Officials fight to keep Social Security office in Rome open, but say battle not over yet
ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - United States Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Richard Hanna have made some progress on an issue in Rome, but they're not satisfied just yet.
The Democratic Senator and the Republican Congressman have put aside their bi-partisan ways to help try to keep Rome's social security office open.
"They worked hard, fought wars, raised families. And now to say in their golden years, 'we're taking this away from you,' particularly when it's harder and harder to find a body in the government these days? It's just unfair and unwise," Senator Schumer said at a press conference outside Rome City Hall on Monday.
The senator went on about the possibility of closing the Social Security office in Rome, saying, "it serves 22,000 residents in Oneida County, many of whom are disabled or very elderly. The office is also known as one of the best offices in the country."
So, why is the location in danger of closing?
Senator Schumer and Congressman Hanna say that the Social Security Administration is facing a large deficit and are cutting where they feel necessary.
"We have a lot of seniors," said Eleanor Servicki, a staff member at the South Rome Senior Center. "We have a lot of seniors. And I know they're not driving. They're handicapped or with walkers and canes."
Senator Schumer and Congressman Hanna, along with other state and local representatives have lobbied to keep the Rome office open. The push has worked so far, but the office will now only be open one day per week for the next three months. After that, the doors could close.
"We think that one day of a week for three months isn't going to cut it," Senator Schumer said. "It means they're going to decide the fate of this facility based on visits on at most 14 random days."
Congressman Richard Hanna, echoed Senator Schumer's sentiments by saying, "I think whether or not we're going to keep it here longer or forever, is in part, in the community's responsibility. So, let's show the administration we're grateful. Let's show them that we need them, we're going to use them, we're going to show up."
The dates that the office will be open have not yet been scheduled. Officials are urging the community to visit the now rent- free office in city hall, and to visit often to show how important the office is to the community.