RANGER AGAINST WAR: Gadsden County Social Security Office Closing, April 2014 <

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gadsden County Social Security Office Closing, April 2014

 --Minister Alphonso Figgers 

Sedan delivery is a job
I know I'll keep
It sure was hard to find
Hard to find, hard to find a job,
hard to find, hard to find 
--Sedan Delivery, Neil Young

Here's a little story from Ranger's town of Quincy, the county seat of Gadsden County, the only predominantly black county in Florida. Thirty percent of the residents of this pine scrub county on the Georgia line live below the Federal poverty guidelines.

For the last two weeks, lay minster Alphonso Figgers has been manning his makeshift roadside post outside of the Gadsden Social Security office at 1105 East Jefferson Street, protesting the imminent closing of that office. Figgers showed us a folder of materials on the closing, slated for 31 March 2014.

While the decision to close the office was made in January, workers only received notice earlier this month (2 March).

The SSA stated that the decision to close the office was based on findings that the office rental of $12,000/month was not justified by the 54 constituents served daily.

Figgers said that to address the rent issue, Representative Allen Williams and City Commissioner Holt had convened a meeting on 11 March to discuss alternatives to the closing, including offering free space for SSA operation in an annex of the Sheriff's Department to address the rent issue. However, the offer could neither be accepted nor declined as no representatives from the SSA attended the meeting.

After the office closure, a letter from the SSA states residents will have the option of seeking services at the SSA offices in Tallahassee (25 miles), Marianna (50 miles) or Albany, Georgia. But for residents who do not own or have access to a vehicle or any sort of public transportation, this will constitute a possibly insurmountable hardship. Senator Bill Nelson has written an letter of appeal to Carolyn Colvin, the acting Commissioner of the SSA, expressing the direness of the situation.

The SSA has already closed its contact stations and mobile service stations in the county. There will be no further attempts at outreach to needy citizens. This is but one sad loss resulting from the sequestration and budget cuts. With the aging of the population comes the requirement of more servicing from public resource agencies, not less.

Mr. Figgers wonders aloud if its not the demographics of the constituency in Gadsden County which make it any easy target for losing government services. Perhaps it is just that a government on a shoestring is operating in the same mode of the "compassionate conservatives," hoping that some private party will step in to meet the need they are abandoning, but that is not how a government should operate its programs aimed at serving its neediest populations.

As with what happened when the Food Stamp program increased its requirements for qualification and those without vehicles had difficulty amassing all the new materials necessary for qualification, some will go underground and do with less food, less medical care and medications. Some will die prematurely, but the death certificate will not read, "death by sequestration".

And the country gets a little meaner incrementally.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SSA, and various other alphabet DOMESTIC agencies, sure had plenty of money to purchase hollow point bullets, and such. Funny how there's always $$ for that, Ukraine, Syria, Libya,Iraq, Afhg. etc That type of stuff is always sequester proof.
Mike from Cle

Friday, April 4, 2014 at 3:31:00 PM GMT-5  

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