The Daily Progress: Opinion/Editorial: Revise SSA application process

THE DAILY PROGRESS

This is such an obvious need that you’d think it would have been taken care of by now.

The Social Security Administration requires applicants to submit personal documents when seeking benefits.

Now, that makes sense: The SSA must make sure the applicants are who they say they are and are not attempting to defraud the government, the taxpayers and the rightful recipients of benefits.

The problem arrived with COVID.

The Social Security Administration shut down many of its offices — but still required applicants to submit original identity documents, generally by mailing them.

We all know how unreliable the U.S. Postal Service has become.

But even if the USPS managed not to lose these important documents in transit, the SSA’s policy forces applicants to go without them for long stretches of time while applications are processed.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger headed a group of lawmakers that has petitioned the SSA to alter its submission policy. Their letter also urged the agency expand a pilot program that makes use of drop boxes, creates express appointments, and utilizes online meetings to expedite the processing of claims.

“SSA should not be forcing people to choose between failing to conduct essential business or going without their driver’s license, birth certificate, or green card,” they said.

Hear, hear.

Hopefully, the SSA will hear — and act — as well.

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