Long waits at Social Security Office persist

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Social Security employees started returning to work at the office today, and the offices will open to the public sometime in April.

As of Wednesday, you still can’t walk in and get help. You have to use the phone and several people News10NBC has spoken with say for them, it just rings and rings and rings.

Kenneth Mitchell needs help because he’s retiring next fall and he has questions about his benefits. After a week and a half of calling, he says someone picked up. They told him to call back in August.

When News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean went to the office on Main Street in Downtown Rochester, there were security guards at the door.

In two letters to the head of Social Security, Rep. Joe Morelle said his office opened 120 cases of complaints in 2019 and 88 cases in 2021.

The letters describe "unacceptably long wait times" and a "degradation of communication."

Since Brean’s story in November, Social Security never answered his question about why it takes so long for someone to answer the phone.

Wednesday when Brean asked why the offices aren’t open, it said it’s doing that in early April, but they said people who walk in might find delays and longer waits because as part of the deal to return to the office, employees can still work from home two days a week and most of them are going to do that, so the offices could be 60% staffed.