General Questions, History

Why I Serve

August 13, 2015 • By

A local office Social Security employee helps a person fill out formsOn the eve of Social Security’s 80th anniversary, we want to share a personal moment with you. We usually talk about the services we offer, and why we believe offering these services is important to you and our nation.

We seldom get the opportunity to speak about our employees – those who stand behind the desk, behind the computer screen, or on the other end of the calls to our toll-free telephone service. Social Security employs more than 62,000 men and women nationwide.

Our employees’ duties range from taking a retirement application, to designing the signs posted on the walls of our field offices, to creating and editing thousands of publications, to designing and maintaining our vast computer network. Our team does this with a common goal of serving America by providing services to our nation’s most vulnerable citizens in times of personal hardship, transition, and uncertainty.

In the past few months, we asked our employees to share why they serve. Their answers, often expressed in heartfelt narratives, almost universally contained one sentiment.

I serve because I enjoy working with our public and because the services we provide matter.

Our greatest satisfaction comes from knowing that the people who need our benefits most – retirees, people with the disabilities, children, and families – receive the help they need. Social Security continues to give Americans hope and support with expanded programs that offer more than even President Franklin D. Roosevelt envisioned 80 years ago, when he signed the Social Security Act into law.

Tomorrow, we celebrate the anniversary of our program. Today, we celebrate the thousands who bring that program to life every day.

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About the Author


Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications


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  1. JN Mauhay

    Wanted to say THANK YOU to Brigette and Natanya for helping me striaghten out some important documents, requirement for my disability claim. You were helpful and professional.

    My sincere THANK YOU to Ms Lumsey of Western Service Center of Richmond, CA for facilitating my claim. she is calm, respectful and honest.

    God bless you all … ?

  2. ruben marques

    Just want to thank the social segurity.and the thousands working in it .Social segurity was one of the greatest laws ever made in our country.thank you

  3. Charity Crosby

    I appreciate Social Security because without it I wouldn survive it may not be alot to live on but it sure beat nothing there are some places in the world that dont have this system and the disabled have no hope so Thank God for social security I hope they dont defund it and I hope they expend it to make it even more effective.

  4. AZ.Elbakkal

    As we celebrate Social Security on its 80thAnniversary (President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on 14August1935).The Social Security remains strong and it is a solution to our looming retirement income crisis and it is as important as ever to American families,as well,it is an excellent anti poverty program.
    Happy Anniversary.AZ.

  5. eliedith

    thank you kindly for your service to your nation and the people you help. it is appreciated and i just wish that everyone was appreciative of the many great things your agency does for people. God bless you

  6. Former Fed

    As a retired Social Security claims representative, I appreciate all of the positive remarks about SSA employees. I know from twenty-five years of experience in dealing with the public that those sentiments represent the vast majority of the American people.

    With regard to the few negative comments posted here, I would like to point out the following facts:

    1. Illegal aliens CANNOT collect Supplemental Security Income (SSI); proof of legal residency status is required to receive benefits.

    2. SSI is not paid out of the Social Security trust funds, so it does not affect the solvency of the retirement or disability programs.

    3. If anyone works illegally in the US but pays into Social Security, they still cannot collect benefits until they prove that they have obtained legal status to be present in the country.

    Some people just become so blinded with rage about the legitimate issue of illegal immigration that they refuse to understand anything which does not fit their point of view. Believe me, SSA employees are not thrilled when they have to correct decades’ worth of earnings records that were either not posted at all or posted incorrectly to someone else’s Social Security number because a former illegal alien did not have their own number while they were working. However, that does not happen until they obtain legal status and their own valid Social Security number.

    As far as our job being “easy” or “overpaid” is concerned, SSA is now serving more clients than ever (because of the aging of the Baby Boom generation) with a fraction of the staffing they had years ago.

    A Claims Representative is responsible for taking applications, reviewing and processing claims taken by themselves, other representatives and filed by claimants themselves on the Internet (which are often a horrible mess), and helping resolve problems with benefits on the phone and in person.

    I would be willing to bet that the vocal minority of the public who always say government workers are overpaid would either quit after a week or be fired in their first year as a Social Security claims representative, because of the pressure to perform all those responsibilties simultaneously. One former manager required us to answer multiple phone calls from the public on the phone while trying to take applications from other clients in person. Sheer madness!

    • eliedith

      thank you for clarifying that and teaching the public a valuable lesson

  7. Janice

    Congratulations on 80 wonderful years. We worked, we paid in, and we thank God every month when a check is automatically deposited. We are so thankful for SS.

  8. Yawo

    You’re doing great job! Keep on going to achieve each goals…

  9. Jose Galvez

    I enjoy being part of this great organization. I find a lot of satisfaction in doing my job and this is a wonderful career. I thank God for this job.

  10. S T

    Especially when compared with the VA, the SSA is much to be admired. It’s hard to believe these two agencies are in the same country. They are certainly not in the same universe. The VA should look to the SSA to see how to provide service to applicants and beneficiaries.


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