In-person visits return for Social Security offices

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UTICA — After the pandemic set limitations for in-person social security services, Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), has announced that beginning April 7, local Social Security offices will restore in-person services, including for people without an appointment.

To avoid waiting in line and other delays, people are strongly encouraged to use SSA’s online services at www.socialsecurity.gov, call over the phone, or schedule appointments in advance rather than walking in without an appointment.

The Utica Social Security Office is located at 10 Broad Street, Utica. Call 1-877-405-6750 for more information.

Officials say that SSA offices tend to be the busiest first thing in the morning, early in the week, and during the early part of the month, so people may want to plan to visit at other times.

Given that many of the people the SSA serves have health vulnerabilities, and consistent with union agreements, certain safety measures are required for in-person attendance including masking, physical distancing, and self-health checks for COVID-19 symptoms. Masks can be provided to those who need them.

It’s recommended that online services be sought out first when possible as high-call volume may impact customer experience.

“As we transition to a new modern phone system, some people may experience a busy signal or be unintentionally disconnected from their call,” the commissioner remarked. “We sincerely regret this disruption.”

“I thank the public for your patience as we work to increase service,” Kijakazi said.

He continued, “Thoughtful planning and preparation have shaped our process to restore in-person services. Social Security employees are dedicated to serving the public, and we are ready to welcome the public back to our offices. Our local managers understand and can address the needs of their communities.” The SSA has also implemented office-to-office support as well as brought recently retired employees back to assist the public, Kijakazi added.

To ensure a better user experience, officials recommend calling the National 800 number (1-800-772-1213) during less busier times, such as before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. local time or later in the week. Waits are generally shorter later in the month.

To learn more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices/.

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