General, Online Services

Help us Create Open Government Plan 4.0

February 18, 2016 • By

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Last Updated: August 19, 2021

Business Gears and Success

Social Security is always looking for ways to enhance your access to our information.  We are preparing to publish our fourth Open Government Plan in June. Your input regarding ways to improve our programs and services is invaluable. Our last plan, published in 2014, reflected our commitments to transparency and outlined our efforts. In our 4.0 plan, you will find the milestones from our previous plans as well as our strategies moving forward.

Do you have any suggestions for making our data more transparent? Do you have any bold and innovative ideas for using open government techniques and principles to help improve our services?? Do you know of other federal agencies Social Security should work with, or any initiatives we should consider?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, we want to hear from you as we create our Open Government 4.0 Plan!

We encourage you to share your ideas on how we can improve our transparency, participation, and collaboration through our Open Government Plan 4.0 Feedback Process. Once there, you can review our last Open Government Plan and take part in the conversation for the next one!

Social Security is committed to providing you with world-class service. Your feedback is vital to our success. After all, who knows what you need better than you? Share your ideas today!

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About the Author

Ruby Burrell, Chief Strategic Officer, Social Security Administration

Ruby Burrell, Chief Strategic Officer, Social Security Administration


  1. Darlene o.

    Do away with the sensitive instructions in POMS so that the public has access to all Social Security policy instructions given to Social Security employees.

    • John O.

      If you do away with sensitive portions of the POMs then the public still does not have access to all information. Nothing is gained.

    • Spring

      What do you consider sensitive instructions in POMS? Isn’t POMS guidance for state and local government positions? Are you applying that guidance to non governmental entities?

  2. Ray K.

    I paid taxes on all my income while working and contributing to Social Security. Now that I am retired, and drawing Social Security, why am I paying taxes again on some of my earnings? This is double taxation. Why can’t my earnings NOT be taxed until I reached the total of my contributions?

    • John O.

      You may not have to pay any taxes ifthe sum of your adjusted gross income, nontaxable interest and half of your Social Security benefit tops $25,000 for individuals and $32,000 for couples, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your Social Security benefit. And if these retirement income sources top $34,000 for individuals and $44,000 for couples, up to 85 percent of your Social Security payments may be taxable. No workers pay income tax on 100 percent of their Social Security retirement benefit under current law. “Increasingly, more people will be paying because the thresholds that are being used are not adjusted for inflation or changes in average wages,”

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question, Ray. Everyone working in covered employment or self-employment regardless of age or eligibility for benefits must pay Social Security taxes. Also, some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits. For further income tax questions, you will need to contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040.

  3. Howard B.

    My suggestion is for you to try to reach as many people as possible with your crucial message. Every citizen with an email or message account should receive your information.** Some unconventional means might be useful also…for youngsters…how about a SS game or challenge? How about billboards? more TV ads? …and thanks for a great job!

    ** receiving info should be automatic; signup *not* required

    • Ray F.

      Thanks for sharing your ideas, Howard! We value your thoughts and will use your suggestions to explore how we can further improve the services we offer. We try hard to provide the best possible service to our customers and your satisfaction is our reward. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

  4. emma l.

    it is great to know that i can get answers to my question with just a click away.

    • Ray F.

      Thanks for your feedback, Emma. We appreciate you doing business with us online. We also recommend that you create a my Social Security account, which allows you to review your earnings record, get estimates of your future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits, and show you the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid.

  5. E.Merrill

    I think Social Security should be for people that have paid into the program and not be used by others as what we are being given from Social Security is insufficient for living expenses and maintaining our home.

    • John O.

      SS is for people who have either paid in or their spouse or parents paid in. No one else gets a nickel. You payment is based upon your work history and is meant to only supplement other pensions or savings.

  6. Shari S.

    Why does the government have to take taxes out of SS checks? At one time, they didn’t. Even with two retirement checks, I’m not sure how I am going to live and keep my house.

    • John O.

      Tax withholding is voluntary. If you get a big refund from the IRS you might consider adjusting or stopping your withholding.

    • Ray F.

      Hi Shari. Some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits.

  7. Antonio G.

    Can SS simplify registering or opening an account for new applicants? I have unsuccessfully tried twice. How can I do it? Thank you.

    • Robo

      Go into your local SSA office with your ID and they will set it up for you.

  8. Antonio G.

    Can SS simplify Registering or opening an account? I have unsuccessfuly tried twice. Thank you.
    My name is Antonio S Garcia US Army, RetiredL

    • John O.

      When you or your parents apply for a SS number for you an account is established. I don’t know what other account you are referring to.

    • Robo

      Go into your local SSA office with your ID and they will set it up for you.

      He is talking about an online MySSA account.

    • Ray F.

      Hello Antonio. If you are having difficulties with your personal my Social Security account, please call 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. After you hear “Briefly tell me why you are calling,” say “Help Desk” for help with a my Social Security account. Sometimes, it might be best to visit your local Social Security office for further assistance.

  9. Anita C.

    I would like to know why we can’t raise the top of social security so every dime that people make pay all their money into the fund? I think this would fix the Social Security money problems! Is the top 19500.00?

    • John O.

      The maximum earnings being taxed is part of the formula used to max out payments. If there is no cap on the taxes, there’d be no cap on the payouts. A wealthy person could draw 10’s of thousands each month and that would not solve any money problems.

      • Ron J.

        I see no reason why the cap on payments and payouts have to be related. I think there should be no cap on payments and a cap on the salary used to calculate Payouts at $100,000.00 in 2016 dollars. If I am making more than that and can’t put some in a private retirement acct I need a financial advisor.

    • Lisashowers

      I want my SS information private I worked for my money and if you share I want to know everything and everyone who wants to gain my information no matter who it is .
      This is my right …DO NOT SHARE MY INFO.

      Lisa Snowers 2.28.20

  10. Collyn

    Just keep my info private. I hope Open doesn’t mean the whole internet can read it.

    • jazz

      yeah, like uof memphis…lol. WORLD READABLE share drive….

Comments are closed.