WASHINGTON, June 27 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced today that Vermont will receive five new Social Security staffers at the agency’s three field offices in Burlington, Montpelier and Rutland.
Since 2010, Vermont has lost almost a quarter of its Social Security field office staff because of national cuts to Social Security’s operating budget. Sanders noted that Vermont had the highest rate of Social Security field staff losses in all of New England, resulting in longer wait times for claims, appeals and even routine inquiries. “Not only was this enormously frustrating for many Vermonters, but the longer wait times sometimes causes significant financial hardship,” Sanders said.
As the ranking member of the Budget Committee, Sanders proposed and secured a $480 million increase in the Social Security Administration’s operating budget. Sanders then worked closely with the acting Social Security commissioner to ensure Vermont field offices got the positions they need to provide Vermonters with better service.
Sanders said, “Social Security is the most successful government program ever, but it can’t work for Vermonters if it doesn’t have adequate staff to answer the phones, meet with applicants and process claims. At a time when many Republicans are trying to cut and privatize Social Security, I am proud we were able to boost funding by $480 million to hire additional staff for the first time in several years. This will help Vermont seniors and people with disabilities receive the benefits they have earned and deserve in a timely manner.”
The five additional field office staffers will replace almost a third of personnel losses in Vermont since 2010.
“We have a ways to go, but this is a victory for Vermont’s seniors, people with disabilities and Social Security personnel who are grossly overworked and underpaid,” Sanders said.
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