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Social Safety addressing deficiencies in dealing with mail amid Covid-19

Valerie Macon | AFP | Getty Photographs

Shuttered Social Safety places of work boosted mail quantity

The Social Safety Administration principally shuttered its places of work to in-person providers 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 US mail, with processing strained as about 90% of the company’s employees was working remotely, in line 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 launched final yr discovered one program service middle nonetheless had greater than 9,000 unprocessed paperwork. A few of these paperwork have been vital to substantiate eligibility for profit funds.

Backlog held up key paperwork, slowed functions

Substitute Social Safety playing cards have 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 authentic paperwork, akin to delivery certificates, driver’s licenses, passports and naturalization paperwork offered as proof for Social Safety playing cards or profit eligibility.

Different points included giant portions of undeliverable mail, authentic paperwork saved in unsecured places, 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 have been based mostly on visits to pick places of work. It has not revisited these places to verify 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 have 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 issues that these timeliness tips could 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 basic for the Social Safety Administration, stated in a statements.

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