The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) draft plan for starting to reopen was recently published – click here to read it. This “pre-decisional” document is not necessarily final, and it leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
We know that senior SSA staff will begin to return to in-person work on December 1, 2021, with most other employees beginning their re-entry on January 3, 2022. Some employees will be able to telework full-time, while others will be required to work in person at least part of the time, depending on their job duties, the agency’s needs, and bargaining between SSA and employees’ unions.
The re-entry plan describes masking and physical distancing requirements for employees and visitors to SSA sites, and what actions SSA will take to keep offices as safe as possible, from air filters and hand sanitizer to testing and contract tracing.
We don’t yet know the hours that SSA offices will be open to the public, or the rules for when people will need appointments versus when they can walk in. It is possible that different offices might have different rules, or that the rules might change over time. Just like the process of shifting to telework at the start of the pandemic, the process of shifting back to in-person services nearly two years later is not likely to be completely smooth.