Social Security Administration showing its age

The Social Security Administration was created in 1935 as a way to help retiring and disabled workers avoid poverty. The SSA recently turned 79-years-old, and provides many necessary services to the American public. This includes approving Social Security disability benefits and distributing retirement benefits.

Recently, however, the SSA has left some people expecting more. In 2011, hours for SSA field offices were cut from 35 hours a week to 27. Additionally, staff levels were cut and almost 11,000 positions have been eliminated since 2011.

This means that the public has fewer opportunities to resolve issues at SSA field offices. In many cases, this cut has led to longer wait times. In some offices there have been reports of people waiting out in the cold and rain to get a chance to speak with SSA officials. Additionally, the wait time for disability claim approvals and talking to a representative on the phone have also increased.

SSA representatives, however, have not seen their hours cut. The cuts were supposed to give them time to process paperwork without using overtime. There are mixed reports about whether this plan is working. While overtime costs have been cut, workers are still spending large amounts of time dealing with the backlog of people showing up to field offices.

Many worry that the problems facing the SSA will only get worse as the number of baby boomers reaching retirement age rises. With increasing demand and reducing service many wonder how people will be able to get prompt service on their SSA needs. With increasing pressure on the SSA, people need — more than ever — to understand their legal rights to disability benefits. Without the right help, people may find that they do not get the benefits they need and deserve.

Source: The Washington Post, “Social Security marks 79th birthday with declining service,” Joe Davidson, Aug. 14, 2014

Source: The Washington Post, “Social Security marks 79th birthday with declining service,” Joe Davidson, Aug. 14, 2014


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