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Highlights

GAO reported the results of a nationwide test of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) telephone accessibility to the public and provided information on SSA standards and telephone reporting activities.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Health and Human Services 1. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to take steps to bring into compliance those facilities not meeting service-level standards.
Closed - Implemented
SSA increased staffing levels for all TSC.
Department of Health and Human Services 2. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to clarify the average wait-time standard to require that only calls on hold be used in computing the average.
Closed - Implemented
The new SSA nationwide 800 systems will compute average wait time on the basis of calls actually placed on hold.
Department of Health and Human Services 3. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to develop busy-signal and average-wait-time standards for telephone calls to miniteleservice centers, statewide units, and local offices.
Closed - Implemented
The new 800 system has a single standard for SSA phone services.
Department of Health and Human Services 4. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to periodically measure and evaluate service provided by SSA telephone answering facilities against established standards.
Closed - Implemented
The new 800 system will automatically produce performance data.

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