By MEGAN MOSELEY
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Hawaii Island resident Tijuana Bolkeim said she was disappointed when she had to leave the Hilo Hawaii Social Security office Friday empty-handed.
Bolkeim arrived at the 111 E. Puainako St. Suite 710 location in hopes of applying for a new Social Security card for her young daughter Amy Leer, but quickly found out that wasn’t going to happen. Due to the federal government shutdown that has been ongoing since Monday, Social Security field offices throughout the nation are offering limited services, which don’t include issuing new or replacement Social Security cards.
“I just wish I would have known they couldn’t help me ahead of time,” Bolkeim said. “It was a waste of gas and time coming all the way down here. The whole thing is kind of upsetting.” she said.
Bolkeim is among many being turned away for multiple services currently canceled until the shutdown comes to an end. Along with not being able to replace Social Security cards, the Hilo Hawaii Social Security office along with other Social Security offices will not be replacing Medicare cards or issuing any proof of income letters.
Representatives from the Honolulu Social Security Office said with limited funding, the offices have had to cut back on what services they can provide and focus mainly on dealing with Social Security payments.
In the meantime, people like Bolkeim and Leer are left with no other option but to wait.
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Services that are available
1. Helping apply for benefits
2. Assisting in requesting an appeal
3. Changing address or direct deposit information
4. Accepting reports of death
5. Verifying or changing citizenship status
6. Replacing a lost or missing Social Security payment
7. Issuing a critical payment
8. Changing representative payee
9. Processing a change in living arrangement or income (SSI recipients only)
Services that are temporarily on hold
1. Issuing new or replacement Social Security cards
2. Replacing Medicare cards
3. Issuing a proof of income letter