Statement from Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, about Agency Accomplishments

December 18, 2023 • By

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Last Updated: December 18, 2023

A photo of Kilolo KajakaziAs we approach the end of 2023, I am reflecting on all that the Social Security Administration has accomplished, despite considerable challenges. It’s been my great privilege to lead Social Security’s approximately 60,000 employees for the past two and one-half years, and I’m so proud of the work they’ve done to fulfill our mission.

For more than 85 years, Social Security has provided income protection for retirees, adults and children with disabilities, and families who lose a wage earner. In order to pay benefits, we also issue millions of Social Security Numbers (SSN), maintain the country’s wage records, and more. The scope of what we do is enormous, and we are proud to serve the public every day. Despite our recent history of chronic underfunding, Social Security remains among the most trusted agencies in the Federal Government.

Social Security’s top priority is, and always will be, working to provide high-quality, timely customer service.  Social Security employees deliver approximately $1.4 trillion in benefits to more than 70 million people each year. Each week, our employees serve over 500,000 people in over 1,000 offices across the country.

Despite insufficient budgets, we have prioritized business, policy and technology improvements to serve you better. For visitors to our local field offices, we expanded mobile check-in and instituted an online scheduling system for people who need an appointment for a Social Security card. We also updated our check-in kiosks to make them more accessible and improve the overall check-in process.

Our redesigned website, launched in December 2022, is easier to navigate, more task-oriented, and offers more self-service options and increased digital services, making it easier for people to apply for benefits and replacement SSN cards. Customers can start—and often complete—their SSN card requests and applications for certain benefits online, and our new Office of Transformation recently introduced an online tool that will allow customers to electronically sign and upload certain documents. These improvements allow millions of people to complete their business online quickly and securely, saving time for our customers and freeing up more time for our employees to help customers with more complex needs in-person and process more cases.

Despite these efforts, the combined effect of the pandemic and chronic underfunding have taken a toll on our employees. It has led to high attrition and backlogs. Our budget directly drives the level of service we can provide. Bottom line, we need enough well-trained employees to ensure we can meet your needs. New hires are necessary to begin to reduce growing backlogs and improve service. I am pleased that the funding we received in fiscal year (FY) 2023 allowed us to hire nearly 8,000 employees in the past year, but we must be able to maintain this staffing level. Using targeted strategies, we have also reduced the backlog of hearings to a 21-year low and began to address the backlog of initial disability claims. With sustained and sufficient funding consistent with the President’s FY 2024 budget request, I’m confident that we can build on our progress and retain the best qualified workforce.

We continue working to improve equity and access for all customers through partnerships and policy initiatives. Our newly established Office of Native American Partnerships is piloting mobile services by sending SSA employees to health facilities in remote locations and improving video service delivery in Tribal communities. We’ve also worked with the Biden-Harris Administration and other agencies to promote Economic Impact Payments, the Affordable Connectivity Program, and Child Tax Credits, so our customers could learn about and benefit from these programs without affecting their Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income payments.

To make it easier for people seeking benefits from Social Security to obtain legal representation, we increased our representative fees for the first time in 13 years and conducted outreach to the unrepresented to help them prepare for hearings. We are simplifying our disability redetermination and overpayment notices so they’re shorter, easier to understand, and less burdensome for our customers. We also made significant progress toward simplifying our rules around in-kind support and maintenance and past relevant work, in order to reduce burdens on both applicants and employees. We developed Social Security’s first comprehensive Limited English Proficiency policy to help customers with little or no understanding of English access our information and services. Further, we regularly meet with advocates, experts, and other external stakeholders to listen and gather feedback on our efforts to continuously improve.

Social Security remains a trusted program and agency, one that the public increasingly relies on. We’ve added at least 8 million more beneficiaries in the past 10 years alone. It’s imperative that we can sustain and support our workforce, improve our customers’ experience, communicate clearly with the public, and hone our policies and procedures to provide the service the public expects and deserves. With sufficient and sustained financial support from Congress, Social Security can continue to build on our accomplishments in 2024 and many years to come.

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  1. Naveed K.

    Social Security is well managed organization. I have always found SS offices helpful. The SS web site is complex, it is hard to navigate and find the information one is looking for. I suggest that SS use AI technology to address specific requirements from its subscribers. For 2024 COLA is a joke. Inflation is well above 10% (In reality) and the increase is 3.2%. Social Security continues to drive seniors to poverty.

  2. SDQ

    99% of your problems can be fixed and controlled by incorporating smart contracts/processes with block chain and cryptologic decentralized systems where customers can be in control. For that, you need to embrace crypto such as bitcoin or the digital dollar. The other one percent of your problems is getting rid of the leadership that doesn’t like change or still wants things to function like the 1970/80s – they make everything stagnant, slow and inefficient.

  3. Lynda K.

    Why is it my BIL has been waiting TWO years for a disability review? Two years! Has a second after waiting a year after the first hearing. Now has a second hearing scheduled for late spring in 2024. Has provided documentation to SS from his MD, orthopedic MD, has went to every MD he was sent to by SS. Still can’t work due to the inability to use his dominant arm, still has a disabled son at home, still has bills to pay, fortunately still has a very stressed wife ( not so fortunate for her but a testament to her character and determination) working and trying to juggle the bills. Why is this happening? Is anyone actually checking to see how productive your employees are? How timely they are getting claims processed?

    • tom t.

      they have made many mistakes and they say there mistakes are your mistakes also is something going to happen soon they have stopped my ss disability because of an overpayment they claimed was over 20 yrs ago i am 66 i am a us army veteran i have no medical coverage i have had open heart surgery i see many dr’s and psychiatrists for ptsd and other issues and i will need much medical attention and i have no insurance i do not know what they are talking about for something that happened over 20yrs ago but it is not them that is in the predicament they rather see all homeless as long as they live a good life took 20 yrs to find something i no nothing about how sad is that

    • S.D.

      We’re sorry to hear of your brother-in-law’s situation, Lynda. For security reasons, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We encourage your brother-in-law to continue to work with his local hearings office and provide any updated medical evidence about his conditions, if available. If he doesn’t have the telephone number for his local hearings office, he can call his local Social Security office or contact us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. We hope this helps.

  4. Dean U.

    Just keeping in internal information , no need to published.

  5. Dean U.

    More and more hard-working seniors are dependent on Social Security, if we cannot maintain a reliable sources of incomes its will not lasting for an other hopping to get by ?

  6. ADRIAN W.


    • Marc P.

      The Republicans have consistently cut the SSAs budget whenever they had the majority, and blocked increases when they weren’t I’m the majority. The two-party system just doesn’t work any more. And remember, the Republicans have always tried to end the Social Security program entirely and they’ve introduced several bills to do that just this year as well as all the Republicans running for office in 2024 who are planning to end Social Security if they’re elected. Vote blue like your life depends upon it – because it does.

      • Ann l.

        Very well said.

      • Bill

        Your information is 100% wrong. Vote blue if you want to have another miserable four years to destroy our country and like the inflation, all the illegal’s entering our country and getting free paid benefits, housing, food, and medical care. Guess you also love all the crime we have had under the Biden.

  7. Duane L.

    60,000 Employees?? I bet that I could get by or any other organization could easily run the system better with less than 1/2 to 1/3 that many ! Most Government Leaders first of ALL like to brag how many people they supervise but most don’t look at efficiency –that is a FACT!

    • ADRIAN W.


  8. Frank S.

    Thank you and the 60,000 for your public service. Count me as one of the grateful Americans who believe that Social Security is one of, if not, the most important agency this country has.

    • About C.


  9. Mary T.

    I am so grateful for how well run SS is, how easy it is to understand and how great the website is. Most of all, it has allowed me a life of meaning and possibility, free from fear and confident that you have used the money I saved all those years well. Thank you.

    • Juliet B.

      Hello SSA, I’m one of the recipient of Disability benefit finally and unfortunately for more than 30yrs of working. First of all, thank you for all you do to service citizens across America. My only question is my past due benefit when can I hear from you about this, how can I get it and do I get a separate letter about this. Please respond! Thank you!

      • David

        Hello Juliet,

        Hang in there please. I went through the same process and the all the waiting feeling clueless, but it all came together at the end.

        I can share with you that after you are approved in a hearing with the Administrative Judge, It can take a couple of months before you receive your retroactive payment and often, you receive the payment before you receive you decision letter.

        I was delayed due to a technicality, which I decided to share with my local State Representative and they helped me immensely.
        The office of the Rep. contacted Social Security for me and spoke with a department we do not get to speak to and found out the reason why my payment was delayed.

        I suggest you talk with you State Rep or Senator and discuss your situation with them for assistance. But this much is clear and without doubt, you will receive your payment.

        30 is a long time no doubt, but try to hold on just a few more weeks and try not to loose hope because that doesn’t bring anything positive nor it will expedite time. If anything, it may make the process seem longer. I hope this was helpful to you.

        Good luck and blessings to you.

        Kind regards,


      • S.D.

        Thanks for your compliment and question, Juliet. 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 regarding the release of your back benefits. You should receive a notice when the payment is released. We hope this helps.

    • About C.


  10. debbie

    i have found Social Security to be pretty easy to work with.

    i especially like speaking with my local folks in Helena, Montana. they have always been professional, friendly, and very helpful!

    my only complaint it that the website is annoying to log into.

    thank you for all your efforts!

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