Disability, General, Online Services, Retirement, Survivors

We Observe Customer Service Week All Year

October 5, 2015 • By

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

A woman behind the counter smiles at youDuring Customer Service Week–10/4-10/9–we have the wonderful opportunity to highlight a top priority for us at the Social Security Administration. From our humble beginnings in 1935 when Franklin Roosevelt signed the original Social Security Act into law, customer service has been a part of our DNA. As much as Social Security has been a part of the fabric of America for the last 80 years, so too has been our long standing tradition of delivering courteous, responsive customer service to people of all ages who come to us for assistance, often at a critical juncture in their life.

From the courteous service provided by a small group of Social Security employees when the first office opened in Austin, Texas in 1936 to the more than 45,000 frontline employees who today provide exceptional customer service at over 1,400 local community-based offices around the country, Social Security has never wavered in its long-standing commitment to focus on the needs of the people we serve. We recognize that we are the face of government in the community for most people, and we welcome that role with a steadfast dedication to deliver the kind of customer service that the people of this Nation expect and deserve from their government.

Certainly, the needs and expectations of our customers have changed over our rich 80-year history. While in the early years of the program most government services were handled in person and most transactions were done on paper, today modern technology has allowed Social Security to adapt our service delivery model to meet the higher expectations and demands of a growing customer base.

For example, in the 1980’s Social Security was one of the first government agencies to offer nationwide toll-free telephone service at 1-800-SSA-1213. Last year, the toll-free telephone service handled over 60 million calls, proving that 3 decades later it is still a viable, convenient customer service option for many individuals. Today, as more and more Americans expect and demand more convenient service options, we provide options for the public to utilize the Internet to quickly and securely conduct their Social Security business online at www.socialsecurity.gov. It’s become such a popular option that more than half of all retirees now file for Social Security retirement benefits online from the comfort of their home or office.

A more recent customer service feature allows both current workers and current beneficiaries to create their own personal mySocialSecurity account to access and manage their Social Security records. More than 20 million individuals have created their own mySocialSecurity account, and the feature is so popular that a new account is created every 6 seconds! While Social Security is recognized today as a leader in customer service and has five of the top-rated government online services, including some rated higher than those offered by leading private-sector companies like Amazon and Apple, we are not resting on our laurels. From testing video technologies to enable individuals to conduct business face-to-face with us remotely, including from the comfort of their home, to adding real time online customer engagement tools like “click to call back” or “click to chat”, Social Security is constantly seeking better, more convenient ways to improve the customer experience.

There is one thing, however, that will not change—our commitment to the customer and giving every individual the choice of how they want Social Security to serve them.  Whether someone elects to use one of our convenient and secure online service options or they choose to come see us face-to-face at one of our community-based offices, they can expect to be treated to exceptional service because we celebrate customer service week every day of the year, not just for one week. Our 65,000 employees are passionate about public service and are dedicated to preserving the legacy entrusted to us 80 years ago.

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Deputy Commissioner, Operations


  1. Ellen E.

    I would like to know if I can change my address on line. We have just recently moved.

    • Ray F.

      If you are receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits, you can create a my Social Security account to change your address online. If you are receiving SSI, you must report the new address to your local Social Security office. If you are not yet receiving benefits you don’t need to change your address with us at this time. Thanks!

  2. Lynn

    My father passed sunday morning and my mother went into our local SS office in Auburn, CA in an attempt to notify the SSA of his passing. She has never been to this SS office before and saw a large sign with a red arrow that said “Start Here” so she stood there waiting. She said someone eventually approached her and asked what she wanted. She replied that she was there to take care of my father’s business. The man told her to register at the machine (which was hidden behind the large sign, so she did not see it). Then in a very condescending tone he said, “It’s right there” (pointing), then asked her “Do you speak english?” (after she’d been speaking to him without problem up to this point) and she answered “Yes, of course”. Then, continuing in the condescending tone he said “Then, you can work the machine”. My mother then asked if it were possible to make an appointment like at the DMV and he replied, “No. If you dont want to wait then maybe you don’t need to be here”. My mother then told him that he “COULD at least try to be nice” to which he replied that he “isn’t treated very well by people either and people try to badger me all the time.” This behavior towards people that ultimately pay his salary is unwarranted and unprofessional.
    Upon having this reiterated to me by my mother, I went to the office to try to get and name and badge or ID number. I approached the security officer and, in a very business-like tone, asked how I would get the name and or badge/ID of an employee in order to file a complaint. He asked me why and I told him what had happened approximately 20 minutes prior. He informed me that he was not aware of the situation and that it was probably someone at one of the windows and that I would have to register and take a number. He was not cooperative so I left and came home to ask my mother for a description of the person she had the conversation with. As it turns out, it was the same security officer that I related our problem to. There is no doubt in my mind this security officer was well aware that the name and or badge/ID number I was seeking was his.
    So I returned to the office with a piece of paper and a pen, which I had out so as not to raise any concerns with him when I asked for his name and or badge/ID number again. I approached him with paper and pen and said, “I’d like your name and or badge or ID number. My mother says it was you she had the exchange with.” At this time, while I noted a name tag with the name and began to write the name, he said, “I need to search your purse.” I stopped writing and held my purse out and said, “Have at it”. He searched my purse asking if I had any pepper spray or weapons. I replied, “Nope.” I finished writing his name. He then asked me my name. I said, “Lynn”. He asked my last name. I responded by telling him “I don’t have to tell you that”. I started to turn to leave and he said, “That’s ok, I have you in the system.” I left the building.
    Now, if THIS is an example…during “Customer Service Week”…that is supposed to be good customer service EVERY day…someone obviously didnt get the memo. I’ve spoken with two other people that have recently lost a member of their family and had to go to the Auburn, CA SS office and BOTH were familiar with Security Officer for the same reasons.
    I have 42 years (and counting) experience in customer service, many of them dealing with the public, and I guarantee you….this is NOT good customer service.
    Security Officer is in desperate need of a re-train or maybe, if he’s bothered so much by what comes with dealing with the public, a move to a position that does not require him to do so.

    • Ray F.

      Please accept our condolences, Lynn, we are very sorry for your loss. We apologize for how poorly you and your mother were treated by the security guard. We have referred your complaint to our Operations staff to follow up and to take corrective action as necessary. We appreciate your feedback, and thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  3. jim s.

    Sitting in the Uptown SS office for over 3 hours. They are turning away people at the front door and won’t allow anyone to return if the need to step outside . So….this is how you celebrate “Customer Service Week”…..?

    • Ray F.

      We apologize for the long wait, and regret to hear that we did not provide the level of customer service you expected. We care about our customers and our representatives are working as fast as they can to resolve all inquiries, process new claims, and reduce backlogs. Remember, most Social Security business does not require a visit to a local field office. Many services, including applying for retirement, disability and Medicare benefits, creating a my Social Security account, requesting a replacement Medicare card, or reporting a change of address or telephone number are conveniently available anytime at our website. Or, you can also call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) for assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks!

  4. Marsha

    I am not on ssi never applied, but am very upset because my mother has worked her intire life now she has a stroke at 56 and for her to receive disability she has to wait 90 days with no income to even be reviewed for ssi. This is awful I am a young woman in America and finding out you work for people to judge when you can get monies you have paid into something for this reason. What about her what is she supposed to do be thrown out of her house and in the street. SSI needs to reevaluate this situation we are little people, but without us little people nothing would be possible. im mad.

    • James L.

      We can understand your frustration Marsha, and we are sorry to hear about your mother’s medical condition at this time.
      Allow us to provide you and your mother with important information about our disability programs. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security disability insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a needs based program that pays benefits to disabled people with limited income and resources. The SSDI program pays benefits to disabled individuals providing the person worked and paid enough into the Social Security program before becoming disabled. There are times when people can receive both SSI and SSDI, depending on their situation and whether they meet the requirements.
      Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. Disability benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to result in death.
      The length of time it takes to receive a decision on a disability claim can vary depending on several factors. Primarily, the nature of your mother’s disability, how quickly we obtain medical evidence from her doctor or other medical sources, and if her claim is randomly selected for a quality assurance review of the decision. Typically, the length of time it takes to receive a decision is about 90 days, but the amount of time could vary from case-to-case.
      Your mother may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which she lives, while she waits for a medical decision. These services can include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, cash assistance or help with other problems. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services office. We hope this helps!

  5. Linda C.

    An organizations definition of quality customer service originates from the expectation of their leadership. Nancy Berryhill is a public servant who has dedicated her life to exceptional work. Thank you for your service and commitment. You make a difference.

    • Nancy B.

      Thank you for your generous praise Linda. I’ve always felt public service was a noble calling, and over my 40-year career at Social Security I have always strived to serve as a model for others who have chosen to pursue a career in government service. If I’ve been successful and made a difference by having a positive effect on others, I am very gratified. Again, thank you.

  6. james m.

    help me with this questionplease when I fi start getting disability and it change to ss they said I were paid io much so the last two years I work I was told I would not be getting that money why I didn’t make this mistake they did and now not steping up to the plate is right.

  7. Tom

    Social security disability has been essential for us, and life’s unexpected crashes, like being totally disabled from military service. What doesn’t make any sense is why it is a split fund, that is disability and retirement. We paid into only one fund. Our new concern is SSA being united in FY16. Also, it doesn’t make any since why the TSP and SSA are combined accounts. I deposited into both, and could only take from one after I became disabled. OPM, said “upps” we made a mistake, So those “few” of us are paying the price and the OPM is now saying no exceptions because of OPMs error. But, Social Security is here, for now caring for us, thanks SSA

  8. Gloria

    I am 77 and drawing SS plus I was also drawing $50 a month for what I believed to be because of my age, but now I am having to pay back $1300 because I am in a training program through Experience Works through the Department of Labor which plainly states that this is not employment. When I finally reached someone at our local office in Denton after calling many times and left messages, they simply said you can not draw SSI if you are working, period.. Just curious…

    • Ray F.

      Hi Gloria. Remember that the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adult and children and the elderly with limited income and resources. When you receive SSI benefits, we take into consideration your income and resources, and the amount of your monthly SSI benefit amount is based on the income and resources available to you.
      If you’ve been informed of an overpayment, and for further assistance in your case, we ask that you continue working with your local office. Or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. We hope this information is helpful.

      • Gloria

        Thank you for the reply…

  9. Theresa N.

    My husband , Randall Keith Noll Jr, has been trying for 5 years now to get access to HIS money after developing spinal condition has left him unable to work ANY job. 5 years we have applied, appealed, gone to lawyers, applied through them, and appealed through them.

    Your administration continues to reply that he is able to work, even though he cannot sit, stand, walk, recline or lay on any surface for more than a few minutes without being in severe, debilitating pain. He is on major pain killers and anti-depressants and so cannot work in many fields, and yet you continue to assert that he can work. WHERE? GIVE ME A LIST OF ANY JOB HE CAN WORK IN HIS CONDITION????

    • Rita M.

      I have had a disability since the age of 33 and have worked my whole life with them. At the age of I found it more difficult to be reliable in a working position. I have been seeking medical help since the age of 33 and have paid out of pocket for all of my medical bills. I applied for disability got denied saying I could do light work and I appealed it 16 months ago and have not received any word on my appeal. I will admit I am not in a wheelchair but my disabilities are vertigo and migraines. Awful always dizzy never having my balance confused headaches nausea migraines brutal have to stay laying down a lot. Can you help me get a response from the Appeals Council? I have tried calling many times and it is in active review! Please help me to get some answers

      • James L.

        Hello Rita, we are very sorry to hear about your medical condition. If you are referring to the length of time it takes to get a hearing, it varies. In most states, there are four levels in The Appeals Process, but the amount of time could vary from case to case. We must consider several factors when making a medical determination such as the nature of the disability, how quickly we obtain medical evidence from doctors or other medical sources, and if the claim is randomly selected for a quality assurance review of the decision. We care about our customers and are working as fast as we can. While you are waiting for a hearing or a medical decision, you may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live.

        • kevin

          I am depressed….

  10. bettyg

    to all of you who write these articles,

    please have SHORTER paragraphs of 1-2 sentences max for NEURO COGINITIVE members who can NOT read your articles as is.

    windy sentences, 1 sentence would be a paragraph.

    we DON’T have time to copy/paste to break these up; thanks for your consideration on all FUTURE posts.

    thanks for helping us to help YOU by giving our feedback when we’re able to comprehend articles!

    bettyg, iowa

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