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TOP STORY: Decorah's Social Security office is in danger of being closed

Posted: Mon, Sept 2, 2019 4:35 PM

Will Decorah's Social Security Administration office on Washington Street be closed in the not-so-distant future?

City of Decorah officials say it's a real possibility, based on a meeting they had recently with regional Social Security officials.  At the meeting, the city officials were told the office, which is now open from 9:00 a.m. until noon Mondays through Fridays, would be replaced by a "video interview service" once the remaining Decorah employee retires.

Waterloo District Manager Gerald Nelson tells that SSA is in the "early stages" of the process and has not made any decisions.  But City of Decorah officials tell a different story--that the Social Security Administration wants to close the Decorah office.  Regional Social Security officials in Kansas City have not yet responded to a request for comments.

Decorah Mayor Lorraine Borowski says she is in the process of writing a letter to be sent to Senator Charles Grassley, Senator Joni Ernst and Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer, asking them for help in persuading the Social Security Administration it doesn't make sense to close an office in a regional hub like Decorah.

If the office in Decorah is closed, it would be replaced by a video terminal through which people with Social Security questions could speak with someone at the Waterloo District offices.  However, the Social Security Administration would have to find a place in Decorah willing to host the terminal--and so far, none have volunteered.  That's due in large part to the fact that the host location would not be paid for having the terminal, nor for helping Social Security recipients with any questions.

Borowski says there's been no final word about when the changes could be made, but it's possible they could happen at the end of this year or in the spring of next year.  In the meantime, Decorah officials will be ramping up their lobbying efforts on behalf of saving the Social Security office.