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Improving Efficiency at SSA: NOSSCR’s Efforts to Streamline the Electronic Signature Process

  November 14, 2023
A tight shot of a person using a stylus to sign a digital document on a tablet.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) took a step toward modernization when it began accepting electronic signatures – but there is significant room for improvement. NOSSCR’s recent testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee shed light on inefficiencies in the current system, including the unreasonable requirement for verification of electronic signatures by phone.

During the testimony, interim NOSSCR CEO David Camp stressed the need for change.

“This is an extraordinary waste of resources, particularly since electronic signatures are verified by the electronic signature platform that includes information like the signer’s name, email address, phone number, and IP address,” Camp said. “This impedes the processing of valid documents if claimants don’t answer the call or don’t have reliable access to a phone.”

The requirement not only increases the workload for SSA staff – it also causes unnecessary delays in providing essential benefits to those who need them. Inconsistencies in accepting electronic signatures due to outdated guidelines can also lead to unfounded rejections, creating more barriers for applicants.

Security measures that authenticate electronic signatures already exist, making phone verification an inexplicable, outdated redundancy.

NOSSCR’s recommendation to eliminate this step goes beyond convenience – it emphasizes resource management and improved service delivery. Trusting electronic signature technology, thereby streamlining the application process, will speed up the application process, save valuable time for SSA staff, and reduce stress for applicants.

Removing phone verification would be another step forward in embracing digital practices at the SSA.

This proposed change reflects a commitment to an efficient and responsive SSA system that respects the time and needs of its beneficiaries – and its staff.

We’re optimistic that SSA will take note and make policy changes to improve service and efficiency, especially when those changes save time and money. The well-being of applicants should be the top priority, and small changes like these can make a significant difference.

Click here to read more about NOSSCR’s testimony and proposed solutions.

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