Social Security:

Telephone Busy Signal Rates at Local SSA Field Offices

HRD-93-49: Published: Mar 4, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Social Security Administration's (SSA) local office telephone busy signal rates to determine how readily callers can reach SSA offices that restored local telephone service.

GAO found that: (1) overall, the busy signal rate was 47.3 percent for 834 SSA offices; (2) there was little variation by day of the week or time of day; (3) offices that restored fewer general inquiry lines had higher busy signal rates than offices that restored the same number of telephone lines; (4) SSA did not complete 8.7 percent of the calls because circumstances prevented successful completion of connected calls; (5) situations that prevented call completion included callers being disconnected during the call, encountering some type of recorded message, being placed on hold for more than 2 minutes, and not getting an answer after 10 rings; (6) 60 percent of the calls to offices with fewer general inquiry lines and 51 percent of calls to offices restoring the same number of lines were uncompleted; (7) the SSA nationwide 800 number had an overall busy rate of 25.2 percent; and (8) SSA does not maintain data that would allow a comparable call completion rate.

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