Social Security Budget Update: How will agency services be effected?
The current budget shortfall has significantly impacted the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the services they are to provide to the public. A number of actions have already been taken by the agency to reduce costs.
Those actions include:
- Continuation of the hiring freeze (except for the hearing level) that began in July 2010
- Delaying the opening of 8 new hearing offices
- Closing 160 temporary remote hearing sites that serviced claimants in communities distant from permanent hearing sites
- Postponing systems and information technology projects that would have improved productivity in the future
- Closing field offices to the public 30 minutes early each day
By the end of this year (2012), SSA will have lost 9,000 employees in three years.
SSA recently completed their Agency Strategic Plan (ASP) for 2013-2016. The plan identifies four goals:
- Deliver quality disability decisions and services;
- Provide quality service to the public;
- Preserve the public's trust in SSA programs; and
- Strengthen SSA workforce and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, to address future services that the agency may or may not continue providing, SSA is seeking public comment as they prepare for developing a service delivery plan for 2013 through 2016. You may review their request for input and response by visiting: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/07/27/2012-18269/service-delivery-plan#p-3
The GENEX Social Security Program will be providing comment. We highly encourage other individuals and organizations to respond as well. The services currently provided by SSA that they consider as "not core to their mission" are none-the-less "essential" services for the public.
With the projected increase in SS claims and other workloads which the agency currently performs there must be either outsourcing and/or web based applications developed.
If you have questions or comments about SSA programs and more notably Social Security Disability please let us know.