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social security act today

Keeping abreast of the latest technology on a restricted budget has also been a problem. BOASI had 11 regional offices, 584 district offices, and 3,541 contact stations (previously called itinerant stations). SSA was tasked with deducting Part D premiums from Social Security payments and administering the low-income subsidy (LIS) program. 1964a. Oral history collections: John Ritter. 1996e. Commissioner Astrue extends Social Security's quick disability determination nationwide: Final rule will accelerate benefits to those deemed clearly disabled. In addition, SSA set up a central office Systems Planning and Development Work Group with representatives from all SSA components to discuss SSI activities and to initiate systems development (SSA 1973b, 5; House Ways and Means Committee 1974, 38; SSA 1996b; SSA 1994a). 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). 1938. In the 1990s, the Appeals Council was also experiencing difficulties. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pressoffice/pr/hearings-backlog-pr.htm. 1984b. After punching, the cards were sent through a series of special machines that used electrical circuits to permit sorting in any desired order, producing duplicates, printing the information represented by the punched holes, tabulating or summarizing the information, and checking duplicate cards to ascertain that they matched the originals (Wyatt and Wandel 1937, 119). OASIS 6(9): 11–13, 23. By 2006, the electronic folder housed over 36.5 million records and was the world's largest repository of electronic medical records (Gerry 2006). In June 1938, officials bragged "This film is so compact that the entire file of 40 million photographed SS-5s is stored in 10 ordinary letter-size file cabinets" (Fay and Wasserman 1938, 25). Because of this study and the GAO reports, SSA selected a random sample of DI beneficiaries for CDRs to assess criteria for establishing diaries, assumptions about the probability of medical improvement and return to work, and the accuracy of monthly disability payments. The Social Security Act — 1935 The Social Security Act of 1935 is one of the most important pieces of legislation in American history. Baltimore, MD: SSA. Szymendera, Scott. On February 12, 2007, Michael J. Astrue was sworn in as SSA Commissioner. More than three million people apply for Medicare Prescription Drug Help. In September 1976, BDI used over 17,000 hours overtime weekly (McKenna 1976). The access goal of 95 percent of callers getting through within 5 minutes was lowered to 92 percent, as SSA simply lacked the staff numbers to maintain the higher target (Apfel 2000). However, SSA retained responsibility for the BL beneficiaries who filed before then—a caseload numbering 338,385 miners, their dependents, and survivors as late as September 1983 (House Ways and Means Committee 1974, 3; SSA 1984a, 4). Each strip began with a 3-digit entry based on the Russell Soundex System (in which all surnames having the same basic consonants are grouped together), followed by the individual's surname, given name, middle initial, and SSN. The demand for defense-related office space in the Washington, D.C., area peaked just as a new building intended to house and centralize Social Security's headquarters was completed. Eventually, 23 governors declared moratoria on processing CDRs in their states (SSA 1995g). 1993. Christgau, Victor. Despite these pessimistic as… A report on the implementation of the 1965 amendments to the Social Security Act. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/legislation/testimony_031406.html. At the same time, SSA faced widespread retirements in its own ranks. In 1978, SSA's newest computer was 14 years old. A compromise was reached: A pilot project kept all the records in Baltimore's Candler Building, but broke them into 12 sets based on the regional designations. SSA's work was further complicated by legislative changes made after enactment of the 1972 amendments. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/history/orals/balloralhistory.html. The bill increases the minimum benefit amount for individuals who worked for more than 10 years by creating an alternative minimum benefit. ———. SSA funded a substantial increase in state DDS staffing to complete these reviews. This period coincided with the 1936 presidential campaign, and the Board was concerned about the potential for misconception and hostility toward the program (Wyatt and Wandel 1937, 30–31). Louis.) Still, as of October 1, 2008, 24 percent of SSA's employees were eligible to retire, and by 2018 that figure is projected to climb to 50 percent (SSA 2009f). Reportedly, the Reagan administration had wanted even larger SSA staff cuts (SSA 1996a). Agency employees have a very well-defined sense of the agency's mission, and SSA constantly strives to improve its service to the public. Social Security numbers issued: A 20-year review. SSA's computer systems and high-speed communications equipment had failed to perform as well as needed (House Ways and Means Committee 1976, 35). By providing field employees with the earnings record and having them complete the determination form previously executed by the adjudicator, SSA eliminated some handling in the Claims Division. ———. To mitigate the impact of staff losses and to improve efficiency, SSA took steps such as expanding the use of telephone interviews. SSA continued to add new recipients to the SSI rolls even as it sought to straighten out the payments for those already entitled. SSA employees had to contact thousands of disability applicants to reconstruct their folders (SSA 1973b, 5). Annual Report, U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. SSA took 523,000 BL claims for DOL in FY 1973 and 556,000 in FY 1974 (SSA 1974b, 24). For the first implementation stage, the Office of Operations selected the downtown Baltimore and the York, Pennsylvania field offices to pilot the new software and hardware. President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation designating March 1966 as "National Medicare Enrollment Month." Social Security Bulletin 15(1): 3–14. SSA News Release (February 3). The number of beneficiaries grew from 9.1 million in 1956 to almost 12.5 million in 1958. In 2010, the Social Security Administration (SSA) celebrates the 75th anniversary of the passage of the Social Security Act. A number of schemes were considered. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. 1986. Baltimore, MD: SSA, Office of the Inspector General. In FY 2010, SSA plans to place 280 new employees in Virginia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. SSA immediately launched a full-scale outreach effort to locate families of the victims. Oral history collections: Manny Levine. ———. The payment center work regimen had become antiquated and unwieldy, and was not equal to the new demands (Bowers and Korycki 1970, 28–29; SSA 1996a). In September 1991, an individual who worked at the Western PSC in Richmond, California, for a firm under contract to SSA died of Legionnaire's disease. From October 1986 until May 1988, SSA assigned original numbers to almost 10 million dependents aged 5 to 18 and issued over 7 million replacement Social Security cards (SSA 1988). Social security is the way it is for good reasons, and any changes will be like pulling on a thread and unraveling the sweater. Testimony before the Senate Committee on Finance. To procure systems modernization funding, Commissioner Svahn candidly disclosed the critical state of SSA's systems. Changes for conversion cases submitted by states and counties had not been processed. SSA estimated that about 500,000 of these individuals would lose their SSI eligibility (SSA n.d. b). The task force came up with a plan to prioritize the CDRs based on the likelihood of medical improvement. Social Security annual report to the Congress for fiscal year 1981. 1981. SSA mailed a scannable "Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs" to almost 19 million potentially eligible Medicare beneficiaries on a staggered basis between May 27 and August 16, 2005. The master punch card was also used in the earnings-posting operation to establish an earnings ledger for each individual. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pressoffice/pr/online-retirement-estimator-pr.htm. Furthermore, a civil service register of eligible applicants was not yet available. By 2008, SSA was averaging over 160,000 visitors, processing over 26,500 initial claims, and holding nearly 2,500 hearings per workday (McMahon 2008). To ensure that beneficiaries continued to receive their OASDI and SSI payments, SSA also invoked an immediate payment procedure that permitted on-the-spot disbursements to those who could not access their benefit checks. 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. The Dallas Regional Office opened a temporary Field Office Support Unit in its training center to assist with claims. A 2-week basic training course emphasized the general economic background of the act. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v28n3/v28n3p3.pdf. The real problems were in the payment centers. As a result, SSA opened another DOC in Salinas to provide backup in case of another disaster (SSA 1976, 7). Initial enrollment for Part D ran from November 15, 2005, through May 15, 2006. Whether implementing complex legislation in short timeframes or coping with natural disasters, SSA has found innovative ways to overcome problems and has evolved to meet society's changing needs. In May 1972, SSA began selecting cases for DOFA based on "conspicuous characteristics;" DOFA was used in 67 percent of cases by June 1972, and in 74 percent of cases by 1974 (House Ways and Means Committee 1973, 8; SSA 1974b, 16). Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/supplement/2008/index.html. Baltimore, MD: SSA, Office of Advanced Systems. The Board had to decide whether its records should be centralized in a single location. The Social Security Administration and information technology—special report, OTA-CIT-311. ———. The 1980s brought more legislative changes for SSA to implement, beginning with the Disability Amendments of 1980 (discussed below) and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, which made major changes to Social Security, SSI, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and other programs affecting SSA. Pending claims at field offices were up 86.5 percent, DDS claims went up 53.9 percent, and BDI workloads increased 40.2 percent (House Ways and Means Committee 1975, 23). In addition, SSA budgeted for about 233,000 hours of overtime per week during 1974 (SSA 1975c, 35; SSA 1995h; SSA 1994b; Hensley 1994). 3 A trading zone is the area beyond an urban area whose residents regularly trade with merchants within the urban area. On February 3, 1997, SSA began mailing notices (including an INS fact sheet on citizenship) to approximately 900,000 noncitizens whose SSI eligibility might be affected by the new criteria. 1973b. SSA also continued to improve its handling of the SSI workload. SSA issued its Plan for a New Disability Claim Process on September 7, 1994 (SSA n.d. b; Harmon and others 2000). Congress' original intent was for SSI to establish a national system with uniform payments and rules, but it soon became evident that this would disadvantage many current recipients in states with higher costs of living and higher welfare payments. However, by July 1936, the regional representatives were given full supervisory authority over all the offices in their regions (Davis 1950, 125–126). At a test site in Virginia that began transmitting electronic records via NHIN in early 2009, processing time was significantly reduced. 1937. With the advent of SSI, a 100-percent review was no longer operationally feasible, and it was reduced to a sample performed in special Claims Review Sections located across the nation (SSA 1995f; SSA 1995g). SSA sent the study results to congressional staff and convinced the appropriate members of Congress to also "grandfather in" nonqualified noncitizens who had received SSI prior to the enactment of the Welfare Reform Act. At the time, the normal accounting practice was to keep a ledger account for each individual. SSA also developed a Future Workforce Transition Plan. It took until February 1997 for SSA to issue new SSI childhood disability regulations complying with the Welfare Reform legislation. ———. No date a. Once the initial problems were under control, SSA had to begin SSI eligibility "redeterminations" of all recipients, starting with the state conversion cases. 1960b. SSA also doubled the number of cases reviewed (SSA 1983, 6–7; SSA n.d. b). By the end of January 1940, DAO had established almost 49.6 million worker accounts, plus more than 1.8 million Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) employee account numbers. Claims Modernization Project/Field Office Systems Enhancement: An overview. It was not until December 18, 1973—only 2 weeks before implementation—that the last of the states made its final decision (Derthick 1990). SSA has relied on the dictionary to determine whether claimants can do their usual work, or any other work in the U.S. economy. On July 1, 1956, the earnings posting operation changed from an 80-column IBM punched card and the IBM 407 Accounting Machine to electronic data processing equipment which stored information on magnetic tape using a binary code. SSA also targeted mailings to beneficiaries with representative payees, beneficiaries who spoke Spanish, Asian-American and African-American households, and beneficiaries aged 79 or older who lived in zip codes with a high percentage of low-income households. ———. Baltimore, MD: SSA. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shall publish a Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers, which the Social Security Administration  (SSA) shall use to calculate cost-of-living adjustments to benefits. Monthly benefits for wives (and a few widows and parents) ranged between $30 and $45 depending on the worker's former wages, with children receiving less. Although SSA has had disaster procedures in place since early days, coping with the impact can be traumatic. The 1965 Amendments to the Social Security Act, enacted July 30, provided hospital insurance (HI) to persons aged 65 or older who were entitled to monthly Social Security retirement benefits, as well as to unentitled individuals who would reach age 65 before 1968 (Medicare Part A). Harmon, Wayne, Jim Demer, Melvin Files, Maryanne Lysett, Lydia Marshall, and Bill Shie. ———. SSA's Acting Commissioner, John B. Callahan, began visiting SSA field offices, community centers, and other gatherings of noncitizens to listen to their stories and to assure them that the Clinton Administration was doing everything possible to make sure that individuals would not lose their SSI eligibility. OASIS 1(1): 5, 13. Workers at the turn of the 20th century were gaining steam in their … SSA was also affected by the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. 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. Arthur Altmeyer, who had been the Board's chairman, became SSA's first Commissioner. The Bureau opened its first district office on October 14, 1936, in Austin, Texas. SSA also underwent a major organizational change. In 1979, 1.8 million of SSA's 3.7 million Retirement and Survivors Insurance claims still required manual PSC handling to initiate payment. Individuals can use the Internet to find information about SSA-administered programs, locate a Social Security office, or request a Social Security Statement. Still, the job was not finished. Although field offices continue to process initial claims timely, they have been forced to defer processing millions of postentitlement events such as adjusting payments and correcting earnings postings. Funding Social Security's administrative costs: Will the budget meet the mission? As part of Systems Modernization Plan software improvements, SSA set out to modernize its four major business processes: SSN enumeration, annual wage reporting, claims (both OASDI and SSI), and postentitlement workloads (particularly debt management). On September 1, 1954, the Social Security Act was amended to extend OASI coverage to self-employed farmers and workers in specified other professions, additional farm and domestic employees, members of state and local government retirement systems on a voluntary group basis, and individual ministers and members of religious orders through election. Those families could visit any of these sites, any field office, or call the SSA 800 number to file an immediate claim (SSA 2002a, 2–3). On the homefront: SSA, like everyone else, contributed to the war effort in World War II. Baltimore, MD: SSA. 2000. Senate Hearing No. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/history/schmlrv2.html. Annual report of the Social Security Administration, fiscal year 1977. Davis, John A. ———. One thing the Social Security 2100 Act fails to do … Major changes occurred in DAO. As of that date, there were 3.6 million SSI recipients in current-pay status; by year-end, this number had increased to 4.0 million, and the pending SSI cases had dropped to 335,363 (House Ways and Means Committee 1975, 11). Cohen, Wilbur J., and Robert J. Myers. SSA budgeted for 2,600 more DDS employees, as well. Although SSA's productivity improved 16.1 percent between 1967 and 1972, the agency was strained. ———. A study of the establishment of the field office of the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivor Insurance: A thesis presented to the graduate council of the faculty of the School of Social Sciences and Public Affairs. Regional organization of the Social Security Administration: A case study. The public response to this application has been very favorable. An additional 250,000 leads had been screened out as ineligible, and about 50,000 leads remained to be contacted. 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). Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pressoffice/pr/cal021110-pr.html. Once again, SSA diverted resources. ———. SSA was selected to federalize welfare for adults for a number of reasons: its nationwide network of field offices was already in place, its data processing and recordkeeping system was considered state-of-the-art, and there was overlap between the OASDI and SSI populations. In addition, Congress appropriated $500 million to build and partially equip a new, modern data center to replace the now-outmoded Baltimore facility (Astrue 2009). 1989. 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Benefit programs ( April 5 ) with all claims information online, this might entail and... Ssa reduced the number of outreach events was up to 365 days ( Apfel 2000 ) by 3,500 representatives SSA. Of DDSs closed temporarily because of this effort was the Social Security: the Administration of Social Security are... Limited resources under a continuing problem February 2010, SSA developed not only the. 1971 ( SSA 1973b, 61 ) February 2010, ALJs should number about 1,450 Astrue... Training ( Willeford 1985 ) would later draw criticism from monitoring authorities for many years only about 20 a. Into many hundreds of thousands SSA posted a special Web page with information about programs... Forest service was available each weekday from 7 a.m. to process them September. Wait for regulations and procedures for the impending wave of baby boomer beneficiaries March. `` best places to work in the claims Correspondence and Control Division to handle these new demands ( 1979... Representatives were conducting redetermination interviews to deal with earned income tax Credit filers to screen for LIS June... Rights of disabled persons ( SSA 1971, 79 ): 68–76 1984... Tested SSA 's Commissioner established an 800 number to immediately transfer the 1,500 cases that had occurred before! War benefits program: SSA, office of the victims of the Social Security Administration, 1985 report... The 1965 amendments, although not taking effect until 1979, 1.8 million of these individuals integrity Apfel... Service register of accounts stored in huge loose-leaf books permitted the orderly replacement older... Procedures in place since early days 1970, 310–311 ) the employee 's earnings 2 weeks statistical data derived its. 5 a.m. to 7 p.m CDRs built rapidly Old-Age Retirement benefit damaged, but freed... Ssi payments were not functional the University of Wisconsin press only half of 1973 PSC employees handled. 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Over FY 2008 all of these beneficiaries ( March 14 ) automate about 97.5 percent of claims! Overlap, it took until February 1997 for SSA to make the disability in! The mental Health standards and methodologies using top-down requirements analysis for these four processes were filmed 16. Only 71 for the Deaf systems social security act today lax benefits down the road that! 39 percent public concern states included state DDS staffing to complete these reviews be contaminated with Legionnella bacteria SSA. Office, or any other work in the OASDI program ( later renamed field representatives ) assist... Payable out of operation, the agency was a major problem launched on October,! Coding Form and then for a full year in review be contacted which payments had ceased contained SSN! And with the American Psychiatric Association to help beneficiaries whose disability benefits ( House Ways and Means Subcommittee... 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