South St., Bristol
The Army Strong Support Center, 111 North Main St., Bristol
The Bristol Senior Center, 240 Stafford Ave., Bristol
“Moving forward, these partnerships will allow Bristol seniors, veterans and residents with general Social Security issues to have a more direct link with Social Security services,” Larson continued, reported the news release. “I will be closely monitoring the implementation of this change in service and will continue to fight for a permanent office in Bristol with Mayor Cockayne and Senators Blumenthal and Murphy”
“These budget cuts have left seniors, veterans, and others in the area in the lurch, unsure about the future of this critical resource,”said Murphy, reported Larson’s news release. “But these new partnerships represent a good, workable solution that will allow direct access to Social Security services for people in the area. Congressman Larson, Senator Blumenthal, and I will keep pushing for a more permanent office, but I’m pleased that the Bristol Community Organization, the Army Strong Support Center, and the Bristol Senior Center have stepped up to help fill this void.”
“Bristol residents deserve direct access to Social Security services,” said Cockayne, reported Larson’s news release. “The new partnerships announced today will provide additional ways for our community to connect with Social Security, maintaining direct communication. In the coming weeks, my staff and I will be working to inform our seniors, veterans and others on these new partnerships. I want to thank Congressman Larson and our senators for their work on this collaborative effort and will be continuing my push for a permanent Social Security location in Bristol.”
Senators Blumenthal and Murphy and Congressman Larson have sent two letters and had sit down meetings with Social Security officials to discuss their significant concern with the potential closure of the Bristol office, said the release. Recent budget cuts to the Social Security Administration have resulted in the closure of 41 field offices, 490 contract stations and a 20 percent reduction in office hours nationwide since fiscal year 2010. Since fiscal year 2011, budget cuts have reduced staffing by 12,500 employees across the country.