More than 60,000 people in South Mississippi get Social Security checks each month from the Gulfport office. By early next year, those checks will be administered from a new location.
A $1.2 million office is under construction on Three Rivers Road in Gulfport. The agency will move from the Bancorp South building in downtown Gulfport.
Employees of the Social Security office say they couldn't wait to break ground on their new office. Since the workers serve a multi-county area, they say they needed to be closer to Highway 49 and Interstate 10.
"We'll be a little more centrally located to all of our service area from Hancock to Stone to Pearl River County," employee Rebecca Collin said. "I think it will be a little easier for people to come here and have a parking place."
A lack of parking is just one the complaints employees get from clients about the downtown location. Another complaint is that office is on the fourth floor. Since many Social Security recipients have disabilities, and that can make dealings at the downtown office difficult.
"That building very good building. We've had good relations with them but people just being able to walk in the front door versus having to take the elevator or the stairs will be much better for the public," district manager Steve Helms said.
Since the Social Security office will be the only tenant in the new building clients don't have to worry about taking a wrong turn into restricted areas which sometimes happens now.
"Mixed in with Social Security we have an element of Federal Court and with the high security we have today it makes it hard for citizens looking for Social services to get into that building," Gulfport Mayor Ken Combs said.
Employees at the new Social Security office will have twice the space when it is completed in February.