Social Security:

Views of Agency Personnel on Service Quality and Staff Reductions

HRD-89-37BR: Published: Feb 10, 1989. Publicly Released: Feb 15, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO surveyed Social Security Administration (SSA) personnel on the quality of SSA service to the public and the impact of staff reductions on morale, and compared the results with a previous GAO survey.

GAO found that: (1) the percentage of field office managers and employees that perceived a decline in SSA service, performance, and morale increased; (2) managers and employees cited staff reductions as the primary reason for the decline; (3) although they perceived service quality as declining, most managers and employees viewed the current quality of many specific services as good, citing courtesy, explanation clarity, and thoroughness in claims development; (4) chief administrative law judges and their employees viewed the performance of SSA hearing offices as improved; and (5) field office managers and employees viewed SSA teleclaim and appointment initiatives favorably because they provided additional service options for the public and promoted efficiency. GAO also found that: (1) two prior surveys showed that clients were generally satisfied with SSA service and that SSA performance was generally stable; and (2) SSA held management forums in its regional offices to address employee concerns and solicit managers' views about better management of staff reductions over the next 2 years.

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