We Want to Provide You with Timely, High Quality, and Accurate Service

November 22, 2022 • By

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Last Updated: November 22, 2022

Social Security Administration LogoSocial Security Administration (SSA) employees demonstrate an unwavering commitment to serving the millions of people like you who turn to us for help each year. However, we cannot keep up with the demand for service and our annual fixed cost increases like salaries, rent, and guard services. The bottom line is that we need more funding to deliver the services you expect and deserve, whether it’s requesting a new Social Security card, applying for benefits, or the many other services we provide.

The Biden-Harris Administration asked Congress for a funding anomaly of $800 million higher than our fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget, as we started FY 2023 in October without a full year budget. The additional funding would have allowed us to maintain level service by hiring employees, funding our fixed cost increases, funding information technology (IT) projects, and allocating enough overtime to handle workloads, provided there is not an unexpected and significant increase in demand for our services and programs.

Congress provided us with $400 million, which provides enough funding to cover our fixed cost increases only through December, overtime at FY 2022 levels, and continuous hiring at the start of FY 2023. However, it is not enough to cover the full year fixed cost increases or to maintain the hiring and overtime levels beyond December to improve service. On the other hand, the FY 2023 President’s budget request of $14.8 billion for SSA – a $1.4 billion increase over our FY 2022 enacted level of funding – would allow us to improve customer service and offer the service experience you deserve.

We have faced years of underfunding. We are currently operating with approximately 4,000 fewer employees since prior to the pandemic – a 7% drop, since we have not had the funds to hire the level of staff needed. We are also experiencing historically high levels of employees leaving the agency, because employees are carrying unreasonable workloads given the staffing shortage. As we lose employees, our service further deteriorates. You feel the effects of our staffing shortage. You are waiting an unacceptable average of over six months for a decision on an initial disability claim and over 30 minutes to speak to a representative on our National 800 Number.

Our employees strive to provide you compassionate and timely service but cannot do so without a budget that allows for significant improvement. Without additional funding in FY 2023, we would be forced to freeze hiring, cut overtime, and cut funding for our IT investments.

It is critical that we have the resources to restore staffing losses and continue our important IT investments or face years of deteriorating services that you will not and should not accept. We must be able to provide timely and quality service to everyone who depends on us.

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  1. Susan S.

    I have no idea where to begin on any of these multi-faceted, ever-growing burdens/challenges that such a huge and dynamic agency (SSA) must contend with daily. That may be one blocking wall; it’s gotten too big. Perhaps a break between SSA and Medicare? Just a thought. I’ve read a majority of the comments and see a common thread of abuse/misuse by enough individuals to warrant serious concerns which should carry serious consequences. I personally don’t care for a watch-dog system of checks and balances however there must be a weeding out process. All of us are busy, overworked, ramifications from COVID…..repeated offenders of the system must be identified sooner, severe consequences for those that literally “steal” from the rest of us. There is no easy fix. I would not want to have the job as the director of SSA. So many of those particular issues currently exist and thrive in American culture of now. Soak the system for personal gain for all its worth! The concepts of integrity, honor and even self-respect have disappeared.
    I can only speak of my latest experience with SSA; not good. Number one is that it is impossible to speak with someone, phone, message, email or in person. Whatever is in place for communication is NOT working! I had to contact a government official’s office to just present my situation after making numerous attempts on my own. Then the “pass the buck” maneuver is used and rampant. Call SSA, call Medicare! With no one office providing useful or productive assistance. This blog is interesting, well written, with good intentions but in reality it is only in theory with a lot of futility. Gonna take more than luck. Best to you!

  2. Tony

    The worst thing about the expedited process is that many of these people are not disabled and get denied. They are trying to scam the system and get to cut in front of the line. They reapply after they got denied and get to cut in front of disabled people again. The truly disabled have to wait even longer.

    It cost taxpayers over $1000 every time these scammers apply for disability. They reapply over and over again hoping to wear down the system and get approved by an outlier ALJ who approves everyone.

    The scammers who get free Medicaid in the states that expanded Medicaid for everyone goes to the psychologist/psychiatrist office. Before they leave the office, they will have a mental disorder diagnosis and several prescriptions in hand. Then they go to apply for disability.

    The psychologist/psychiatrist need to get paid by Medicaid and will always diagnosis them with some type of mental disorder. The psychologist/psychiatrist also gets kick back for prescribing medication from the pharmaceutical companies so they will prescribe the scammers medication. The scammers will not take the medication and throw it away.

    Then you have homeless organizations and nonprofirs that gets the homeless to apply for mental disability as a way to get them benefits and off the street. Even local and state governments take part in this scam through their disability advocate program.

    • Tony

      Welfare parents are notorious for seeking mental disorders for their children so they can get free SSI money. It is very easy to get a mental disorder diagnosis as I mentioned above.

    • Georgina A.

      I couldn’t agree more. For instances, we have many in the place where I live that should be tested for crack cocaine and are on SSI and Social Security. Scamming the system? Absolutely and something needs to be done.

      • jaknight

        you are so right I found this out I was burned over 95 percent of my body and I still worked because I thought if I work then when I needed it then it wouldnt be so hard I began to have problems doing my job and my job had problems with me so my doctors had me apply and I was denied even with the doctors telling them I still was denied then the judge that I had to see rule in my favor and the person who decide if you are disable or not still was upset about the ruling.

  3. Tony

    30 minutes is nothing compared to the 45 minutes or more claimants use to wait. During those long wait time, the SSA had a call back option instead of waiting on hold. If the wait time becomes too long, then the SSA should re-impliment the call back option.

    Instead the SSA wants to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars hiring more employees. The problem isn’t even as severe as before.

    • Barbara

      What we need to do is to have no ceiling on wages so that those high earners pay just like low wage earners and their employers for the current percentage required in every year. Last time I checked, those earning more than $130k and their employers only paid the percentage up to $130k. And there would be plenty of money without increasing the percentage of deduction.

    • Michael C.


      • Tony

        The SSA employees know they cannot be fired because they are in the union and the union will fight for them.

        The SSA gives preferential treatment to Wounded Warrior, TERI, Dire Need, and Potentially Violent. The rest of the disabled claimants get treat like dirt and have to wait.

        It should be first come, first serve. The SSA local office gives different ticket number for different services. They take easier cases first even though you were there first before the other person.

        The SSA treat people like dirt making them wait longer than others and now they want more employees due to the long wait that they cause by treating the rest like dirt.

      • Tony

        The SSA seem to continue to add more and more group of people to the expedited process making the rest of the other people wait even longer.

      • A.C.

        Hi, Michael. We are sorry to hear about your experience. You can 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 helps.

  4. Tony

    It seems that almost all the trouble makers are disability claimants contracting their congressman for assistance and having them do a congressional inquiry into their claim.

    If it takes over 6 months for an initial disability determination, I would blame the State DDS. The SSA cannot force the State DDS to hire more employees.

    Fixing the 30 minutes wait time on the phone would cost the taxpayers too much money. It is not cost effective. 30 minutes of the customer’s time waiting on the phone is free. If we paid for 30 minutes of the SSA employees’ time it would cost taxpayers humdreds of millions of dollars. You can’t fix stupid ideas that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

    As a business, it is always better to waste the customer’s time than the employee’s time. Banks and credit cards companies are making people wait longer to talk to a real person on the phone. While the customer is on hold, they play a recording of the online service available to customers.

  5. Tony

    Medical source means an individual who is licensed as a healthcare worker by a State and working within the scope of practice permitted under State or Federal law, or an individual who is certified by a State as a speech-language pathologist or a school psychologist and acting within the scope of practice permitted under State or Federal law. See 20 C.F.R. 404.1502(d)

    Burden of proof is on the claimant. The SSA doesn’t ask for the State Licence or Certification and the expiration date on the disability application. This is a requirement but the SSA doesn’t seem to ask for it and verify that they are medical sources. The SSA just assumes they are medical sources without any proof.

    The claimants sometimes provide their own medical records without any proof that it was done by a licensed or certified medical source. Claimants cannot certify that the medical records are true and correct. Claimants need to have the licensed or certified medical source certify that the medical records are true and correct.

    Medical records should be accompanied by a certification letter from the licensed or certified medical source. If they don’t provide proof, then they will be treated as non medical sources and the ALJ doesn’t have to articulate a non-medical source under 20 C.F.R. 404.1520c.

    Maybe the SSA will continue to let’s the claimants do the self attestation of medical records without proof from a licensed medical source like they do with the self attestation of sex designation.

  6. Tony

    It cost taxpayers over $700 for each initial disability determination and there are over 3 million applications each year.

    We don’t need to process the initial disabilty determination any faster and costing taxpayers more money for those lazy bums who were denied and kept on reapplying.

    Those lazy bums who were denied by the Appeal Council can reapply while they wait for their federal court appeal.

    You have some lazy bums who give up after the SSA Administrative Law Judge denied them and reapply instead of appealing the denial.

    We don’t want these lazy bums who don’t want to work zipping through the process and costing taxpayers more money.

    The SSA denied about 2/3 of the disability claimants. It is like throwing away over $1.4 billion each year on these lazy bums who don’t want to work.

    • Tony

      The State DDS make the initial disabilty determination under the Social Security Act Section 221. [42 U.S.C. 421]. The initial disability determination for SSDI should be prioritize before SSI. The claimants applying for SSDI pay both federal income tax and to the federal disabilty trust fund.

      The State DDS is being paid from the federal disability trust fund under the Social Security Act Section 221. [42 U.S.C. 421] for SSDI disability determination. SSDI claimants are paying for the services and should be prioritize before SSI claimants. Paying customers should come first.

    • Tony

      The SSA local office doesn’t accept walk-in for people applying for disability. They must make an appointment.

      The SSA is treating people different for services.

      Why is the SSA treating two different programs SSDI and SSI the same?

      The SSDI claimants have paid for the service through FICA taxes and should be prioritize before SSI. The SSDI claimants also pay federal income taxes which pays the SSA administrative budget.

      Why does people who never work a day in their life get better treatment than someone who pays federal income taxes and pays to the federal disabilty trust fund?

      The SSA knows it is unacceptable to wait over 6 months for a initial disability determination by the State DDS and this violates the federal law of the Social Security Act Section 221. [42 U.S.C. 421].

      Get the State DDS to prioritize the SSDI claimants before the SSI claimants.

      Hiring more SSA employees has nothing to do with the initial disabilty determination that takes over 6 months. The SSA needs to get the State DDS to do their job they are getting paid for.

      • Georgia

        The application is the same for SSI and SSDI. Social Security uses a 5-step process to decide whether someone meets all of the criteria for disability. You must have a severe enough medical condition (expected to last at least 12 months) that keeps you from working at the Substantial Gainful Activity level (earning $1,350/month in 2022). Only after that is met, do they look to see if you have accumulated enough RECENT “work credits” to qualify for SSDI. If you have not, then they look to see if you can qualify for SSI (must be very low income with less than $2,000 in the bank). There are thousands of people who have worked many, many years, but for various reasons will not qualify for SSDI because they don’t have enough recent work credits on their SSA record. To call people lazy bums over and over is just showing your ignorance.

  7. DAVID A.

    I worked for SSA for 30 years, beginning as a claims rep trainee in the Chicago region. My career took me to the Atlanta and Kansas City regions as well as a stint at headquarters outside Baltimore. Appropriate funding levels were always an issue; staffing in field offices and teleservice centers was always an issue. There was never enough money to carry out the mission that Congress commanded. We were always expected to do more with less. So what’s the solution? Ideally, its answering the phone on the first ring, greeting and serving a customer who walks into the office immediately, and installing and overseeing state of the art IT systems in a timely manner. But realistically, history teaches it will never happen. So the SSA employee, mostly a dedicated group of civil servants, will carry on doing the best they can, serving one person at a time, day after day, with very little thanks or recognition. And hopefully after many years, she or he will have a sense of pride that they did the best they could under the circumstances.

    • John G.

      Well said. While I did not work for the SSA, I did work for a government agency. Chronic understaffing and budget shortfalls are useful strategies for those who promote privatizing or getting rid of government agencies.

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  9. Eboney S.

    its taken longer then ever to be approved. for my son.

    • Don S.

      If the agency was more in tune with the needs of people and not so focused on people who don’t know if they are a man or a women. Just take of business and stop winning, get the job done you incompetent fool.

  10. Kevin H.

    At every turn, billions of dollars materialize out of nothing for COVID relief, disaster relief, foreign aid etc. At every new government “crisis” money seems to fall from the heavens to fund these so-called emergencies. The SSA needs to declare some kind of emergency and the Commisioner and Deputy need to get in front of every television camera they can find and declare this underfundering to be: “SocialSecurityGate” and not stop until the funding comes in.

    • Phyllis


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