Almost two years after the Social Security Administration closed its 1,200 area workplaces to the general public in March 2020 as a result of Covid-19 pandemic, the company says it has no plans to reopen its doorways for in-person conferences any time quickly.
“We need to offer you an replace on our preparations for returning our staff to native Social Security workplaces, a course of referred to as reentry,” the company mentioned in a press release issued on its web site Wednesday.
“You might have seen a proposed reentry date of Jan. 3, 2022, within the draft reentry plan that we offered to our unions, or within the media,” the assertion mentioned. “Whereas some executives reentered on Dec. 1, we’ve not set a reentry date for the remainder of the company.”
In Could 2021, SSA unveiled a brand new “specific interview” course of to assist people apply for authentic or substitute Social Security playing cards and submit essential proof of id in individual. However the majority of the general public should proceed to depend on the company’s revamped and expanded on-line companies to use for Social Security and Medicare advantages and to entry associated vital info, similar to estimates of future advantages.
“One of the simplest ways to achieve us is on-line at SSA.gov, or by calling our Nationwide 800 Quantity (800-772-1213) or an area Social Security workplace,” the SSA mentioned within the assertion issued Wednesday. “At the moment, please keep in mind that we are able to solely present in-person service by appointment just for restricted, vital points.”
The company mentioned it continues to carry voluntary hearings by on-line video and cellphone and is taking steps to extend in-person assist for folks unable to finish their enterprise on-line or by cellphone.
Greater than 64 million retirees, disabled employees and their households obtain Social Security advantages every month. A variety of them have questions, however a lot of their calls go unanswered.
On the request of Congress to judge SSA’s phone service in the course of the pandemic, an inner investigation discovered that the Social Security Administration obtained over 151 million calls at its area workplaces and the nationwide 800-number throughout fiscal yr 2020 (Oct. 1, 2019 to Sept. 30, 2020). SSA dealt with over half of these calls by a mix of calls answered by SSA staff and addressed by automated companies, the audit discovered.
“The rise in area workplace calls resulted in elevated busy messages and wait instances towards the top of FY 2020,” the report mentioned. “SSA adjusted nationwide 800-number operations in the course of the pandemic to scale back wait instances and the variety of callers who obtain a busy message,” the report mentioned. “Nationwide 800-number efficiency started to say no towards the top of the fiscal yr, although it was nonetheless higher than pre-pandemic efficiency.”
To cut back wait instances, enhance caller expertise and guarantee extra calls are dealt with, SSA employed further 800-number employees, modified automated service choices and plans to implement a brand new phone system, the audit report mentioned.
However should you’re on the lookout for an in-person assembly with SSA, you’ll have a protracted wait.
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