Testimony before the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security. Social Security expands fast-track disability processes; more than 100,000 disabled applicants get quick decisions. In addition, the SS-5s were filmed on 16 millimeter, noninflammable film strips. A quarter century of aiding the disabled. In 1995, GAO reported that the number of legal immigrants in the SSI program had increased dramatically. The workgroup recommendations to simplify the computations would finally be enacted in the 1960 amendments. 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. Two employees from each region attended a training class on the new hardware and software in Baltimore. The 1972 legislation failed to hold individual recipients harmless—that is, nothing required that the state's prior level of payment be maintained. Area offices worked extensive overtime to compute the benefit increases that resulted from the 1954 amendments. From the editor. SSA's fourth and final level for deciding claims is the Appeals Council. The Bureau's cost of maintaining a worker's account was only about 20 cents a year (Altmeyer 1966, 87). 1997b. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. SSA's retirement wave appears to have crested in 2007, when 3,074 employees, 5 percent of the workforce, retired. IRS investigated discrepancies associated with incomplete earnings records. Field offices pitched in to help the payment centers. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/history/oasis/march1978.pdf. ———. By 1986, SSA had acquired 360 disk drive units with 780 billion characters of storage capacity to house all of SSA's master files and most intermediate files. The field employees made extensive employer contacts—as many as 50 in a single day by some accounts. Direct-access devices, on the other hand, could be queried directly. In addition, it provided a 7-percent increase in benefits retroactive to January 1, 1965. By June 30, 1976, 1.5 million newly eligible persons comprised almost 37 percent of SSI recipients (House Ways and Means Committee 1976, 34). An informational booklet with a tear-off coupon for registering household employees was widely distributed, as well as an envelope-style tax return form for reporting household wages. ———. 2007. ———. Before long, claims adjudicators all had piles of different kinds of cases on their desks awaiting legal decisions (SSA 1974a). There were now 36 call center sites, ranging in size from 20 to 500 employees. However, 3,200 PSC and Office of Central Operations "spike" employees still handled 24.6 percent of the calls, resulting in growing postentitlement backlogs. Overtime hours had been used in implementing the 1965 amendments, and would be used again now. ———. A tabulating machine used this master punch card to set up a numerical register of accounts stored in huge loose-leaf books. Also, of necessity, descriptions of legislative provisions and program policy rules are somewhat generalized. In addition, SSA had at least one employee staffing each of more than 50 Federal Emergency Management Agency sites, working 12-hour days and weekends in some cases. Field offices still took claims, developed the evidence, and sent the applications into the seven payment centers for final adjudication and certification of payment to the Treasury Department. ———. Swift, Roy. The Commissioner directed a new review of approximately 45,000 of the 135,000 cases in which payments had ceased. Because a provision in the 1950 amendments brought about a more liberal benefit computation effective July 1, 1952, many claimants waited until then to file for benefits. The first report from the Bureau of Internal Revenue did not contain SSNs for about 12 percent of the wage items—and this rapidly increased in subsequent reports. 1982b. In 1980, SSA's automated data processing operations comprised 76 different software systems consisting of 1,376 computer programs with over 12 million lines of undocumented instructions written in low-level computer languages (SSA 1986, 6). Social Security Administration 1991 annual report to the Congress. IRS then sent a record of the wage reports to SSA's BDP, which microfilmed the reports and filed the films for storage and future reference. A number of reasons have been suggested. The Bureau also set up a DAO branch in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (Pogge 1952, 8; SSA 1952b). Annual report of the Social Security Administration for fiscal year 1975: Submitted to the Congress by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare on March 17, 1976. 1948. Full-scale conversion began in February 1973, and by June 1973 SSA had received 2.8 million computer input records. SSA contracted with the American Psychiatric Association to help rewrite the mental health regulations. In its Annual Report to Congress for FY 1981, SSA cited modernizing its data processing systems as its top priority. SSA then hired a contractor to make personal follow-up calls between August 18 and November 5, 2005, to almost 12 million potential applicants who did not respond to the mailing. In March 1984, SSA put together a team of executives from the critical components—the Offices of Systems, Operations, Program Policy, and Management—to act as a steering committee for the Claims Modernization Project/Field Office Systems Enhancement (CMP/FOSE) project. In addition, SSA was made responsible for administering state programs to supplement SSI for those states that so opted. In addition, SSA had several smaller specialized networks. 1 In May 2009 SSA estimated that in fiscal year 2010, it would process an additional 20,000 retirement claims and 200,000 initial disability claims over the fiscal year 2009 levels (SSA 2009e, 11). By FY 2007, about 22 percent of new applications were internet filings (Disman 2007). In 2010, SSA will release a Spanish language version (SSA 2009g). By FY 1976, SSA had most of the needed postentitlement automated procedures in place and had completed over 15 major enhancements to the basic SSI claims payment system (House Ways and Means Committee 1976, 35). Pending workloads in the Office of Hearings and Appeals (today known as the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review) had more than doubled between 1988 and 1995, and average processing times had risen to 200 days. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/asp/index.htm. Baltimore, MD: SSA, Bureau of Retirement and Survivors Insurance. The control center manually balanced call loads coming into the network among the sites that were open. At the same time, workloads continued to grow. When SSI went into effect, some of the systems for executing and updating claims and payments were not functional. Baltimore, MD: SSA, Bureau of Retirement and Survivors Insurance. In collaboration with CMS, SSA assembled focus groups of Medicare beneficiaries and conducted special cognitive tests to assess how well potential applicants understood the application. Baltimore, MD: SSA, Office of the Inspector General. The year in review: The administration of the Social Security programs—1975. Headquarters staff moved from D.C. to Baltimore on June 1, 1942. ———. First meeting of the Social Security Board, September 14, 1935. Early Social Security Board employees later recalled their training experience with enthusiasm. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pressoffice/pr/ACSIestimator-pr.htm. Inadequate funding was a major factor in the sad state of SSA technology. Punch cards were a little longer and narrower than postcards, and about the same stiffness. Outreach efforts began in May 2005. The passage of time between decision and appeal could have brought the worsening of a chronic medical condition. Additionally, SSA installed a new large-scale processor dedicated solely to modernization activities (SSA 1982b, 3). On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh exploded a bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. OASIS 1(8): 10–13, 21–22, 30. Some were not damaged, but others were flooded or even submerged. Nevertheless, efficiencies the Bureau had implemented enabled it to successfully handle the new workload—although claims processing time increased substantially. On January 2, 1976, P.L. Why can't it be eliminated? This system enabled the Bureau to prepare a monthly statement showing the activity of the beneficiary rolls and to balance this statement against external controls established by the Treasury disbursing office within a few days of the end of the month (Pogge 1952, 6–7; SSA 1952b). DeWitt, Larry. Gluck, M.G., and Reno, V., eds. About ¼ of all youth today will suffer a … As of May 1982, more than 30 percent of the profiled beneficiaries were determined to no longer be disabled. ———. It also mandated SSA to develop new mental health regulations more congruent with current mental health standards and practices (SSA 1995f). 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/history/oasis/julyaugust1985.pdf. From FY 2001 through FY 2007, Congress appropriated an annual average of $150 million less than the President requested (Rust 2008). At first, the control center employees phoned the information to field offices, but as the volume of emergency requests rose, they teletyped their replies (SSA 1995h; SSA 1984b; SSA 1994b). Field offices would check the yellow pages in the telephone directory and the city directory against EIN files in an effort to find employers who were not reporting (SSA 1955a). The team also inventoried current system capabilities (SSA 1986, 6). The agency took several courses of action. Social Security Bulletin 56(1): 83–86. SSA recontacted anyone who requested that premiums be withheld from Social Security benefits but had failed to return an LIS application. ———. Once again, the legislation provided little time to prepare for implementation. ———. 1984b. SSA opened temporary offices at evacuation centers such as the Houston Astrodome, the Baton Rouge River Center, the Albuquerque Convention Center, the Lubbock Reese Center, and the El Paso and Dallas Convention Centers. Some of the SS-5 Application for Account Number data from the late 1930s are missing because some offices burned before the forms could be mailed to Baltimore. These CDRs were "de novo reviews," in effect reopening the initial decision of whether an individual's impairment met the SSA criteria for disability entitlement (SSA 1995d). Persons attaining age 65 after March 31, 1966, had to enroll during the 3-month period preceding their 65th birthday. ———. ———. Hiring for the Bureau of Old-Age Benefits was particularly hampered; as late as March 15, 1936, the Bureau had only five employees, including the director and his assistant. Central office teams were sent to three payment centers in September 1966 to observe operations and returned with suggested improvements (SSA n.d. a). The experts replied that it was impossible to maintain a system for tracking individuals' earnings histories of the scope proposed for the United States (McKinley and Frase 1970, 20–21; SSA 1997a; SSA 1964a). OASIS 40(1): 6–9. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/legislation/testimony_111909.htm. One indication was that this work was initially assigned to GS-6 service representatives rather than GS-10 claims representatives (SSA 1973b, 51). In addition, SSA reached out to 60 consulates to ensure that any foreign survivors who might be eligible for benefits were contacted (SSA 2002a, 1–2). As the workloads grow, 50 percent of SSA's workforce, including 66 percent of its supervisors, will be eligible to retire by the end of 2018 (SSA 2009e, 18). The Board made extensive use of an exception to the requirement to hire from the register—an expert and attorney exemption clause—in order to make timely hires and circumvent salary restrictions. Monthly cash benefits ranging from $10 to $85 were paid for temporary total disability or permanent disability of at least 30 percent (Altmeyer 1966, 140; DeWitt 1997). The hardware component of CMP/FOSE was the Terminal Acquisition Project (TAP). The Bureau had to deal with claims not only from the recently disabled but also from those disabled for many years. SSA News Release (November 3). In 1935, the Social Security Board, predecessor of the Social Security Administration (SSA), started to plan the implementation of the Social Security Act. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. In November, the Secretary of HEW approved an SSA recommendation that the sanctions only apply to those entitled to SSI disability benefits substantially on the basis of addiction or alcoholism. The legislation also imposed a disability "megacap" offset and introduced a new way of computing SSI payments called retrospective monthly accounting (SSA n.d. b). SSA created a "training region" on its mainframe with an MCS mockup on which employees could practice inputting claims interview information. As with any new venture, the National 800 Number Network suffered some growing pains, and heavy call volumes resulted in high busy signal rates. OASIS 31(7): 12–17. 1994. 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. In its first report of January 29, 1936, the Field Organization Committee proposed at least one "district office" per state, located in state capitals, with additional district offices based on workload. By the end of 1965, there were 725 district offices, 82 branch offices, 37 resident stations, 16 service centers, and 3,361 contact stations to serve the public. tested a "model hearing office" to streamline the hearing process and increase support staff responsiveness; hired 256 staff attorneys, increasing productivity by 25 percent in affected hearing offices; established an Administrative Officer position to serve as an office manager; and. Available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pressoffice/pr/bestplacetowork2-pr.htm. Baltimore, MD: SSA. SSA is an efficient agency with very low administrative costs of 0.9 percent of total expenditures (Board of Trustees 2009). Baltimore, MD: SSA. Despite its manpower challenges, BOASI supported the war effort in a number of ways. Congress and the Eisenhower Administration expressed concerns about potential program costs and encouraged SSA to take a "strict" approach to administering the new benefits. For SSA, the 1996 Welfare Reform legislation meant not only a change in the definition of SSI childhood disability but also changes in the SSI eligibility of most noncitizens. The Board established an Informational Service in January 1936 to supervise public relations. In deciding on the location and geographic boundaries of the field offices, a number of factors were considered, such as convenience to the public, uniform distribution of workloads, population patterns, trading zone3 boundaries, and administrative manageability (SSA 1965, 31). 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). Some states gambled that by delaying decisions to the critical point they could pressure SSA into accepting variations that SSA resisted, and their gamble paid off. It's not that SSA's software didn't need rewriting; it was just impossible to rewrite it quickly enough to run on a completely new platform. Callers who wished to apply by phone were referred directly to specialized claims-taking employees (Disman 2006). Each page contained 100 SSNs in numerical order. A related 1990s initiative involved the hearing process. The regional office relocated, and the field office employees and hearing workloads were distributed to other locations until they could be reopened. In FY 1951, BOASI awarded benefits to 1.4 million persons, more than twice the previous record. Social Security adds 38 new compassionate allowance conditions; expansion will speed benefits to thousands of Americans with Disabilities. ———. SSA continued to administer Medicare until 1977, when SSA's Bureau of Health Insurance split off to become a new agency, the Health Care Financing Administration—which has since been renamed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 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