ICYMI: Hill, Womack, Crawford, Westerman Request Change of Social Security Administration Policy Harming Arkansans

Arkansas Flag

Washington, DC: Congressman French Hill (AR-2), Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3), Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-1), and Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-4) sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Andrew Saul, urging changes to a policy requiring Arkansans to surrender their primary identification documents—such as drivers’ licenses—for as much as thirty days in order to obtain a new copy of their Social Security card. The members are demanding action because Arkansans are being harmed by this policy, which has limited their ability to drive to work or doctor’s appointments and because in some instances these documents have been permanently lost. 

“This current policy is counterproductive to the interests of central Arkansans,” said Congressman Hill. “This is forcing hardworking moms and dads to choose between violating state law and going without working or attending necessary appointments. A driver’s license is necessary for a host of other operations as well, such as picking up vital medications. While it is important to protect our employees during the pandemic, this current policy has already had ramifications that have negatively impacted our community. Our federal agencies must take responsibility to amend this burdensome policy and generate a solution to this problem.”

“Helping Arkansans and providing constituent services is a core function of our offices. Residents have voiced concerns that current Social Security Administration policies are hampering their ability to obtain needed documents without having their day-to-day lives limited,” said Congressman Womack. “By raising the matter, I am hopeful we can responsibly resolve the issue.” 

“Like most employers, executive agencies were forced to quickly implement new telework policies. Unfortunately, a Social Security Administration policy that requires Arkansans to surrender their drivers’ licenses in order to obtain Social Security cards is burdensome, especially for people responsible for transporting themselves and loved ones to essential destinations,” said Congressman Crawford. “I hope the SSA will hear the Arkansas delegation’s pleas for a reasonable policy change and quickly resolve this matter.”

“We’ve all had to make adjustments to our normal routines because of COVID-19, but requiring Arkansans to go for weeks without a driver’s license is untenable,” said Congressman Westerman. “We’re putting people in a difficult decision of having to choose between keeping their ID and receiving a replacement Social Security card, and I’ve already heard from some constituents that this is a problem for them. I’m glad to join my colleagues in raising awareness about this issue, and hope to work with the SSA to find a practical solution.” 

In their letter, the Arkansas members wrote:

Dear Commissioner Saul,

We write to request that you alter a policy of the Social Security Administration (SSA) that forces my constituents to choose between violating the laws of the State of Arkansas or forgo driving themselves to important destinations, such as to work or to the doctor.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the SSA is remote-only in Arkansas. Since the SSA requires that a driver’s license be presented to apply for a replacement Social Security card, SSA officials in Arkansas are requiring individuals to mail their drivers licenses in for processing. While we appreciate the need for caution to protect employees, this requires my constituents to spend weeks without a driver’s license or identification, which is not only inconvenient but in Arkansas it is also illegal to drive without a license on your person. Below are examples of real-life implications of this policy:

  • A constituent married in Summer 2020 needs a Social Security card updated with her married name. She was required to submit the updated card to start her new job as a teacher.
  • A grandmother recently adopted her grandkids, which changed the children’s names. The grandmother must have Social Security cards with the children’s updated names for ARKids insurance renewal. Without the updated Social Security cards, the children will not have health insurance.
  • A recently naturalized U.S. citizen submitted his documents for a new Social Security card to reflect his citizen status. He provided his driver’s license and naturalization certificate and received his Social Security card; however, the SSA office lost his driver’s license and naturalization certificate. The SSA office told the constituent that they cannot track the documents and he must reapply for a naturalization certificate, which costs $500.

We ask that you find a workaround to this problem to ensure Arkansans are not further burdened.

Sincerely, 

French Hill
Member of Congress

Rick Crawford
Member of Congress

Bruce Westerman
Member of Congress

Steve Womack
Member of Congress

Comments are closed.