Aug 12, 2014

Effects Of Reduced Staffing At Social Security

A line out the door of a Social Security field office in Hawaii
     Social Security's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has recently issued a report on the effects of field office hour reduction at the agency. The report shows:
  • Many members of the public are unaware of the field office hour cutbacks. People regularly arrive at field offices that have closed for the day. Social Secuirty isn't doing a good job of communicating office hours and non-Social Security websites often contain misinformation on field office hours.
  • Field office managers report that reduced hours allow staff to attend training and staff meetings as well as work on their workloads, particularly complex cases.
  • Field office managers told OIG that the reduction in office hours did not reduce the number of visitors served. It just compressed them into a shorter time period.
  • Public wait times at field offices increased from 14.4 minutes in July 2011 to 30.5 minutes in November 2013. This has led to increasing complaints from the public and lines out the door of some field offices. People sometimes wait in the rain.
  • Field office appointment calendars are "usually" booked for the entire 60 day time period that the system allows.
  • Overtime allotted to the field offices has declined dramatically. This alone has had the effect of reducing field office staffing by over 4,000 work years per year.
  • Average staff on duty to handle 800 number calls declined by 833, 17%, between 2010 and 2013.


Anonymous said...

The appointment calenders being booked in many offices is misleading. Management is purposely letting calendars get way out in the future in many offices where it wasn't a problem before as a strategy to push more claimants into online claims filing.

Pretty soon, you'll be hearing employees telling claimants that "You know, if you go online, you can file your claim and it will get processed faster, otherwise you'll have to wait two months for an appointment".

Anonymous said...

It is true that management seems less concerned with the appointment calendar than they used to, but tightening up the calendar and opening more slots just moves some people from the walk-in board to the appointment board. Doesn't change the number of hours the office is open or the number of interviews that the employees need to take. Just pushes them around.

Anonymous said...

And people wonder why there are backlogs if work! How can you get anything done with that many people waiting to be seem, most if whom do not have an appointment.

Anonymous said...

Yet again, I must tell you SSA employees that your @#%$ online systems are not the answer--UNTIL YOU GET THEM TO WORK CORRECTLY! When I tried to apply for my retirement benefits, I tried online for 6 weeks before getting access, then a message told me that it could not be processed. I had to go to the local field office where it took only 10 minutes once I actually got to a human worker.

My assistant cannot submit records electronically to ODAR about 50% of the time because ERE is down for days at a time.

Get the systems to work correctly before you expect that the general public will be able to do their business with SSA online--the systems don't work--even for those of us who are relatively computer literate!

Anonymous said...

Anyone who works for SSA that reads this board has no control or impact on online services so all comments relating to "SSA employees" are misguided and you would be much better off contacting your congresswo/man.

Anonymous said...
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