Social Security:

Clients Still Rate Quality of Service High

HRD-87-103BR: Published: Jul 14, 1987. Publicly Released: Jul 14, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO: (1) surveyed client satisfaction with the quality of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) service since a reduction in force; and (2) compared the results with a similar survey conducted in 1984.

GAO found that: (1) about 81 percent of the 1986 respondents rated SSA service as good to very good, whereas about 78 percent rated SSA service similarly in 1984; (2) about 54 percent of the clients rated service in 1986 as somewhat better or much better than the service received from other government agencies, compared with 51 percent who held this view in 1984; and (3) about 6 percent of 1986 respondents considered SSA service as poor to very poor, compared with 7 percent in 1984. GAO also found that, after SSA initiated its Clear Notice Project: (1) 77 percent of 1986 respondents indicated that SSA mail was generally easy to understand, compared with about 67 percent in 1984; and (2) 11 percent of the 1986 respondents rated SSA mail as generally difficult to read, compared with 18 percent in 1984. In addition, GAO found that: (1) 77 percent of the 1986 respondents indicated SSA did a good to very good job in handling their business, compared with 73 percent in 1984; (2) 39 percent of 1986 respondents indicated that they waited less than 15 minutes for service at field offices, compared to 34 percent of 1984 respondents; (3) 50 percent of 1986 respondents were successful in reaching SSA by telephone on the first try, compared with about 47 percent in 1984; (4) 167 of the 1,345 1986 respondents added positive comments and 207 added negative comments; and (5) SSA agreed with and implemented a recommendation to periodically survey client satisfaction.

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