The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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September 12, 2013

Pittsburg Social Security office to close

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Effective at the close of business on Friday, Nov. 15, the Pittsburg office of the Social Security Administration, 801 S. Broadway, will cease operations.

According to Jewell Colbert, regional communications director for the Kansas City region of which the Pittsburg office is a part, it is closing “because Congress significantly cut Social Security’s administrative budget.”

“No employee will lose his or her job as a result of this consolidation, and there is adequate space to accommodate all of our customers and reassigned employees at the Joplin office,” he said.

The office has 12 full-time employees.

Colbert said residents and organizations in Allen, Bourbon, Cherokee, Crawford, Linn and Neosho counties in Kansas will be able to obtain services from the Social Security office at 4102 S. Arizona Ave. in Joplin, Mo. That office is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays.

Among the services the Pittsburg office has provided are assisting residents in applying for retirement benefits; processing disability claims and widow and child benefits; name changes in cases of marriages, divorces and adoptions; processing tax withholdings; and enforcing child support garnishment orders issued by the state.

Between 400 and 500 international students, researchers and scholars at Pittsburg State University also will be affected, according to Aaron Hurt, international admission coordinator.

“Immigration requires they only work on campus — not off campus unless it is part of an internship or academic training,” Hurt said. “If a student does get on-campus employment, they are required to have a Social Security number. Until it’s issued, they can’t work.

“At least once a day or every other day, we’re sending someone to that office for a number.”

Hurt said traveling to Joplin will be “a real inconvenience for them, because many don’t have cars and they can’t get general transportation for that kind of distance.”

Toll-free

JEWELL COLBERT, a regional Social Security official, said that increasingly, an office visit no longer is necessary for most people to conduct business. He said the public may use the Social Security Administration’s national toll free number at 800-772-1213 or visit www.socialsecurity.gov, which has a growing number of choices for electronic services.

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