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Larson, Reed, Davis, Walorski Demand Transparency from SSA on Customer Service Policies During COVID-19 Pandemic

March 5, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D. C. – The Social Security Administration (SSA) must be transparent in its customer service policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, write House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (D-CT), Social Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Tom Reed (R-NY), Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL), and Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Ranking Member Jackie Walorski (R-IN) to SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul.

“Due to the COVID-19 crisis, SSA has made numerous changes to its policies and services and has instructed its staff on how to implement these changes…. However, with few exceptions, these pandemic-related changes to SSA policies and services have been marked ‘sensitive’ and have not been shared with the public,” wrote the Members. SSA has a long practice of releasing to the public the agency’s changes to policies and services.

Other key takeaways:

  • “We are concerned that SSA’s failure to publicly share these policy updates made via employee instructions has made it harder for the public to access services and benefits during the pandemic.”
  • “[Those] who assist the public often use SSA’s employee instructions to understand and navigate SSA service changes, [which] can help prevent errors … however this type of interaction cannot occur when policy updates are not publicly available….”
  • “We urge SSA to immediately review all employee instructions on changes to policies and services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to release them in whole or in part, with redactions where necessary.”

The full letter can be viewed here.