The Social Security Administration reached agreements with all of its unions, which officials hope will lead to a more collaborative relationship as office workers return to agency worksites with a target date of March 30.
For now, anyone needing services should continue to reach the agency online at www.socialsecurity.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213.
After making several key concessions to labor groups, acting Social Security Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi announced the deal in a statement posted on the agency’s website.
“I am very pleased to share that we have successfully reached agreement with our three labor unions on our reentry plan,” Kijakazi said. “This will be a significant step toward improving access to our services as we implement this plan. I want to thank our labor representatives for working with management to achieve this outcome, which will help us better serve the public.”
All local Social Security offices closed to the public for in-person service starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
At the onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Trump administration officials said they made the decision to protect the population the agency serves—older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions—as well as Social Security employees.
The agency still sought to provide critical services while offices were closed to the public.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, officials asked people to first try to use online services before calling the Social Security Administration.
those who could not use the online services were able to find the phone number for their local office by using a Field Office Locator. Constituents that had a scheduled appointment with a local office, should have received a phone call from an employee at their scheduled appointment time.
President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2022 budget provided a 9.7 percent increase, or $1.3 billion, in funding to the Social Security Administration to achieve a return to post-pandemic normalcy.
Like many government agencies, the SSA closed the bulk of its field offices to protect the health of employees and customers during COVID-19, but the ripple effect for those applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, has been devastating.
Amid the pandemic, the backlog of pending disability applications awaiting a decision rose by 30 percent, from 593,944 in 2019 to 763,747 last year.
The processing times for applications increased by 11 days, meaning the average application took 131 days for the SSA to process.
Those delays have tangible consequences — from missed mortgage payments to increased rates of depression — which is why an increase in SSA funding could be a lifesaving measure for millions of Americans with disabilities.
The most significant economic storyline during Biden’s time in office so far has been rising prices and the highest rate of inflation in 40 years.
With the cost of everything going up and up and the holidays fast approaching, Biden administration responded with the largest Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in four decades.