The Covid-19 pandemic caused a problem for social security applicants regarding a longer wait in answering phone calls by the Social Security Administration. Due to the pandemic, the social security agency moved their services online and over the phone from March 17, 2020. When the applicants and beneficiaries try to call the Social Security Administration, they face long delays and are held for around 45 minutes. As a result, the agency’s more than 1,200 field offices have offered limited in-person services.
Customer on phone call holds
One of their customers, Charlene Latsha, reported that when she tried to reach the government agency for retirement benefits for her husband, she typically waited on hold for about 45 minutes to an hour. “You call, and you’re on hold forever,” Latsha said.
After an investigation, it was found that the government agency should improve its timeliness and efficiency in processing mail.
Considering the same problem, Rep. John Larson wrote a letter to Kilolo Kijakazi asking him about the Social Security Administration’s actions to strengthen overall customer service. There is no in-person assistance for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. The letter responded with the steps taken to reduce the number of documents that should be mailed and conduct outreach to people who have difficulty accessing services, according to the CNBC news.
Delay in disability benefits
When one of the applicants reached out to claim the approved disability benefits for her sister, there was no immediate response from the social security administration. Ellis said, “It’s taken too long.” This made her question the sincerity of the program.
Funding to increase by the Congress
According to Mary Johnson, Social Security, and Medicare policy analysts, people rely on government employees to understand their benefits. But, because of the few field offices and temporary staff, Congress could increase the amount of money the agency can spend on services. This will benefit the newly eligible individuals and people in their retirement. According to Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, there’s a real need for this funding.