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Social Security Administration tries to balance online, in-person services

Social Security Administration tries to balance online, in-person services

A push to expand online services at the Social Security Administration is meeting resistance from a federal union that represents thousands of agency employees and groups that fear the effort will minimize face-to-face help for seniors and the disabled.

Tucked into an otherwise uncontroversial planning document released by the Woodlawn-based agency this week were recommendations to increase the use of Internet-based self-service sites and to rely more heavily on video conferencing instead of in-person hearings to determine whether a claimant is eligible for benefits.

Social Security officials said the plan is intended to steer the agency toward the type of online service...

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