The Social Security Administration has made its intention known that it is considering shuttering the Apache Junction Social Security office and moving more than 20 miles away, to the town of Gilbert. Such a move is entirely unacceptable to citizens of Apache Junction that depend on a conveniently located facility.
For the past several months I have been in regular contact with the Social Security Administration expressing my strong opposition to any proposed closure of the Apache Junction Social Security office.
The Apache Junction location serves some of the most at-need retirees of greater Phoenix and a move of this type to a building 20 miles away represents an undue burden on these retirees, many of whom need to use public transportation to visit Social Security offices in person.
Apache Junction and areas on the east end of Greater Phoenix remain some of the largest growth areas for retirees. A move to Gilbert would represent a hardship on my constituency for years to come.
The move makes even less sense when considering the simple cost approach of this potential relocation. Currently, the SSA occupies 13,500 square feet in Apache Junction and has already paid more than $1 million in improvement costs into the location since its lease inception in 2005. Average lease rates for office space in Gilbert are $23.06 per square foot. Meanwhile, Apache Junction has an office-space average of $17.95 per square feet, or more than 25% lower than Gilbert. Additionally, none of this includes the additional tenant improvements that SSA would need to pay when it abandons its space in Apache Junction for the location in Gilbert.
The SSA’s consideration to move this facility is clearly unacceptable from either a cost or user standpoint. I will continue to work with the Pinal County Board of Supervisors to prevent this hardship from occurring. SSA must not ignore the needs of existing retirees in Apache Junction. I stand ready to work with them to ensure the Social Security office is kept at its current location to ensure my constituents who rely on Apache Junction to receive the help they need and rightly expect.
Editor’s note: U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S., Arizona District 4, can be reached at AZ04.Requests@mail.house.gov. His website is gosar.house.gov.