Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Social Security office in Tampa Bay area will tackle backlog of disability claims

TAMPA — A new Social Security hearing office planned for the Tampa Bay area will help relieve a waiting list for local benefits that has been called the worst in the state, federal officials said Friday.

Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue announced during a stop in Tampa that plans are progressing to build the area's second office, where judges decide benefits for disability applicants. If Congress approves the appropriation in March, Astrue estimated the office could be open by September of next year.

Astrue, accompanied by U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, said Tampa's average processing time of 590 days was "in the top of the bottom third" of wait times across the country.

In July, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, said the backlog, then estimated at about three months longer, was "the worst in Florida."

"Given the severity of the disability backlog, this has been the only part of the agency that is on one-for-one replacement hiring now," Astrue said. "This office and others need particularly more support staff."

The General Services Administration will decide the location and plan construction of the office and another that would be built in Tallahassee. The new office's 10 judges would complement Tampa's current 15.

Brown-Waite, who last month was appointed to the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees Social Security and Medicare, has made retirement and disability spending a key component of her time in office.

Her district, which encompasses all or parts of eight counties — including Pasco, Hernando and Citrus — has about 250,000 Social Security beneficiaries, more than any district in the nation, including several states, according to federal statistics from 2007. Residents in her district receive $260 million in monthly benefits.

After Friday morning's visit in Tampa, Brown-Waite and Astrue toured the Social Security district office in Dade City and participated in a Social Security retirement planning computer training class at the Villages in the northern part of the 5th Congressional District.

New Social Security office in Tampa Bay area will tackle backlog of disability claims 02/06/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 6, 2009 6:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Nearly 1 in 4 Tampa Bay homeowners considered equity rich

    Real Estate

    If your home is worth at least 50 percent more than you owe, you're rich — equity rich that is.

    About one in four Tampa Bay homeowners are considered "equity rich." [Associated Press file photo]
  2. Trump strategist Steve Bannon: No military solution in North Korea

    National

    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon says there's no military solution to the threat posed by North Korea and its nuclear ambitions, despite the president's recent pledge to answer further aggression with "fire and fury."

    Steve Bannon, chief White House strategist to President Donald Trump, has drawn fire from some of Trump's closest advisers. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  4. Dunedin man accused of possessing child pornography

    Crime

    DUNEDIN — A 57-year-old man was arrested Wednesday, accused of intentionally downloading child pornography, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

    Richard Beal Anger, 57, of Dunedin faces 11 counts of possession of child pornography. [Courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Pence cuts short Latin America trip and pressures Chile to sever all ties to North Korea

    Politics

    SANTIAGO, Chile — Vice President Mike Pence is cutting short his Latin America trip by one day to return to Washington for a strategy meeting Friday at Camp David with President Donald Trump and the national security team.

    Vice President Mike Pence urged Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to take a tougher stand against North Korea on Wednesday in Santiago, Chile.