WASHINGTON – Sen. Charles E. Schumer and Rep. Brian Higgins Tuesday demanded an in-person meeting with the acting head of the Social Security Administration to press their concerns about the agency’s planned closure of the Amherst Social Security Office.
The facility was originally slated to close on March 28, but the Social Security Administration has pushed back the closing date to April 25 after Higgins noted that the earlier date would not comply with the agency’s own rule that it give 90 days notice for such moves.
But Schumer and Higgins want to tell Carolyn Colvin, the acting head of the agency, that the facility at 3131 Sheridan Drive shouldn’t close at all.
“Closing this Social Security office will unduly burden tens of thousands of Amherst and Erie County seniors, forcing the elderly and disabled to travel further to access their essential and hard-earned Social Security services,” said Schumer, D-N.Y.
Higgins agreed. In a memo, his office noted that the Amherst office serves 17 of Erie County’s 36 nursing homes, and that many of the University at Buffalo’s 52,000 international students rely on the office to assist with the necessary paperwork for on-campus employment or obtaining a New York State driver’s license.
The Social Security Administration wants to consolidate the Amherst operation with its office at 186 Exchange St. in Buffalo, but Higgins said that’s a bad idea.
“The Amherst Social Security field office serves a very unique population which includes a large concentration of senior service facilities, people with disabilities and international students,” said Higgins, D-Buffalo. “This community has stood up and sent the message that closing the office in Amherst fails to meet the specialized needs of Western New York and we’re taking that message to Washington, DC.”