How The Social Security Administration Adapted To The Pandemic

Pamela Kweller RSSA Staff


The Commissioner of Social Security, Andrew Saul recently released a statement about the current state of the Social Security Administration.

Over a year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic took effect and along with countless other establishments, Social Security offices closed and were no longer available to the public. The Social Security Administration had to adapt to meet the needs of the public as well as its employees.

Throughout the last year, even with a pandemic, the SSA has made many improvements to the services they provide. By adding over 6,000 frontline employees, they were able to handle more volume much quicker.

The SSA’s 1-800 number representatives handled 1.6 million more calls than they did the previous year, while cutting down the average wait time.

Telephone service at local offices improved as well. Local office representatives answered a staggering 13 million more calls than the previous year, while cutting down the average wait time from 24 minutes to just 3 minutes.

A silver lining to the closure of the physical offices is that the SSA has learned that many of the tele-services they now provide are efficient and effective and the SSA may continue these services even when local offices reopen. Saul said, “We will continue to engage our managers, employees, and unions on ways we could use telework to improve customer service and other issues.”

The SSA is now testing out new services and procedures to continue improving their work with the public. They are currently testing out video appointments for replacing Social Security cards as well as testing out drop boxes and express appointments to bring in documentation.

The SSA website also has many added online tools and resources for the public to use. The website has a redesigned Retirement Benefits Portal, an online Message Center, and an online payment system. Learn more about SSA updates here.

This is a reminder that while the SSA provides important information, SSA representatives are not permitted to provide advice. For individualized Social Security claiming guidance you can work with an Registered Social Security Analyst.