Service Cuts, Computer Problems Plague Social Security’s 79th Birthday
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 17, 2014 - Recent reports slam the federal agency for reduction in staff, operating hours and computer systems that do not work.
The Social Security Administration should have reason to celebrate. After all, August 14, 2014, marked the 79th anniversary of the day when President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, which ushered in the landmark entitlement program.
However, the agency’s birthday was less than cheerful, coming on the heels of an audit that criticized the SSA for deciding to cut staffing and reduce its service hours. At the same time, the SSA learned that its new multimillion-dollar computer system may very well have turned out to be an expensive failure.
According to the audit produced by the SSA’s own Inspector General’s Office, “overall service has suffered” because of the agency’s 2011 decision to trim its staff by nearly 11,000 employees and reduce its weekly field office hours from 35 to 27. The audit found that the end results of the agency’s cutbacks were felt as soon as fiscal year 2013, when “the public waited longer for a decision on their disability claim, to talk to a representative on the National 800-Number and to schedule an appointment” at a field office.
“The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits can already take a significant amount of time and become rather complex,” said David W. Magann, an attorney in Tampa, Florida who specializes in disability law. “The Inspector General’s findings represent unwelcome news for disabled Americans who need a speedy resolution of their claims.”
Compounding the critical assessment from the Inspector General’s Office, an internal report has concluded that the SSA’s new $300 million computer system, which was designed to handle its disability claims, does not work.
The agency laid the groundwork for the new system six years ago, when its aging computers were swamped by disability claims. But the recent report found that delays and mismanagement still plague the new system. And SSA officials have not been able to answer queries on when the new system will be up and running.
“The Social Security Administration may have thought that its new computer system could make up for its decision to cut back service, but that assumption was dependent on the system actually working,” Magann said. “Instead, already long wait times for the processing of disability claims are getting even longer.”
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618
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