Social Security:

Staff Reductions and Service Quality

HRD-87-97BR: Published: Jun 2, 1987. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Social Security Administration's (SSA) staff reductions and service quality.

GAO found that SSA performance: (1) generally improved, since pending work loads for disability claims were down 18 percent, processing times for initial claims were unchanged, and Supplemental Security Income processing accuracy was slightly higher; and (2) declined in some areas as a result of seasonal or temporary factors, such as an increase in requests for hearings at a time when staffing declined. GAO also found that SSA: (1) reduced its overall staff by 3 percent in the first half of fiscal year (FY) 1987, with field offices taking the largest reduction; (2) set a goal to reduce hearing processing times and backlogs in FY 1988 by increasing productivity; and (3) could supplement hearing staff resources, if necessary, since its proposed FY 1988 budget would allow for such increases.

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