I thought I would post some actual notes made in my firm's database recently concerning four different clients:
1) I called PC 3 [Payment Center 3, in Birmingham, AL] again [to ask why a client who was approved several months ago hasn't yet been paid], rings twice then drops. ridiculous. I checked internet to make sure I had most current #, I do. I called a different mod [part a payment center] to see if they would transfer me. on hold now. The guy who answered says # is correct. He can't get through either. Says computer says something was done 12/6/17 but all it says is diaried for mid January. They won't tell me anything until then. Why not? I did tell him fee was already approved, they don't need to fu [follow up] on that. Do that have that? He says, "oh, yes." He tried to transfer me, again rang twice and dropped.
2) t/c [telephone call] to John at Payment Center [to ask why a client who was approved several months ago hasn't yet been paid] - sat on hold for over 45 mintues to talk to someone. Called back several times this am and could get NO ONE to answer.
3) 10/12/17-attempted tc w/PC [about another client who hasn't yet been paid] (205 801-4430), still no answer. ...
10/17/17-attempted tc again w/PC, let it ring until line disconnected.
11/01/17-attempted tc w/PC (and several other x's not entered), still no answer and disconnects.
11/02/17-tc w/the main PC, they gave me a different #. When I try that one, they refer me back to the 1 I was called to begin with. Please!! Now I have a mgr's #. But of course, no answer there. ...
4) [Called] PC 3 205-801-3680. - says vm is full, transferring to attendant then says "fowarded to a vm system" and keeps repeating that cycle. Can't leave vm. I tried several different times during the day today
5) I have been calling different mods at PC 3 for 2 weeks. I cannot get anyone to answer at all. Last week, a different mod in PC3 told me that one particular MOD was having phone issues. Today, I literally called all 14 numbers (including the mod I called and spoke to last week). 12 of them rang until it disconnected. 1 recording said all agents are busy then said transferring to voicemail (but didn’t actually transfer me) and 1 is just crazy, bounces call around to several places without anyone ever picking up.I could copy many more such notes but you get the picture. Social Security's payment centers, where benefits other than Supplemental Security Income are computed and authorized, are often almost impossible to communicate with. We deal more with PC 3 than the others but they all have problems. The field offices which often have to coordinate with the payment centers in order to get benefits paid aren't much better.
This isn't happening because Social Security employees are lazy or inefficient. Of course, there are a few Social Security employees who fit in that category but no more than you would expect to find at any large institution. The problem is that there just aren't enough Social Security employees to get the work done. Work backs up. One way of trying to cope with ever increasing backlogs is to spend your time working on the backlog instead of dealing with telephone calls but many of those calls concern problem cases where the payment center has made a mistake that they're not aware that they've made.
By the way, if you work at a hearing office, don't think you have a good handle on what Social Security attorneys do. This post concerns just one of the many things we do that you would have no clue about.