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SSA Customer Service Cuts Garner Attention

2014 June 24
by Steve Perrigo

When SSA Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin reported on service delivery challenges in March 2013, she indicated that tough choices and trade-offs were ahead and now the evidence is starting to come in.

Numerous media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal and Money Magazine, are reporting on the impact that staffing losses, office hour reductions and customer service constraints at SSA have had upon their customer service.

This follows last week’s hearing by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging that revealed additional data on workload challenges after studying SSA field office closures and analyzing SSA performance metrics, such as:

  • Since 2010, 64 full service SSA field offices have been shuttered, the most ever in a five year period.
  • 533 limited service SSA contact stations have been closed since 2010.
  • Field office staffing fell 13.8 percent from 2011 to 2014, a loss of over 4,000 employees.
  • Nearly 12,000 visitors each week are waiting two hours or more to receive assistance.
  • The average waiting time for all visitors is approximately 31.5 minutes.
  • 43 percent of visitors requesting an appointment to file for disability or retirement benefits must wait more than three weeks to be seen, compared to 10 percent last fiscal year.
  • Telephone waiting times have more than tripled in the past two years, likely the result of SSA’s 800 number staff declining over 22 percent since 2011.

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