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By, Elliott Andalman

Budget constraints and the current financial crisis will reach down to affect Social Security applicants and recipients starting August 15, 2011, with local offices closing 30 minutes earlier each day in order to avoid overtime costs for Social Security employees and to address budget pitfalls.

Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue announced concerning the shortened hours, “While agency employees will continue to work their regular hours, this shorter public window will allow us to complete face-to-face service with the visiting public without incurring the cost of overtime for our employees.”

Astrue reported the reasons for the shortened hours as relating to budgetary constraints, noting, “Congress provided our agency with nearly $1 billion less than the President requested for our budget this fiscal year, which makes it impossible for us to provide the amount of overtime needed to handle service to the public as we have in the past.”