Budget reductions are forcing a reduction in hours at Social Security offices around Maine.

The agency said offices will now close at 3:30 p.m. daily, a half-hour ahead of the previous closing time.

The agency said that the reduction in hours is needed after Congress cut nearly $1 billion from the budget requested by President Obama.

Social Security workers will continue to work the same number of hours, but the earlier closing means they can finish their work with the public without running into overtime.

The agency also noted that many routine services, such as applying for benefits, signing up for direct deposit, replacing a Medicare card, obtaining a proof of income letter or filing a change of address or a telephone number can be done online at www.socialsecurity.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778).