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The Social Safety Administration principally shuttered its places of work to in-person companies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. In consequence, beneficiaries and different individuals with inquiries needed to depend on mail and phone communication.
This “considerably elevated” the amount of U.S. mail, with processing strained as about 90% of the company’s employees was working remotely, in keeping with the Workplace of the Inspector Normal. The investigation didn’t handle the lengthy wait instances by way of Social Safety’s 800 phone quantity, which profit candidates and others have complained about.
An investigation by the Workplace of the Inspector Normal released last year discovered one program service middle nonetheless had greater than 9,000 unprocessed paperwork. A few of these paperwork had been needed to verify eligibility for profit funds.
Alternative Social Safety playing cards had been additionally held up, with one card middle having greater than 9,000 unprocessed functions, final yr’s report discovered.
The mail backlog affected the monitoring and return of unique paperwork, corresponding to start certificates, driver’s licenses, passports and naturalization paperwork supplied as proof for Social Safety playing cards or profit eligibility.
Different points included giant portions of undeliverable mail, unique paperwork saved in unsecure areas, backlogs of unprocessed functions for brand new or substitute Social Safety playing cards, and remittances or unnegotiated profit checks.
Notably, the Workplace of the Inspector Normal’s observations had been based mostly on visits to pick out places of work. 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 Safety Administration reported about 99% of its places of work had been assembly new timeliness tips to raised handle its mail workload as of January. Nevertheless, members of the Nationwide Council of Safety Administration Associations have reportedly expressed considerations that these timeliness tips might adversely have an effect on different workloads.
“We’re happy that SSA has reportedly improved among 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 common for the Social Safety Administration, mentioned in an announcement.