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Social Security offices to close earlier starting Nov. 19

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U.S. Social Security field offices will close 30 minutes earlier starting Nov. 19 because of cuts in federal funding.

Field offices, which are now open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, will close at 3 p.m. under the plan. Additionally, as of Jan. 2, offices will close to the public at noon on Wednesdays.

The north country has Social Security field offices in Watertown, at 156 Bellew Ave. S., and in Ogdensburg, at 101 Ford St.

Reduced federal funding provided by Congress to the agency for the first six months of the fiscal year has made it impossible to pay workers for overtime hours, spokesman John Shallman said.

“Because employees can now only work during the given hours of the day, we had to cut back on the number of hours they see the public to maintain services,” Mr. Shallman said.

In addition, field offices will be closed to the public Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving, to reduce backlogged work.

Most of the agency’s services are available at its website, www.socialsecurity.gov, or over the telephone at 1 (800) 772-1213. Services include applying for retirement, disability or Medicare benefits, signing up for direct deposit, replacing Medicaid cards, acquiring a proof of income letter and changing an address.

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