From the written testimony of Rick Warsinskey, President, National Council of Social Security Management Associations(NCSSMA) an organization of Social Security managers, mostly at field offices, before the House Social Security Subcommittee yesterday:
... Every day, SSA [Social Security Administration] employees wait and watch as their computers crawl from one system’s window to another. Users watch the spinning wheel move as programs and screens attempt to load, losing valuable time that could be used to assist other customers or address workload backlogs. Around noon Eastern Time every day our system reaches peak capacity and the slowness becomes most apparent, as almost all the offices in the country are open to the public and taking claims, talking to the public on the telephone, or handling some aspect of a claimant’s record. We can demonstrate the degradation of SSA computer speed in real numbers. We surveyed our offices and found that data speed tests showed these median Megabits per Second (Mbps) speeds:
Download: 2.87 Mbps
Upload: .25 Mbps
A year ago when we surveyed the same measurements, the median speeds were: Download:
Upload: 2.0 Mbps
This degradation in data speeds supports the nearly universal feedback we are receiving that our system is slowing down significantly. It is important to note the data speeds you can typically expect to receive from cable internet service providers are now over 50 Mbps for download and 10 Mbps for upload speed. ...
Our computers often freeze or applications become inaccessible and require a reboot. It can take 10 minutes to restart a computer and get back online. We are often unable to run live video training or engage in video communications with the public due to lack of bandwidth. Once we open more than five programs on our computers, they often freeze, requiring us to reboot the system. Internet access and our e-mail communications are also excruciatingly slow.
Our online time and attendance system (WebTA), which is the system used to pay employees, periodically freezes and is often down on the day we certify payroll for employees. Additional time is spent on the telephone waiting to talk to our internal help desk to resolve computer issues that we are experiencing. The need to call the help desk will only increase as SSA expands telework and calls to resolve access issues increase.