By Jared Ritz
The Social Security Administration will add a second employee to the Social Security field office in Havre.
The office has been staffed solo by Tom Mathis, a claims representative, since December. Since that time, he has worked 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., wrote a letter to the Social Security Administration last month urging that another employee be hired to help handle the caseload.
"There is a delay in the required processing of the work due to the fact that the single employee rarely finds the necessary uninterrupted time to process work items generated throughout the day," Baucus wrote in the letter to SSA Commissioner Jo Anne Barnhart last month. The office tasks include answering phone inquiries, assisting customers, and completing applications for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Barnhart had wanted to cut the office hours to ease the workload of the lone employee.
"After receiving your letter, I asked for a review of the workloads processed by the Havre and Glasgow field offices. As a result of the review, I have concluded that an additional full-time employee should be assigned to the office in Havre," she said.
Baucus had also asked for a second employee in the Glasgow office but Barnhart has not requested that a second position be created.
The new position at the Havre office is expected to be filled within two months.