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Executive Order Aims to Transform Social Security’s Customer Service

  December 21, 2021 | By Stacy Cloyd, NOSSCR

Last week, President Biden released an Executive Order (EO) titled Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government with the broad goal of using technology to modernize Government services so that they are “simple to use, accessible, equitable, protective, transparent, and responsive for all people of the United States.”

Further, several of the EO’s directives are specific to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Acting Commissioner Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi Kijazi has been given 120 days to provide the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) with a report that that analyzes all of SSA’s services that “require original or physical documentation or in-person appearance as an element of identity or evidence authentication, and that identifies potential
opportunities for policy reforms that can support modernized customer experiences while ensuring original or physical documentation requirements remain where there is a statutory or strong policy rationale.”

There are no set time frames for the other SSA directives in the EO, which are:

  • develop a mobile-accessible, online process so that any individual applying for or receiving services from the Social Security Administration can upload forms, documentation, evidence, or correspondence associated with their transaction without the need for service-specific tools or traveling to a field office;
  • consistent with applicable law and to the extent practicable, maintain a public policy of technology neutrality with respect to acceptable forms of electronic signatures;
  • consistent with applicable law and to the extent practicable, revise any necessary regulations, forms, instructions, or other sources of guidance (to include the Program Operations Manual System of the Social
    Security Administration) to remove requirements that members of the public provide physical signatures;
  • and to the maximum extent permitted by law, support applicants and beneficiaries to identify other benefits for which they may be eligible and integrate Social Security Administration data and processes with those of
    other Federal and State entities whenever possible.

 

In addition, OMB is tasked with coordinating efforts to improve user experiences across various agencies. The EO does not provide additional funding to carry out these activities. Although President Biden may include money for these efforts in his proposed Fiscal Year 2023 budget, which will likely be released in early 2022, Congress will ultimately determine how much money different agencies receive to carry out the EO and perform their other tasks.

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