SSA's Major Accomplishments1997-2001

This list of accomplishments was prepared in January 2001, summarizing some of the major initiatives undertaken at SSA in the preceeding four years.


Ø      Conducted a top-to-bottom review of changes made to the SSI childhood disability program under welfare reform, resulting in 35,000 fewer children losing eligibility

Ø      The Agency supported efforts to facilitate national dialogue on the long-term future of the Social Security program, including over 10,000 public events capped by December 1998 White House Conference on Social Security

Ø     The Agency began mailing the Social Security Statement to 125 million working Americans.  The Statement provides estimates of retirement, disability and survivors’ benefits and increases understanding of Social Security

Ø      The Agency supported passage of the historic “Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999.”  The Ticket legislation will help SSA increase the number of beneficiaries who return to work and the Agency established a new component, the Office of Employment Support Programs to provide a focal point for the Agency in this area

Ø      Developed a vision for service delivery in the year 2010, including an estimate of the anticipated workloads, the anticipated shortfall in Agency capability without changes in how we handle our work and a course of action that envisions increased use of technology to help bridge that gap

Ø      In one of the most comprehensive studies of government management ever conducted, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University gave SSA the highest marks among the Federal agencies surveyed.

Ø      Developed a comprehensive disability program management plan to improve the decision-making process, increase return-to-work opportunities for disabled beneficiaries, safeguard the integrity of the disability program and develop the Agency’s research capabilities to provide increased understanding of needed changes

Ø      Recognized by Ways and Means Committee as one of the top Federal Agencies for FY 2000 Performance Plan

Ø      Worked with OMB to draft proposals that eventually restored SSI benefits to thousands of disabled legal immigrants who lost eligibility under the 1996 welfare reform legislation

Ø      Pursued an ongoing policy to have zero-tolerance for fraud, resulting in increased detection, prevention and prosecution initiatives

Ø      The Agency worked with the nation’s correctional facilities to identify prisoners who should not be receiving Social Security or SSI benefits

Ø      Increased the earnings limit for beneficiaries with disabilities (SGA) from $500 to $700 a month, reflecting SSA’s commitment to encouraging Social Security beneficiaries to return to work

Ø      The Agency provided improved, cost-effective, service to disability applicants, including the testing of prototypes of a redesigned disability determination process in ten States

Ø      Created a Disability Research Institute to help provide policy makers with improved information and data in the disability policy area including ways to strengthen return-to-work policies

Ø      Announced a 5-year, $10 million demonstration project that would provide prescription drugs and other treatment for up to 1,000 disability beneficiaries with affective disorders

Ø      Issued a plan (Hearings Process Improvement Plan  (HPI)) to make our hearings process more timely, efficient and customer-focused

Ø      Developed a comprehensive SSI program management plan to improve overall payment accuracy, increase continuing disability reviews, expand anti-fraud efforts, and improve debt collection

Ø      Announced changes in the Agency’s administrative procedures to make it easier for victims of domestic violence to get new Social Security numbers

Ø      Launched an initiative to have SSA executives and staff work with women’s groups to increase their knowledge of the Social Security programs

Ø      Entered into cooperative agreements with Boston College and University of Michigan to establish a Retirement Research Consortium

Ø      Established a Public Understanding Measurement System (PUMS) in order to be able to measure the level of understanding of the Agency’s programs and effectively work to increase that level

Ø      Implemented a $6 million demonstration project to test three models of enrolling beneficiaries in the Medicare Part B State buy-in programs: Qualified Medicare Beneficiary, Specified Low Income Beneficiary, and Qualifying Individual 

Ø      Issued the first Government Performance and Results Act Annual Performance Report in its FY 1999 Accountability Report

Ø      Received the 1998 Advancing Government Accountability Award for excellence in accounting reporting

Ø      Received the Association of Government Accountants’ Certificate of Excellence in  Accounting Reporting for 1999 Accountability Report

Ø      Helped implement the Digital Divide Initiative by donating over 40,000 surplus computers and related equipment to public schools around the country

Ø      Successfully handled the Y2K problem.  SSA recognized the potential problem in 1989 and served as a resource for other Federal agencies

Ø      Signed international social security totalization agreements with South Korea and Chile

Ø      Implemented the Elimination of the Retirement Earnings Test for beneficiaries over normal retirement age


Ø      The Agency received an 82 rating in the American Customer Satisfaction Index Survey.  That is one of the highest earned by participating Federal agencies and 10 percent higher than comparable private sector index

Ø      Obtained an permanent injunction barring the Federal Record Service Corporation from mailing deceptive Social Security-related solicitations.  The FRSC was soliciting funds for performing tasks that the Social Security Administration does for free

Ø      Improved access time for calls to the Agency’s 800 number from 83 percent in FY 1996 to 96 percent in FY 1999, while handling 60 million calls

Ø      Established an Electronic Service Delivery Project to make use of emerging and existing technologies to provide more convenient, cost-effective, secure and user-friendly service options for our customers

Ø     Initiated online application for Social Security retirement benefits on the Agency’s website.  Additionally, certain callers to our 800 number can now file directly over the phone.

Ø      Initiated service allowing for the online application for the replacement of Medicare cards--CMMS processes the applications and releases the new cards

Ø    Established e:news, a consumer-oriented electronic newsletter about the Social Security program and Social Security issues

Ø      Inaugurated an online Social Security “Retirement Planner” which allows people of any age to compute estimates of their future Social Security retirement benefits

Ø      Sponsored a national conference for Agency officials and representatives of American Indian groups as part of ongoing outreach efforts to underserved communities

Ø      Directed efforts to increase service to the non-English speaking, including a hiring emphasis to increase the number of bilingual employees to 6,000; adding Spanish prompts on the Agency’s 800 number automated service; publishing most of SSA’s public information materials in Spanish and working to provide other non-English versions

Ø      Received two Emmy Awards for Public Service Announcements on the Future of Social Security


Ø      Sponsored Agency-wide Diversity Conference in Atlanta, Georgia reaffirming the need for a diverse workforce in serving an increasingly diverse population.  Since 1998, the Agency’s new hires of Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, African-Americans, and Hispanics reflect percentages above the national civilian workforce.

Ø      Received the 1998 John Sturdivant National Partnership Award, which recognized the Agency’s commitment to the goals of management-union partnership

Ø      Created an “Employees as Ambassadors Program” to train all 65,000 Agency employees about critical national issues facing Social Security

Ø      Received SAP America/Stevie Wonder Vision Awards Program’s Siemens Award for Excellence for technology infrastructure to support visually impaired employees

Ø      Received 2000 League of United Latin American Citizens’ Federal Agency of the Year Award for achievement in hiring and promoting Hispanic Americans