LUBBOCK, Texas – Many community members braved the heat for hours outside of the Social Security Administration Building. Most, waiting for hours as the building only allows 14 people inside at a time.
“I think it’s very inconsiderate and I think they should take the necessary measures to provide us with some kind of shelter. I mean, we’re already standing together out here, what’s the difference between being crowded out here and being inside?” said John Buentello who was already waiting in line for 45 minutes.
Many residents attempted to make it out to the office several times before.
“Today is day three of trying to get my name changed from being married.
I’m super grateful because I’m physically able to stand in this heat for that long but we have already seen a couple elderly people here that are obviously struggling,” said Ashley Sharp who waited approximately two hours to be seen.
Community members have waited in temperatures in the upper 90s outside of the building.
“About an hour and fifteen minutes in the line and into waiting, there was a lady that they wheeled over to load up in an ambulance that had fainted in line because it was very hot that day,” said Donna Bowels, who had waited in line a previous day.
Individuals in line expressed their concerns over the vulnerable community waiting for hours in the heat.
“People have their babies with them, they start crying because they’re uncomfortable, I don’t know if they’ve had a heat stroke or not, but they’re going to and there’s a lot of elderly people like myself that have to come out here and stand in line,” said Kie Worthy.
The Social Security Administration offers several tips to ensure a smooth process time. They remind individuals to schedule appointments online or on the phone beforehand. They also remind people that services can be done online, to find a full list of online services you can visit their website here. If someone needs to replace their Social Security card, they may be able to request one online at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber/.
Sarah Scultz-Lackey, Regional Communications Director for the Social Security Administration said in a statement,
Given that many of the people we serve have health vulnerabilities, and consistent with our union agreements, we are continuing to require certain safety measures including masking, physical distancing, and self-health checks for COVID-19 symptoms.
Our offices, including the Lubbock Office, have drop boxes available to drop off documents and evidence. We are also providing access to restrooms and water fountains for people waiting in line.
To visit the Social Security Administration website you can click here.