Jan 27, 2014

Out Of Control Bureaucracy

     The Social Security Administration had 3,500 employees at its Baltimore offices near the Lexington Market in 2001. That's down to 1,600 employees now. They'll soon be moving to a newer, smaller office complex in uptown Baltimore. A local merchant remembered that at noon there used to be "massive amount of people" coming out of the current buildings. It's down to a "little trickle" now.
     The reduction in staffing didn't happen because Social Security moved those employees elsewhere. It happened because Social Security's workforce declined.


Anonymous said...

It's about time. Area director's offices should be next. They should not be staying at Taj Mahal while local offices are being closed or downsized. I believe SSA is in trouble if these moves are being done. SSA should notify the public as soon as possible that future benefits will be cut and that financial planning is essential. Welcome to our new reality.

Anonymous said...

if you think reducing levels of middle management at SSA are going to reduce service, you obviously have never worked at SSA.

Honestly, getting rid of the chaff at SSA is a long overdue process and will only improve long-term service.

Anonymous said...

The SSA facility in question is a teleservice center; which has likely become less important as more interaction with SSA can be done online. SSA headquarters in Baltimore is still quite sizeable at close to 13,000 employees.

Moreover, this move has been planned for ten years according to the article.

Anonymous said...

Technology and the Internet are reducing the need for employees to handle "routine" matters.

According to an earlier posting on this blog, 50% of retirement applications are now done online. I wonder what percentage of disability applications are done online. Of course, we already require representatives to file disability appeals online.

The reduction of the workforce because of technology just mirrors what is happening in the private sector.

Anonymous said...

There is a glaring misconception in some of these comments. Just because claims are filed online does not mean that people are not needed to process them. Each claim filed online must be processed by a person. Since they are filed online, there is less chance that potential mistakes or discrepancies will be caught or addressed--just do what needs to be done to clear it. Reduction in personnel results in loss of ability to address other needs--answering phones, addressing potential fraud, giving explanations to confused beneficiaries. Those who think that the computers will take care of everything have no grasp whatsoever of the complexity of SSA's workload. SSI is not done online at all, and the 800# is incapable of dealing with it. So, an out-of-control welfare program spirals farther out of control.

Anonymous said...

I have also be flabbergasted by the comments of SSA employees that online services will greatly improve service. I began to set up an "account" with SSA several months before attaining full retirement age. For months, the site would not let me on. Then, one day, I got access, but the site then informed me that my application could not be processed with no indication as to why there was a problem. Finally, I had to go to my local office and wait 45 minutes to get face time with an efficient worker who got me processed within a few minutes.

By the way, while I love ERE to submit my clients' documents, it keeps changing, and it is often "down," just as a hearing might be imminent and we've finally obtained records for which we've waited for months.

Before online services will "solve" SSA's problems, the bugs have to be worked out.

Anonymous said...

Electronic accounts certainly need improving. However, the representative using an online account to submit documents and track his clients' cases is probably not going to call the teleservice center in Baltimore; instead, he will call the local hearing office.

A reduction in the number of employees of the teleservice center, which has a poor reputation for the accuracy of the information they provide and a poor reputation for actually properly documenting phone calls (many of you have likely had clients tell you they called the 800# to report information but SSA claims to have no record of the call) is not a great loss.