Concerns From The Field
From the minutes of a conference call of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Social Security Management Associations (NCSSMA), an organization of Social Security management personnel:
- FO [Field Office] phones are still a problem and we need additional staffing for that.
- DDSs [Disability Determination Services] are releasing a lot of appeals to the FO which require back-end work.
- RZ/LI [two different types of post-eligibility reviews of Supplemental Security Income non-medical factors] goals difficult to meet.
- Walk-in visitors are very high. Waiting times are also up because resources are going to answering the phones.
- The Field is the “start and finish” of all processes, yet other components seem to be getting the staffing.
- iClaims [claims filed over the Internet] have significantly increased.
- Overall quality is a concern.
- Employees are stressed out, burned out, and in some cases don’t want to work any more OT.
- Concerns that SDW [Special Decisional Workload, a project to clear up errors in payments of benefits that have resulted in huge underpayments of benefits to claimants; SDW cases are extraordinarily complicated and time consuming and can only be undertaken by the most experienced employees and they must have extensive training] workloads will be farmed back out to the FOs.
- Cannot keep up with all the ePath [a web-based application that assists employees in completing certain SSA transactions, such as changes in mailing address, residence address, telephone number, and direct deposit] stand alone events coming from the TSCs [TeleService Centers].
- Martinez [class action lawsuit on fugitive felons] settlement and ACB [American Council of the Blind -- a class action requiring Social Security to prepare Braille notices] special notices require FO resources.
- Work CDR [Continuing Disability Review] goals and Internet goals difficult to meet.
- Staffing increases at the TSCs should focus on areas that help the Field.