November 19, 2012
by Elise Preston
(Memphis) About a dozen government union workers holding signs pleading with the federal government to keep the east Memphis Social Security office open, lined Players Club Parkway Monday. The parking lot is full, but the doors are expected to close December 28th.
“The agency stated they could save 300,000 dollars a year. With all the budget cuts, they needed to shut the office down,” said American Federation of Government Employees local president, Peter Harris. According to Harris, the office serves 75,000 people and shutting it down would cause a lot of hardship for those folks. “That’s going to create a lot of wait times, a lot of poor service for taxpayers. People who have paid into social security all their life, are going to have to go elsewhere,” said Harris.
Seventy-three year-old Maryam Rostebet is on Medicare and uses the office. Her son Saeed Nia has to come with her, “They normally do not talk on the phone, unless they can talk to the person. Not knowing the language, she has a hard time. That`s why we come here, because I can translate.” Nia calls the looming close a disaster, “ I would have to take off from my work, so commuting is difficult if its farther.”
We called the Social Security Office to speak with someone about the shut down, but haven’t received a call back.
Harris believes the administration foolishly used funds on things that didn’t impact people and now those in need, will suffer, “It’s a lot of angst and uncertainty, the matter in which this was held. There was no public meeting, this was just a quick 2 month decision.”
Three offices will remain open in Memphis. Once is located in Midtown at 1330 Monroe. Another location is in Walnut Grove at 225 N. Humphreys. The address to the Raleigh location is 3602 Austin Peay.
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