Harlem Rep. Espaillat Urges Social Security Administration (SSA) To Address Pandemic Backlog

November 22, 2021

Today, Representative Adriano Espaillat sent a letter to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Acting Commissioner.

Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi, applauding the agency’s announcement of re-opening for in-person services, and urging the agency to immediately address backlogged services issues that ensued due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter follows the closure of the more than 1,200 Social Security field offices nationwide, which has negatively impacted services to residents in New York’s 13th congressional district, particularly seniors, low-income residents, residents with housing instability, and persons with disabilities.

“As a result of the nationwide shutdown and office closures, my constituents have been met with numerous challenges accessing vital resources such as retirement insurance, disability insurance and the social safety net, which they rely on. The digital divide, long wait times over the phone, massive backlogs, and the lack of in-person service has led to a 15 percent decrease of SSI applications over the past year, which is deeply concerning considering that many residents rely on these services for their livelihoods and survival,” said Rep. Espaillat.

“Assuring that our seniors are given the resources and care they deserve is a top priority, and it is essential that as we continue to build back from this devastating pandemic, that our seniors, persons with disabilities, and communities of color are not left behind.”

Read Rep. Espaillat’s letter to SSA Acting Commissioner Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi in its entirety here.

Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the northwest Bronx.

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First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.

He is also a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves in a leadership role as the Second Vice Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip.

Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.

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