Newhouse Takes Action to Support Central Washington Seniors

October 12, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) released the following statement after taking two major actions to support Central Washington’s seniors:

“Keeping the promises we make to our senior citizens is one the highest responsibilities of representing Washington’s Fourth Congressional District in Congress,” said Rep. Newhouse. “Preserving Social Security benefits for the men and women who are counting on them – including public servants who have dedicated their professional careers to public service – and placing our country back on a fiscally responsible track are critical not only for today’s seniors, but for the generations to come.”

Rep. Newhouse sent a letter to Social Security Administration Acting Commissioner, Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi, and Everett Kelley, President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) urging them together to reopen field offices to ensure seniors have access to the Social Security services promised to them.

Rep. Newhouse also cosponsored H.R. 82, the Social Security Fairness Act which would ensure public sector workers and their families can receive full Social Security benefits after two previous statutes reduced them. The Social Security Fairness Act would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) from the Social Security Act, both of the statutes significantly reduce benefits for nearly 2.3 million Americans.

Click here to read the full text of H.R. 82, the Social Security Fairness Act.
The full text of the letter can be found 
here and below:  

Dear Dr. Kijakazi and Mr. Kelley,

We write to urge you to work together to develop a plan to reopen the more than 1,500 Social Security field offices that are currently closed to the public. Numerous constituents across our districts have reached out to us to express their frustrations with access to Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices. Many of our constituents from vulnerable populations who lack access to reliable internet, or do not have a reliable phone number or mailing address, are struggling to access Social Security services. In order to provide the services the American people are entitled to, it is imperative that these field offices reopen.

We are also concerned the continued closure of SSA’s field offices will result in further delays in processing critical benefits and other services, on top of the already existing benefits backlog. A recent report from the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General found that SSA is facing a backlog of unprocessed mail, including benefit applications and requests for Social Security cards. As you are aware, delays in these areas can cause significant hardship for beneficiaries.

The health and safety of federal employees should be a priority in any reopening plan. With the availability of three safe and highly effective vaccines however, it is clear that field offices can be reopened safely. Numerous public and private entities throughout the country have resumed normal operations. It is time the Social Security Administration reopen as well.