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 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. Ruby C.

    How do I qualify? for CTC if am on SSI without kids that are of a young age

  2. Lucille G.

    I dont think it was right that they kicked me off of my snap benifits in dec 2021 because they said i was going to get like 90. more come jan 22 for that cola. How about that my medicare went up to 170.00 from 148.00. Not to mention how everything went sky high. The snap program did NOT want to hear it..

  3. Nedia R.

    I have been through alot and because of my health and depression I am unable to work after the discriminated and retaliation which was done to me. My social security disability appeal is not helping me when I was targeted by union rep and Staterbros EEO and HR and managers which because of my complaint and grievances was put out of my job for no reason. This was retaliation and discriminated against me and fraud was done by UFCW1167 and Staterbros EEO which discriminated against me. I have asked for help from DFEH I was ignored. I had an appeal with the NLRB and General appeal Counse instead of helping me the NLRB misconduct by Elicia Watts and Mark Arbesfeld dismiss my appeal and case 21-CB-285835 base on fraud done by UFCW1167 and Staterbros EEO and HR and managers committed fraud on me stating the fraud that I had health issue and that I was put on approve LOA which is fraud and falsify information on me my Unemployment was contested because if Staterbros EEO and HR that falsify information and discriminated against me with UFCW1167. On my appeal they went along with this fraud and falsify information and discrimination. I have been through hell and had harm and mental health problems which was done by employer Staterbros and EEO and managers and UFCW1167. I also was threaten and call by Raymond Hankins which Elicia Watts gave my phone number to Raymond Hankins to itimidated and threaten me and blocked my email preventing me to asked to speak to Jennifer Abruzzo which is charge of employees rights and is in charge of NLRB employee. I send my Constituent form to Congressman Raul Ruiz office and made several complaints to General appeal Counsel but no one has help me with all the abuse that was done to me. I also made my complaint to President Joe Biden and to Katie Porter. I have put my appeal for social security disability appeal and August 2021 my case was not looked into to including my medical and mental health problems which was cause by Staterbros and UFCW1167 for failing to protect my rights with discrimination and retaliation and wages, increase and medical benefits. .I am in need of help and have been through alot and despair. I asked for help and hope that Staterbros EEO and HR and managers and UFCW1167 be held accountable for their actions and wrongdoing and I asked EDd fraud department to look into the fraud and falsify information that was done by EEO that works for Staterbros HR which committed fraud and NLRB EliciaWatts as well for instead of holding UFCW1167 which I pay ever week my union fees hold union rep which went along with this fraud be held accountable. I like for Jennifer Abruzzo look into the misconduct that Elicia Watts and Mark Arbesfeld for ignoring the fraud that the union did nothing to help me with all if my grievances including discriminated against me by managers from Staterbros not promoted me and gave new hires the promotions that I have 30 years experience and union rep know all that was done to me did nothing to get my medical benefits and increase and promotions another benefits. I have asked for help from 2019 and still it seems like my complaint and grievances were ignored and swept under the rug. I was also discriminated by Staterbros EEO and managers and union rep on a right hand disability which I had since 1999.My right hand disability never stopped me from doing my job at Staterbros for 2years After all of this and what my mental and emotional problems are still have noone has help me and this has cause me health and mental anquish and depression. I am asking for this to be investigated including social security disability appeal which the Judge did not look into my medical and just deny me.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Nedia. We are sorry to hear about your condition and situation. Unfortunately, your concerns are a bit more complex than we can handle in this forum. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. You can also contact your local Social Security office. You can ask to speak to a manager on your next call or visit. We hope this helps.

  4. Terry J.

    My Down Syndrome brother has Medicare and an APO of AARP for secondary insurance so, my question is Tracy able to have medical bills paid by SSI because he is low income. I have saved his bills. May he have help from SSI for his bills?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Terry Jean. Thanks for visiting our blog. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based disability program that pays benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. Blind or disabled children may also get SSI. For more information and to see how to apply, please visit our Supplemental Security Income page. If you have specfic questions, please call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  5. Kathleene P.

    You mentioned that you were short on staff. I am mainly interested in someone answering the phone. I am interested in such a job. Just having someone take your call and can refer you to the correct department would mean the world to some. I am mainly talking about retired persons that require no federal benefits (they have their own. How about focusing on unused talent of retired people.
    Just a thought!🤔

  6. Sean T.

    They serve selectively, I had my retirement for 3 months , some fool suspension my retirement saying I am in a prison wtf how can I be in prison and visit the office,? Then they said I can’t love be in a shared housing where I have roommates wtf it’s my retirement it’s not there business where I live , and now a appeal I I did at a office and no one seems to help, I here you can’t even sue them

  7. Crystal B.

    My 16-year-old minor son and myself, his mother, have been to the Belleville Social security office to apply for a replacement card for him. The first time we went on July 20th. I have USPS informed mail which means a picture of your mail gets sent to your email. My local post office said that with informed delivery, it can take anywhere from 3 to 5 days after the image shows up in your email for it to actually arrive at your mailbox. I got an email on July 28th saying that his card was coming to my mailbox soon. I never received the card but I got all the other mail that was on my informed delivery. So as frustrated as we were, my son and I went back to the same Social security office and told them what happened. We applied for another replacement card on August 19. I received another email on August 26th saying that his replacement card would be in my mailbox soon. **Meanwhile I had put all my mail on hold at the post office because of what happened the first time, I did this because the post office said that might help** I went to the post office to go pick up all my mail and everything that was in my informed delivery was there except for his Social security card. He just wants his license. It has been a month now and we are still waiting. I have no idea what to do now. Any thoughts? I cannot imagine pulling him out of school again to go to Social security office for the same thing to happen again. You can’t do anything for a minor like that online. Please help, thank you sorry it’s so long but I had to explain what happened.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Crystal. We are sorry to hear abour your experience. We encourage you to continue working with your local Social Security office. You can ask to speak to a supervisor on your next call or visit. We hope this is resolved soon. 

  8. Staci W.

    Those with multiple head injuries from violent assaults over the years and other causes including a depressed skull fracture when I was 10 yrs. old. The problems I have everyday ARE a reality to me, NOT just excuses why I haven’t worked since 2003. I have encephalamalacia too which is on my last MRI 2016 and CT 2018. MOLINA wouldn’t cover a fMRI this year to update what my head looks like now… They recently also cut out from
    “their network” the mental health agency I’ve been going to since 1993. SouthEast Mental Health in Columbus, Ohio. I get “denial of payment” letters every month by these assholes. My neurologist @ OHIOHEALTH👎doesn’t want to do any more diagnostic testing except the neuropsych testing I did 3 months ago. He’s 3 years fresh out of medical school. He doesn’t have enough experience for those with multiple head injuries or act like he even gives a damn. I never had a good feeling about him when I went to my appt. He is worthless. I’ve had problems since I was a kid and was diagnosed w learning disabilities in 2nd / 3rd grade. I just get told I’m making excuses by SSA that I’m not disabled enough to get SSI.
    I DO GET SSDI but need to get back on SSI.
    📌Those who never had any head injuries at all

  9. S

    I just don’t understand how SSI people get refunds but SSA people get nothing. We are any better off. That was the most unfair thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I have so many people that don’t understand what you’re thinking! This is the most unfair country of ever seen. I guess we don’t count. I am on SSA have cirrhosis of the liver and have medical bills but you give us no help. I’ll never understand.
    I understand that they do need help but we all need help on Social Security and you should know that.

  10. Bidyit D.

    Join me at the social security

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