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. Krystal W.

    Why haven’t SSI and all beneficiaries been left out of any raises by our government, even our states are misappropriating government funding to national parks, college recipients, and outer space programs. You get an extra credits for children on taxes all the while people who make $10,000 and have no children are being forgotten. $841 month pays just my bills leaving me with $20-$30 month to live on. Food stamps at $144 month isnt enough to get by with eggs at $3.00 a dozen. I haven’t been able to buy meat for 2 months food banks can only give can foods and only once a month.

  2. Natasha n.

    Am I pray for my social security benefits

  3. Eddy B.

    Not sure if I am in the right area but …. im a newly person retired.
    My question is … why is it that we get a cost of living wage, which is great 👍 but then part of what was given is taken away and upping the payment. Why ? Why give if ur going to take it away. I don’t understand. I rely on what I get. It’s all I have to live.

  4. Walt

    The social worker at the head of SSA is in over her head in running this big organization

  5. Kelley L.

    I have been trying since June 24, 2022 to get my benefit amount adjusted because in May 2022 I no longer receive the additional income I had been receiving for years. Not once have I gotten to speak to my “specialist”. Not once has she returned my calls. I provided the info and verifications needed and here we are October 12 and still no progress. I was assured 3rd week of August that she had the info and was processing it immediately . Nothing. Oct 4 I was again told same thing . It is unacceptable to be treated like this so I have hard time believing or trusting any

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Kelley. We are sorry to hear about your experience. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We encourage you to work with your local Social Security office. You can ask to speak to a manager on your next visit or call. You can also submit feedback by visiting our Contact Social Security page. Once there, select the “Email Us” link. This will take you to the “Email A Question to our Support Team” form where you can complete and submit a compliment, complaint, or suggestion. We hope this is resolved soon. 

    • Bernadette M.

      When will I receive the economic impact payment for social security benefitaries that the letter I received this February??

      • Ann C.

        Hi, Bernadette. Thanks for visiting our blog. Please visit the IRS website for all your Economic Income Payment-related questions. If you are unable to find the answer, call the IRS hotline at 1-800-919-9835. Thanks!

        • Misty T.

          How do I find out if I receive a stimulus check?

          • Ann C.

            Hi, Misty. Thanks for visiting our blog. Please visit the IRS website for all your Economic Income Payment-related questions. If you are unable to find the answer, call the IRS hotline at 1-800-919-9835. Thanks, again.

    • Angela s.

      Can’t get any help to sign up for retirement

      • Ann C.

        Hi, Angela. We are sorry to hear that. You can apply for Social Security retirement online. You can complete the application in as little as 15 minutes. Additionally, 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. We hope this helps.

  6. Linda c.

    I have been searching the internet to find a group of people (seniors) such as myself and haven’t found any until this blog.I am on soc sec sole source of income non filer as with most of us on soc.sec. i am wondering how everyone else feels about being left out of newsoms golden state stimulis’s and now of all things the gas rebate that shud hv gone to registered car owners that pay to hv their cars on the road as well as gas taxes.i am furious we were left out. Soc sec has direct deposit so they hv all our why were we left out?i know one thing newsom is goin to be left out of my votes and i hope of EVERY soc sec.recipient! Let’s show him what the gray hair club can do 👍ty to my fellow oldies but goodies

  7. LaVern J.

    Your service is TERRIBLE.
    I have been trying for over a week to change my soc sec payments for over a week.
    – I can’t get into my account online, I was told there is a flag on my account that indicates “I am a representative payee”, I am NOT. I can’t logon.
    – Your web pages are very confusing.
    – I was told to contact a local office. An office close to me is 12 miles away (15 minutes). I am assigned to an office by soc sec over 65 miles away (over an hour).
    – Finally, someone at the closest office reset my online account, so I tried to create a new one.
    – I was told to wait at least a day before I try to create the new one.
    – There are at least 3 ways to sign in. Ok, which one do I use?
    – If I think I am finally making some progress, then I get a page that says there was either an error or ss cannot respond at this time because of heavy online traffic or something.
    – One page says I will get a response from ss by email, text or something. There were 4 choices. OK, so which one will it be, you don’t say, and I have to guess.
    – And it goes on.
    – All I want to do is change my payment to a different bank option and I have trying to do this for over a week. I have spent many hours trying to get this done which should be a 5-minute task.

    Please help me!

    • Ann C.

      Hi, LaVern. We are sorry to hear about your experience. 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 call or visit your local Social Security office. We hope this is resolved soon. 

  8. Theresa

    What if u gave someone your Emil address after they gave u theirs? Is it scam?

    • Theresa

      I do not give out personal information because there are too many scams and hackers out there.

  9. RavelFerreraParra

    …e.g.; SSA’s (OHO) Operation Of Hearings Office (both in state & federal secs) fraudulently conspired breach of contract by systematically misleading, discriminating, and delaying the application process, they also blatantly altered government documents and falsely accused the applicant of being a threat to “facility & staff” (twice) as to intimidate me into not pursuing benefits… while committing Mail Fraud, Emblem Abuse, Waste of Govt. Funding, & placing merit to a criminally issued court subpoena produced by UAL…  OHO refuses to recuse and has kept me, as a qualified-insured-applicant from benefits that would help mitigate an urgent  brain surgery
    (11 months & waiting from the 56 months of social security benefits withheld)…it would be established that the SSA (under Commissioner Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi) had a discriminatory intent or motive for taking a procedure-related action or inaction, which would be interpreted as an Act to prohibit, in some cases, an agency’s facially neutral practices that, in fact, are “discriminatory in operation. ” It is stated that the “touchstone” for disparate-impact liability is the lack of business necessity: lf a practice which operates to exclude Įminorities] cannot be shown to be related to performance, the practice is prohibited.” If SSA had met its burden by showing that its practice was article application-related, I, as Claimant, would have not been able to show [multiple] legitimate alternatives that would have resulted in less discrimination.

    I am seeking curative & punitive damages

    • SSA E.

      I worked for SSA and was wrongfully terminated for reporting misprocessing cases. I agree the public is and staff is at risk under current lack of leadership.

  10. Ruptok F.

    Thanks for sharing the information

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