COVID-19, General

SSA is Dedicated to Helping the People We Serve

September 12, 2022 • By

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Last Updated: September 12, 2022

Social Security Administration LogoThere are few, if any, federal agencies that positively impact the lives of the American people to the extent that the Social Security Administration (SSA) does. Millions count on SSA—retirees who worked hard their whole lives, people who are no longer able to work due to disability, and many more. SSA’s programs touch the lives of almost every person in the nation. SSA employees work diligently to ensure that they receive critical benefits and other services, and it is my honor and privilege to lead them in their efforts.

We are nearing the end of the fiscal year (FY). While this past year has not been without its challenges, I’m proud to say that our accomplishments have far exceeded anyone’s expectations.

Like the rest of the world, SSA continues to work its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and adjust to our new reality. We briefly suspended in-person services in our offices in March 2020, though soon resumed to help customers with critical needs, by appointment only, throughout most of the pandemic. Our employees worked hard to maintain services and assist the public, despite not being able to physically work from their offices. Between March 2020 and April 2022, our frontline employees handled more than 168 million calls to our National 800 Number and local Social Security offices across the country. In April 2022, we safely resumed in-person services nationwide for everyone, with or without an appointment.

Our reentry was a clear success. We followed the science and public health guidance to minimize risks to our employees and visitors. We engaged early and often with our employee unions to meet our bargaining obligations. In fact, we were one of the first federal agencies to reach agreements with all our unions on reopening our offices. In addition, we reached 47 mid-term agreements with our labor unions. More recently, we secured collective bargaining agreements with two of our unions and will soon begin renegotiation with our third.

Throughout our reentry, we communicated frequently with our customers, advocate groups, and the media to alert the public that we had resumed in-person service and share our health and safety protocols. Signage placed outside our offices reinforced our protocols and offered alternate ways to get help. By sharing our masking and physical distancing requirements before people visited our offices, we helped set expectations and reduced customer frustration.

Although relatively few of our 1,230 local offices initially experienced long lines, usually early or late in the day, this was primarily caused by the high demand for in-person services in April, at the beginning of reentry. Since then, long lines outside have not been an issue for most of our offices.

Beyond the initial re-entry period, we are taking steps to improve service for customers who do find themselves waiting outside. We provide outdoor canopies and fans when possible, always permit visitors to use our bathrooms and water fountains, and we will begin allowing more people to wait inside, following changes to distancing restrictions. We continue to expand mobile check-in, so we can notify customers on their cell phones when it’s their turn. That way, people who have an alternative place to wait can return to the office when we notify them.

Local SSA offices are doing even more to help customers. Most offices have been offering document drop-boxes, where customers can securely deposit personal information without an appointment. Within 3 days of receipt, in 99.9 percent of offices, documents are sent back to customers through certified mail to allow their delivery to be tracked. Further, many offices assign employees to help people waiting in line by checking that they have the information or documentation they need.

Accessing benefits is critical for millions of households who depend on Social Security, SSI, and other benefits to survive. Beyond our programs, SSA helps recipients and potential applicants get access to, and learn about, other benefits and credits that they might not learn about otherwise.

People who receive SSI are among the most at-risk in the country, and without SSA’s guidance, too many might think that they had to choose which benefits to seek. SSI is a gateway to many benefits, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides financial help to buy food, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), that provides discounted internet service, and Medicaid, a health insurance program for people with little or no income.

Without SSA’s voice, many SSI recipients wouldn’t know that getting SSI automatically makes them eligible for ACP and SNAP. SSA currently works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service and over 3,000 community-based organizations nationwide to increase the number of SSI participants who apply for SNAP.

SSI recipients also might not realize that Economic Impact Payments (EIP) never affect their SSI, or that we only count Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments as a financial resource after 12 months. SSA was among the top three referral sources to the online CTC tool for non-tax filers. Our campaign directly led to an estimated $56 million of tax benefits paid to nearly 16,000 households – and there is still time for traditional non-tax filers to claim the CTC and a missing EIP. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration, and in partnership with Code for America, people who were not required to file a tax return can visit www.childtaxcredit.gov/ssa to claim the CTC.

SSA gives people the information they need to confidently, and successfully, apply for these benefits and credits. This allows people to provide for their families and prevents them from having to choose between food, medicine, clothing, or a roof over their head.

Our employees have worked hard throughout the pandemic to provide the best possible service to people in need. But our efforts have been impeded by insufficient funding. In FY 2022, SSA received $850 million less than President Biden’s budget request. As a result, we were unable to hire the level of staffing needed and had to delay the modernization of some aspects of our legacy information technology system. Without adequate staffing and overtime hours, the backlog in workloads prompted by the pandemic rose. We proactively formed a special operations team to reassign existing staff across the agency to help reduce the backlog. However, we will need sufficient funds in the coming year to ensure we can process all our workloads efficiently.

SSA’s employees have been carrying heavy workloads, given the staffing shortage, and this has weighed on morale. I have visited over 25 offices including local offices, hearings offices, and regional offices to meet and hear directly from managers and staff. These visits included offices in small cities, rural communities, and a tribal reservation that have never received a visit from a commissioner before.

Our goals are for every person who needs our help and who is eligible for SSA benefits to receive them timely and accurately, and for every SSA employee to advance in their chosen career path. We are committed to helping maintain the well-being and protection of the people we serve – older Americans, workers who become disabled, wounded warriors, and families who suffer the loss of a spouse or parent.


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  1. Ozcan A.

    When are you going to allow retired US citizens living in foreign countries to open “my social security” account ?They need access to S/S online more than retirees living in US which there is SS office in every neighborhood.

    Reply
  2. Ed

    I have been very pleased especially during covid that SS offices still kept the wheels going. Not the Vet admin. they are terrible- can SS office take them over ? 🙂 Thank you for getting it right!

    Reply
  3. About C.

    That’s Good, Keep Going!

    Reply
    • Richard M.

      I love my Social Security. You meet my needs. Thank you11

      Reply
  4. Marcia J.

    I apply for SSI and from last year and no one would look into my case when you are poor life is a hard road to travel

    Reply
    • Nan P.

      Look around for someone to represent you. We don’t paid unless and until we win our claimants case. Don’t give up!
      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  5. Debra H.

    I need help! I live in Memphis. I need someone to review my case. Our local Social Security office have not been able to assist me. According to them, they have tried. The “system”, keeps kicking me out for payments. I have received 4 payments this month. One was a “critical” payment. My Medicare premiums are behind I am receiving no checks. They say I owe a balance, but why can it not be taken out of the back payments I’m owed? I’m so
    tired an my bill need to be paid! Please assign me someone with authority to help me. I’m going to lose my house, etc.please give me a name so that I can explain.

    Reply
    • Nan P.

      Find someone who handles Ss disability/SSI. There are definitely things they can do to help. And, yes, payments can be taken out of your monthly check. Hope this helps.

      Reply
      • Lisa

        Not as simple as stated

        Reply
    • Lisa

      I feel your pain and frustration. I do not agree with the comments made here from acting commissioner. My ongoing personal struggles and mis information from SSA has been a nightmare to say the least. It has been horrific. I have been belittled ignored treated in an argumentative manner then labeled as the offensive argumentative one. I have been subjected to humiliation, rudeness and deliberately led into conversations that ended in my not obtaining the information I requested. Have had my file misplaced, evidence and appeals lost or never received. I have been passed around from case worker to case worker that stalls my claim. I found to my dismay… important forms necessary are not online for public to print and can only get them from dept. SSA,but there is no accountability of when or if they get the form needed. This has affected my filing in timely manner which is another fight I have to prove.. that my filing was on time per instruction of SSA but they misplaced my appeal refused to return my calls tgen after the 6 month period passed sent my form and had the gaul to time stamp my return of it as if it was my filing that caused the denial due untimely filing. How do I as just a public entity that they serve suppose to hold them accountable? SSA is awful… when it cones to the fine lines and legality of claims. They want you to give up. Don’t give up and don’t accept this robo response. We are not robots and need exactly who they are referring you to call for help.

      Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Debra. Thanks for visiting our blog. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We encourage you to continue to work with your local Social Security office. You can ask to speak to a manager on your next call or visit. In the meantime, we have referred your concerns to our Operations Staff. We hope this is resolved soon. 

      Reply
      • Autumn L.

        Is there any news for many of us who are barely getting by with $988 a month from SSDI and with everything going up in costs? Like myself I only can receive $117 in SNAP benefits and by the time I pay my monthly bills. There is nothing to live on and that $117 doesn’t get hardly anything at the grocery stores these days. Every time we get a CODA raise it’s taken away from us in SNAP and Medicare takes the raise as well.

        Reply
  6. Mrs. M.

    Please be advised,

    My tenure with Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of Hearings Operations (OHO), from July 8, 2007 to September 9, 2019.

    I’m retired by Office of Personnel Management (OPM) 🙂

    I have my VetFriends Lifetime Membership ID card.
    VA VIC ID card.
    Veteran’s of Cook County IL Military Discount ID card.

    I’m a part of SSA Identity Protection Program (IPP).
    I’m a part of OPM IDX Credit Monitoring (fake emails from imposters).

    My journey to earlyout retirement, the rest is history!

    Reply
  7. Diane m.

    Ssi is RIPPING ME OFF clams I owe 25,000 When ssi sent me 4 different amount statements 7,990 to the 25,000 l sent 50.00 per month Im almost 60 it’s gonna years to pay them off. I told ssi to stop payments 4 times in one years even went in. and they still gave me payments this should be my Debt.

    Reply
    • Nan P.

      Diane, find someone who represents claimants (like you) before Social Security.
      There are several things they can do to help you, or at least several things I can think of that I do for my clients.
      Hope this helps.😊

      Reply
  8. Nan W.

    I wish you’d visited field offices in Louisiana. They are not what they used to be and my claimants are suffering for it.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Ohio too

      Reply
  9. CONNIE M.

    I NEED TO REPORT THE DEATH OF MY HUSBAND. I WAITED ON THE PHONE FOR OVER AN HOURS. PLEASE MAKE THE REPORT AVAILABLE ON LINE. I WOULD USE IT.

    Reply
    • Nan P.

      Did you call 1-800-772-1213? Try calling your local office. Also, check with funeral home, I think they have to report it to SS. Hope this helps.

      Reply
      • Lisa

        Lol

        Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Connie. We are sorry to hear about your loss and your experience.  Typically, the funeral director notifies us directly to report a death. To verify, you can contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

       

       

      Reply
  10. Dan

    I have been on SSDI since April 2019. I’m not sure of the official retirement age. I turn 65 in November. Do my SSDI payments convert to standard SS at that point? If so, when will that happen and do I lose any benefit status? I am dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare (I have coverage with Simply Health Medicare Advantage – DSNP.)

    Reply
    • betty, i.

      dan, official retirement depends on YEAR you were born; check their site for that info since you didn’t say what year you were born.

      YES, you will receive same amount of $$ that ssdi gives you now when you reach your retirement age.

      that’s the way it happened for me; just passing that along.

      i don’t know answers of your other questions.

      Reply
      • dan

        Thank you, betty! I was born in 1957

        Reply
    • Nan P.

      Dan, if you’re on SSDI, then don’t worry about retirement age bc your disability will automatically convert to retirement benefits when u hit retirement age. Hope this helps.

      Reply
      • Dan

        Thank you, Nan! I was born in 1957.

        Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Dan. Thanks for visiting our blog. When you reach full retirement age, we will automatically convert your disability benefits to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same. We hope this helps. 

      Reply
      • Lisa

        So Dan…. disability although not your retirement savings acct paid into by your employer and you is basically moot according to SSA rules. You can not have both. Is this ok? Absolutely not, but neither was borrowing from baby boom gen and not replacing the funds and the interest list. It is part if why SSA is not solvent fir the future. Mis handling of monies tgat were not the govts to begin with and still are not. No accountability

        Reply
      • Dan

        Thank you, Ann C.!

        I checked the link. Since I was born in 1957, my full retirement age is 66 and 6 months.

        This is where I get confused. I can start my Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but the benefit amount I receive will be less than my full retirement benefit amount.

        Will my SSDI increase to what my full SS retirement should be at age 66 and 6 months? Or, am I limited to what I receive now since I started SSDI in 2019?

        Reply
        • Maryellen

          Dan,

          When you ( or anyone) is found disabled – SSA pays at your full retirement age amount. Once you reach your full retirement age (66 and 6 mths), your disability claim turns automatically over to a retirement claim. The amount of money you receive each month stays the same. The only difference is now you will be considered to be retired instead of disabled and if you want and/or if you are able to start working again there is no limits on how much you can make once you hit your full retirement age and you claim turns into a retirement claim. Hope this helps you.

          Reply

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