Video Conferencing Brings Social Security Services Back To West Hawai’i Civic Center

A video conferencing service launched today is connecting West Hawai’i residents with the nearest Social Security office – a two-hour drive away. The service, provided by the Social Security Administration, AARP volunteers, and the County of Hawai’i, will allow most people to conduct their Social Security business without making the trip to Hilo.
A video conferencing service launched today is connecting West Hawai'i residents with the nearest Social Security office – two hours away in Hilo

A video conferencing service launched today is connecting West Hawai’i residents with the nearest Social Security office – two hours away in Hilo

 After the Social Security Kona satellite office was closed last year, West Hawai’i residents who needed direct assistance had to make the four hour round trip drive to Hilo to get answers to their questions and handle routine business, such as ordering a duplicate Social Security card.
Coordination between the Social Security Administration, AARP Hawai’i, the Hawai’i Executive Office on Aging’s Sage PLUS program, the office of Senator Mazie Hirono, the County of Hawai’i Department of Information Technology, and the office of Mayor Billy Kenoi made this service possible to serve the needs of the West Hawai’i community.
The video conferencing will be held the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the West Hawai’i Civic Center. No appointments are necessary. On a first come first served basis, constituents are escorted into a room to chat privately over a secure connection with a Social Security representative in the Hilo office.
“Social Security simply does not have enough manpower to provide the services. We’re happy to partner with Social Security to provide the services and make it available to the community on this side of the island,” said Ken Guerra, an AARP volunteer who was among those manning the site today. “Without this service, people would have to make the drive to Hilo. It’s a major inconvenience, a long drive. With this, they can just come to the West Hawai’i Civic Center and connect immediately with the office.”
Maureen McIntyre, who just moved to Kona from New Hampshire, needed to order a replacement Social Security card in order to get her Hawai’i driver license. She was directed from the driver license office just a few yards away in the West Hawai’i Civic Center to the Social Security video conferencing room. “I’ve never lived in a place where all the offices were located in one spot. It just makes it so much easier to get plugged into a new community. This is fabulous.”

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