Disability, History, Online Services, Retirement, Survivors

We Observe Customer Service Week All Year

October 5, 2015 • By

Last Updated: October 5, 2015

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. Sean Williams

    Is there a way that I could get a meeting with Nancy Barryhill or at least an email address or phone number. I’ve been having major issues both on the phone and in person with SSA representatives. I f you answer no to my question, I’d completely accept that. I will not accept you asking me to explain the situation so you could direct me to who you think best will resolve my issue.
    I thank you in advance for your yes or no answer.

  2. Lora L Sokel

    I am on SSDI I would like copies of all my records(all information) that SOCIAL SECURITY has in there possession. I moved from Illinois to Minnesota does that mean that my records are in two different places?If you could send me the correct address of the places I need to write to. Thank You

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Lora. Please contact your local Social Security office directly, and submit a request to obtain a copy of your medical records, and other information you may need, that we may be able to provide. Thanks.

      • mary l glick

        I am 79 and cant wsalk too far can I get a paring tag for my car

  3. Christine

    I have school loans at 60 because I went back to school. I helped my kids with their education as well.
    Does this mean I will not receive any of the Social Security my spouse receives?

  4. Christine

    What if I was married for over 20 years and never worked?

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Christine, even if you have never worked under Social Security, you may be able to get spouse’s retirement benefits if you are at least 62 years of age and your spouse is receiving retirement or disability benefits. If you are divorced, you may still be able to get benefits on your ex-spouse’s record. For information on the requirements for Divorced Spouse’s Benefits, read “If You Are Divorced.” Click here for information about repayment of your federal student loans. We hope this information helps.

  5. you

    Additionally, you are WRONG about “Please call 1-800-772-1213 to make an appointment with your local office. ” I just called. They DO NOT make an appointment for the name change..

    Are you going to be of any help or I am just wasting more of my time talking to Social Security person????????????????

  6. Dr. A. Patel

    Thank you. We called the local office again and this time a nicer person picked up the phone who did tell us the reason. She said, “Your application has been re-submitted for processing” but could not provide any detail as to why that was done (That was not shown on her computer). She did not say that we needed to come there for any reason. She could not tell how long we have to wait. We are still confused as to what we need to do.

    Thanks in advance for any further help.

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      We are glad our representatives were able to help. It seems that you should receive your replacement Social Security card by mail within 10 business days. Please continue working with your local office if you have specific questions about your request.

      • Dr. A. Patel

        After several phone calls, we found that your local office had “resubmitted” (for god knows, what reasons) on February 11. So, it’s been 13 days since then and no news from social security.

        So, it seems that once we stand in line for hours, apply in-person and then the application goes into a black hole. It’s been seven weeks and no reply about what happened with my application. This is height of irresponsibility and unaccountability.

        Is this agency not supposed to keep us informed?? I know that you are part of this agency, but is it something that YOU can do by contacting you via phone to find what is happening with my application??

  7. Dr. A. Patel

    I applied for name-change six weeks ago. My name is still not changed. The local office is refusing to give me any updates on phone and wants me to personally come, which I cannot do because of the driving distance. In addition, why am I required to go in person??? The letter I received when I applied mentions that I call and if I do not get the card in ten days.
    The 1-800-772-1213 number rep ask to “contact the local office where you applied.” This is just height of “passing the buck” and irresponsibility.
    Can anyone check and see why I have not heard anything yet?????????????????????????????????????

    Is there a phone number with whom I can talk who will actually try to give me the update and resolve the issue?

    -Dr. Patel

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      We apologize for the inconvenience, Dr. Patel. Typically, after we receive your application and verify your documents, we process your request and you should receive your replacement Social Security card by mail within 10 business days. In some cases a face-to-face interview is required to complete processing your request for a replacement Social Security card. Please call 1-800-772-1213 to make an appointment with your local office. An appointment is not required, but if you call ahead and schedule one, it may reduce the time you spend waiting. Representatives at our toll-free number are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. We hope this is resolved soon. Thanks!

  8. Tamara Hodge

    I filed a 521 request in August 2015, and subsequently sent a check for repayment the first of September to the Mid Atlantic Program Service Center. In October, I received a letter from the Western Program Service Center that indicated if I did not make the repayment within 30 days my request would be denied. Several visits to my local Social Security Office has yielded no results. They refuse to get involved to track the payment and determine if the check was lost, so that I can reissue the check if necessary. Their response has been that the Mid Atlantic Program Service Center can take a long-time to process checks and I should just be patient. I am not sure you can call that Customer Service. They won’t let you talk to a Supervisor and their standard reply is to check back in 30 days. Meanwhile its been almost 5 months since I submitted the request, and my children are not getting their rightful benefit amounts. Not sure how to resolve this situation as the local office indicates that they have no direct contact with either the MidAtlantic or Western program Service Centers, and those centers also do not communicate with each other. It would be helpful to have a process at the State level that would allow you to resolve issues that are not being dealt with by the local Office.

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      We apologize for the delay and inconveniences you are experiencing, Tamara. Unfortunately, but for your security, we do not have access to personal records in this blog. Please continue working with your local office. You should be allowed to speak with the manager to see how we can help to expedite resolution of your situation. If you are unable to visit the local office, you can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778. 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.

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  10. David Glenn Knutson

    The great Social Security
    Does the below indicate GREAT HAHAHAHAHAHA
    I paid Social Security 45 years and my Filippino wife can’t get any if not American even tho I served the USA Military 45 years and Civil Service for 20. SOOO PAID IN FOR 45 and my wife gets craped on.

    MilitRY FOR 45 YEARS AND PAYING SOCIAL SECURITY. But when I was married to a drunken wife she would be able to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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