Congressional candidate Rory Lancman recently stood in the shadows of a shuttered Social Security office and called for the program to be saved both locally and nationally.
Lancman was joined by colleague Assemblymember Cathy Nolan in front of the closed Social Security office on Myrtle Avenue, which shut its doors last year.
“This closed Social Security office is a brick-and-mortar manifestation of the Republican assault on Social Security in this country for the last 20 years,” said Lancman, who is running for the 6th Congressional District seat.
The assemblymembers called for the reopening of the Glendale facility that served thousands of residents in the surrounding neighborhoods.
The office closed last summer in a money-saving maneuver after cuts to Social Security’s budget. The consolidation of the offices will save the agency approximately $3 million over 10 years.
More than half of the local residents that used the office do not have a car, Lancman said. Residents must now travel to the Rego Park office, which is about 45 minutes away from the Glendale location by public transportation.
During the press conference, area senior citizens gathered to speak about the pitfalls of the Glendale office closing.
“I don’t drive; to go to Rego Park is a nightmare,” said Linda McGrath, who had used the Glendale office. “It’s easier to get to Manhattan than it is to get from here to Rego Park.”
Another retiree, Kathleen Strong of Glendale, added that driving to and parking at the Rego Park branch would be a hassle.
“Congress may think that traveling a few extra miles to access Social Security benefits is no big deal, but the folks in Washington apparently don’t understand that things are a little different here in middle-class Queens neighborhoods like Glendale and Ridgewood,” Nolan said.
Besides calling for the office’s reopening, Lancman outlined what he called a very simple solution to saving Social Security.
“There is a broader assault on Social Security that goes much, much deeper than just the closing of individual offices,” Lancman said.
According to a recent report from the Social Security Board of Trustees, the combined assets of the Social Security Trust Funds (Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance) will be exhausted by 2033.
Lancman said that if elected to Congress, he would champion raising the taxable income cap in order to keep Social Security solvent for the next 75 years.
Currently, only the first $110,100 in income is subject to Social Security taxes, while any income over the threshold is exempt from the tax.
“There was a choice made to cut a billion from the Social Security Administration, then a choice made to cut this Social Security office as opposed to others, and those are the kind of choices that I want to fight against.”