Thursday, February 28 2013, 12:46 PM CST
New Social Security office hours causing anger in Beaumont
BEAUMONT - By Megan Dillard - If you have business with the Social Security office, you will no longer be able to address it on Wednesday afternoons.
KFDM learned the Social Security Administration building off Dishman in Beaumont has new hours.
And many people are not happy.
KFDM sat outside the closed office Wednesday afternoon for about an hour.
The reaction from everyone who drove through the parking lot was the same.
This was the scene at the office off Dishman and Major in Beaumont.
An empty parking lot during hours in which most government offices are open.
This was the pattern.
People would drive up and park, walk up to the building, and try both doors.
They'd realize the doors were locked, then they'd scan the windows to find out why.
Next, eyes would land on this sign.
It explains on Wednesdays, the office now closes at noon instead of 3 p.m. like the other business days during the week.
This Woodville couple drove about an hour to file benefits.
They too tried the door, then stood side by side and took in the news.
Jane Sanders says, "They are here to serve the public, and they get paid for serving the public. Their hours should be more conducive to the public and be convenient for them."
KFDM also spoke with Doris Brown who drove in from out of town to file for benefits.
"It would've been nice if I'd known ahead of time. I wouldn't have driven all the way out here. I came from Lumberton and that's a lot of gas to drive all the way out here and not know that they were closed. I wouldn't have wasted the gas, especially with the way gas prices are going up."
KFDM reached out to the Social Security office.
A woman who works in media relations in the Dallas office gave us this statement.
The reduction in hours is quote "to allow employees to continue interviews without using overtime."
The interviews are between people who work at the office and those who come in the apply for benefits.
The spokesperson explained the office did inform the public in three ways. She says the information was put in local newspapers, it was posted on the doors at the Social Security office, and employees also hung notices in the lobby.
KFDM reached out to The Beaumont Enterprise to find out whether the paper ran a story or ad with this information.
People who work for the paper explained that couldn't be confirmed without the name of the company who filed the ad.
The Social Security office spokesperson said she didn't have that information.
KFDM asked the representative whether the changes in hours was to save money, or for budget reasons.
Each question prompted the same response; "to allow employees to continue interviews without using overtime."
The new hours took effect January 2.
The office is now open for a total of 27 hours a week, which by Texas law is less than the amount required for employees to earn overtime.
Normally, employees earn overtime after working more than 40 hours a week.
Stay with KFDM. We will continue to investigate.