Social Security addressing deficiencies in dealing with mail amid Covid-19

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Valerie Macon | AFP | Getty Images

Shuttered Social Security workplaces boosted mail quantity

The Social Security Administration largely shuttered its workplaces to in-person providers in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. As a outcome, beneficiaries and different individuals with inquiries needed to depend on mail and phone communication.

This “considerably elevated” the quantity of U.S. mail, with processing strained as about 90% of the company’s workers was working remotely, in keeping with the Office of the Inspector General. The investigation didn’t handle the lengthy wait instances through Social Security’s 800 phone quantity, which profit candidates and others have complained about.

An investigation by the Office of the Inspector General launched final yr discovered one program service heart nonetheless had greater than 9,000 unprocessed paperwork. Some of these paperwork had been obligatory to substantiate eligibility for profit funds.

Backlog held up key paperwork, slowed purposes

Replacement Social Security playing cards had been additionally held up, with one card heart having greater than 9,000 unprocessed purposes, final yr’s report discovered.

The mail backlog affected the monitoring and return of unique paperwork, equivalent to delivery certificates, driver’s licenses, passports and naturalization paperwork offered as proof for Social Security playing cards or profit eligibility.

Other points included massive portions of undeliverable mail, unique paperwork saved in unsecure areas, backlogs of unprocessed purposes for brand spanking new or alternative Social Security playing cards, and remittances or unnegotiated profit checks.

Notably, the Office of the Inspector General’s observations had been primarily based on visits to pick workplaces. It has not revisited these areas to ensure the mail backlogs have been processed or to confirm that the brand new mail procedures are working.

The Social Security Administration reported about 99% of its workplaces had been assembly new timeliness pointers to higher handle its mail workload as of January. However, members of the National Council of Security Management Associations have reportedly expressed considerations that these timeliness pointers could adversely have an effect on different workloads.

“We are happy that SSA has reportedly improved a number of the points recognized in our interim report and hope that SSA continues to enhance its dealing with of paperwork and mail processing,” Gail S. Ennis, inspector normal for the Social Security Administration, stated in an announcement.

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