A report on the implementation of the 1965 amendments to the Social Security Act. Beginning March 1981, the agency released 30,000 cases each month to the state DDSs. Over 3.3 million disability claims alone are expected, a 27 percent increase over FY 2008. SSA also recognized the need to improve the quality and consistency of the decision process between the hearing offices and the state DDSs (SSA 1982a, 6). Baltimore, MD: SSA. On April 6, 1937, the Board abandoned the concept of district and branch offices in favor of "field offices," all equally under the authority of the regional representative, but varying in size and staff according to "compensable load," presumably meaning the estimated number of covered workers (Davis 1950, 126). ———. Backups, and some active files, were still maintained on 250,000 reels of tape (SSA 1986, 22). The Board paid neither a salary check nor a per diem for the training period (SSA 1975b). ———. ———. OASIS special edition. The states responded with any additions and deletions (SSA 1975c, 37). Other diseases and conditions were to be considered for future addition to the list of Compassionate Allowances. 2009l. The notices provided a second opportunity to request either an appeal or payment continuation during appeal. In 1999, SSA developed a "PolicyNet" site where employees could access all of the agency's program policy and procedural instructions, including POMS. One reel of magnetic tape could hold the information from almost 32,400 punched cards, and the Summary Card File alone had 120 million records to be converted to tape (SSA 1960c, 20–21). However, claims still received a 100-percent review and payment authorization in the Claims Division (SSA n.d. b). On July 16, 1946, the Social Security Board was abolished. The General Accounting Office (GAO) took the position that a long-standing federal statute prohibited federal officials from assisting citizens in the prosecution of claims against the government. Reviewing some of the major challenges that SSA has faced over the years, and how SSA has met them, seems appropriate as the agency prepares to meet its current challenges. At a test site in Virginia that began transmitting electronic records via NHIN in early 2009, processing time was significantly reduced. 1997a. Sanctions precluded drug addicts and alcoholics from receiving payment in any month they refused treatment; they were also required to receive payments through a representative payee. ———. SSA internal documents. ———. In the present day, over 58 million citizens take advantage of its benefits. 110-715. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/history/oasis/december1981.pdf. The responses provided SSA with correct SSNs or allowed SSA to issue an SSN in 501,000 instances. By May 2006, the number of outreach events was up to 72,000. Each field office established "itinerant stations" (today called contact stations) in remote communities whose residents could not travel to the field office without difficulty. By FY 1987, SSA was installing about 1,000 terminals per month. Social Security's new Retirement Estimator rated the federal government's best online service. The failure to process CDRs continued when SSA had to turn its attention to new SSI disability claims and the SSI conversion rollback (SSA 1995d). Its findings enabled SSA to develop a workable policy (Lowrey 1955, 5). 1986. Today, SSA still uses an AWR system. Annual report of the Social Security Administration, fiscal year 1977. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/history/ml.html. The effort required to create the Medicare program while simultaneously implementing the OASDI benefit portion of the 1965 legislation was staggering. Still, the offices were overflowing with staff and claimants. ———. They credit this early training with imbuing employees, from top executives to clericals, with a fierce loyalty to the Social Security program and a belief in the social philosophy it represented. The Office of Systems set up a Model District Office in the Baltimore headquarters, and the Office of Operations brought in field office employees from across the country to participate in testing the new software system. 1996b. Altmeyer, Arthur J. Field office employees queried the SSI database 106,348 times the first week of January, and by February 19, queries had climbed to 1.26 million. A poster informing the public about the 1939 amendments. SSA was not advised of the legislation until December 9, 1969 (SSA 1995c). Having campaigned on a platform opposing big government, President Ronald Reagan took steps to reduce the size of the federal workforce in the 1980s. Under a federal-state partnership that exists even today, each state designated an agency to make a determination on disability for applications filed in the local BOASI field offices. Social Security Visions and Revisions, 2005 87 Creation: The Social Security Act President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act, at approximately 3:30 pm EST on August 14, 1935. System demand exceeded 60,000 during its first week and would soon reach 80,000. En español | Social Security is a critical federal program that promotes income stability among households in the United States. By April 1940, 63 more field offices were opened, including some 1-person branch offices (today known as resident stations), bringing the total number of field offices to 460. SSA undertook to review all cases in which DA&A was a factor (except in New York City, where a sample review of the coding showed records were essentially correct). In 1946, the New Orleans area office was moved to Birmingham, and a sixth area office was opened in Kansas City (SSA 1952b; Davis 1950, 127). 1978a. In 1975, SSI old-age claims declined 29.4 percent from 1974, but SSI blind and disabled claims were up 24.3 percent, to 1.2 million (House Ways and Means Committee 1976, 32). Pogge, Oscar C. 1952. OASIS News 12(1). The Social Security Act in operation: A practical guide to the federal and federal-state Social Security programs. By using attrition to reduce its numbers, SSA created staffing imbalances. A brief history of the Social Security Administration: Issued on the occasion of the Social Security Administration's Independent Agency Ceremony. Once the initial problems were under control, SSA had to begin SSI eligibility "redeterminations" of all recipients, starting with the state conversion cases. Payment center employees worked nearly a million hours of overtime during FY 1967. He quickly reassessed earlier plans to improve the disability process and put his own stamp on SSA's efforts. Many Congressmen, the public, and the media considered the rate too high and questioned the accuracy of the review determinations. Staruch, George. At the same time it was enrolling beneficiaries, SSA had to contact every hospital to certify that it met Medicare requirements and complied with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. District offices. The agency had failed to meet 10 of its 14 disability-related performance goals for FY 2001—and met none in the hearing and appeals process (SSA 2001a). BOASI used a special technique known as the "Why survey," in which all Bureau employees participated over several months. Oral history collections: John J. Corson. The 7-year plan also called for streamlining the CDR process (SSA 2002b, 4). Initial enrollment for Part D ran from November 15, 2005, through May 15, 2006. When the commissioner requested the $479 million needed for support systems modernization, Congress concurred (SSA 1995d; SSA 1995h). SSA established a CDR Task Force to formulate plans for reinstating CDR reviews under the provisions of the 1984 legislation. Commissioner Robert Ball later attributed the Agency's success in implementing Medicare to three factors: an existing nationwide organization that was disciplined and experienced in dealing with the public, had high morale, and was eager to do the job; a group of central planners and leaders with enthusiasm, imagination, and quality leadership skills; and an almost complete delegation of authority and responsibility to SSA from higher levels (Gluck and Reno 2001, 9–10). Congress required SSA to review the decisions made on childhood disability claims under the post-Zebley standards within 1 year of enactment and to remove children from the rolls if they could not qualify under the new legislatively mandated standards. Gluck, M.G., and Reno, V., eds. Eventually, 23 governors declared moratoria on processing CDRs in their states (SSA 1995g). After publishing a medical improvement review standard as required by legislation, SSA resumed CDR processing in January 1986. There is no single defining characteristic that identifies this group; they are simply those who, for one reason or another, fell between the cracks of the definition of qualified noncitizens. In January 1983, Congress also took action to help beneficiaries whose disability benefits were terminated; P.L. In 2009, SSA processed 271 million wage items (SSA 2009e, 7). These new workloads were superimposed on substantial increases in the volume of work already seen in payment centers over the preceding few years (SSA n.d. a). In addition, SSA identified cases that were likely to be allowed and electronically transferred them back to the DDSs for further review; the DDSs allowed nearly 15,000 of these claims in FY 2009, eliminating the need for a hearing (Astrue 2009). SSA internal document. The decision-making process was very labor intensive. Rust, David A. Some of these states included state DDS employees in the furloughs even though SSA pays their salaries and all DDS operating costs. During the 1970s, SSA's computer technology deteriorated for a number of reasons. Because of the complexity of the SSI program and the many variations of federally administered state supplements, 100 separate software systems with nearly 1 million individual instructions were required, making the new system one of the largest and most complex computer operations in the country at that time (Derthick 1990, 86). The new 800 number service was available each weekday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pressoffice/pr/qdd-process-pr.htm. (May 23). The new law extended eligibility to students, divorced wives, and widows aged 60 and liberalized the retirement test and the definition of disability. Between 1990 and 1996, the number of SSI child recipients increased from about 350,000 to more than 965,000. SSA also accelerated the update of its medical listings, which are key factors in determining whether an individual qualifies for disability benefits. There was no air conditioning. Baltimore, MD: SSA. Field offices held 37 exhibits at national conventions and created many new radio and TV spots in the first half of 1973. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/history/oasis/january1984.pdf. On June 23, 1972, the Wilkes-Barre DOC, which had just assumed responsibility for card punching and keying operations for the central issuance of SSNs, was closed by flood waters caused by Hurricane Agnes. As this was during the Great Depression, people were glad to have a job even under these working conditions. More than 953,000 of the initial claims were for disability benefits (House Ways and Means Committee 1975, 25). The study found that a large percentage of the "nonqualified" noncitizens actually were in an immigration category that would have qualified them, but for a number of reasons, they had not contacted SSA. SSA suspended Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs)7 for 2 to 3 years to devote resources to the BL claims, a decision that would have serious consequences later (SSA 1995g; SSA 1979, 25). The Claims Correspondence and Control Section (later known as the Control Division) was responsible for keeping the records. Clearing the disability claims backlogs: The Social Security Administration's progress and new challenges arising from the recession (November 19). Miners filed some 80,000 claims in January 1970 alone, and 172,000 by July 1, 1970. SSA News Release archives. Social Security Bulletin 1(6): 24–28. Oral history collections: Robert Ball. ———. ———. In November 1936 the Board assigned headquarters staff to 56 Bureau field offices, covering all but one of the cities where the Post Office Department had set up its "central accounting" offices. Social Security Administration, 1983 annual report to the Congress. SSA also opened seven new teleservice centers (TSCs) in FY 1973 and eight regular TSCs and seven "mini-TSCs" in FY 1974 (SSA 1973b; SSA 1974b, 4; Derthick 1990, 119; SSA 1994b). However, covering farmers caused spikes in claims. The Social Security Act is America's foremost social welfare law, designed to counteract the dangers of old age, poverty, disability and unemployment through a range of government programs and benefits. Medicare beneficiaries with Medicaid coverage were deemed entitled to the subsidy. The PSCs and the Office of Disability Operations also needed TAP terminals, both to view the online screens for processing claims for which the field offices could not trigger payments and to process adjustments to payments (Willeford 1985). Social Security Administration 1987 annual report to the Congress. Therefore, these were of a different character than usual claims against the government, which were payable out of general revenues. 1987. 1985a. SSA is also developing a new occupational information system to replace the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, created by DOL. Social Security continues to make progress expediting backlogged disability cases; limited resources under a continuing resolution could slow momentum in FY 2009. The Social Security Act is a law enacted in 1935 to create a system of transfer payments in which younger, working people support older, retired people. Area offices worked extensive overtime to compute the benefit increases that resulted from the 1954 amendments. SSA also initiated "simultaneous development" of disability claims in field offices and state agencies (SSA 1970). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. SSA missed processing deadlines regularly, even with the machines operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Experience had shown that the processes of gathering evidence and making the entitlement decision were so closely related that in most cases, field employees were making the same judgments and decisions as adjudicators. Hearing offices can also access the information, and are fully integrated into the electronic processing of disability claims (Gerry 2006). Based on the leads collected by volunteers, SSA had by the end of 1973 contacted 107,000 individuals, of whom 42,000 filed claims for benefits. 2009j. In March, SSA set up 4 temporary New York City interviewing facilities, furnishing them with the needed supplies, equipment, furniture, and 250 employees within 2½ weeks (SSA 1974b, 4; SSA 1975c, 35–36; Hensley 1994). Still, by FY 1975, new hearings backlogs had developed. 2002b. ———. The Board also faced pressure from Congressmen to accept political appointments. Testimony before the Senate Committee on Finance. Hurricane Katrina actions. However, even when field office claims representatives were authorized to trigger payments, technological limitations still required manual handling in the payment centers—which by 1976 had been renamed program service centers (PSCs). In FY 2009, Attorney Adjudicators issued over 36,000 favorable decisions. Garcia. For those whose payments had ceased and who had not appealed, a second appeal opportunity was offered. Oral history collections: Manny Levine. SSA then began SSI Outreach phase II, sending an information leaflet and questionnaire to 5.2 million OASDI beneficiaries with payment amounts low enough to be within the SSI income limit (SSA 1974b, 5). Each day, DAO recorded about 715,000 accounts, with each card-punch operator keying in some 2,000 workers' wage reports (SSA 1992b, 15). The Network has also been rated by Dalbar Financial Services, Inc.—a provider of market research on customer service—as the best 800 number in the nation for courteous, knowledgeable, and efficient service. Once again, SSA kept field offices open evenings and weekends to accommodate the applicants. At hearings, about 40 percent of claimants were represented by attorneys. 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