Hugo city leaders appeal to Social Security Admin. to reconsider office closure

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HUGO, OKLAHOMA -- The Social Security Administration is closing a Texoma office, citing federal budget cuts and less foot traffic as reasons for the closure.

Allison Harris spoke with Hugo city leaders who are appealing this closure, saying it's undue and will be a burden for people in the area.

Hugo city leaders are concerned that southern Oklahomans will be deprived access to social security support.

City manager Jeff Rabon says the Social Security Administration is closing its Hugo office in June, consolidating it with the Paris office.

Rabon says he learned about the closure through a newspaper article.

"You know, we all breathe the same air, to quote President Kennedy, 'We pay the same taxes;' we don't want to see any services diminished."

Hugo city council drafted a resolution last week, appealing to the administration, saying the closure, "would pose an onerous, undue and harsh burden upon them."

The consolidation would force many elderly people in the area to either go online for social security help, or drive further -- by up to 85 miles -- to the Paris office.

"We feel like it's our responsibility to represent the people of our area to say, wait a minute, you know, we already struggle for access to services as it is; it's either Durant or to McAlester or, you know, Oklahoma City or Tulsa," Rabon said.

We spoke with an employee at the Hugo office who says many of their clients don't have access to the Internet, nor the resources to drive further to the Paris office.

"A lot of them don't even know how to use a computer. They're very upset over it, they say, 'what are we going to do without this?' You know, gasoline is expensive," Donna Forbus with the Hugo office said.

"It's hard to substitute an actual office that you can look at, go to, be there," Rabon said.

We reached out to social security's office in Paris, but were unable to get in touch with someone for comment.

Rabon says Hugo city leaders have also not heard back from the Social Security Administration.

"Our door's open, our lines of communication are open. We want to exercise those. We want to give the social security administration officials every benefit of the doubt, say, let's talk about how we can take another look at this," Rabon said.

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