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Social Security Inspector General Releases Larson-Reed Requested Report on Telephone Service During COVID-19 Pandemic

December 1, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01) and Republican Leader Tom Reed (NY-23) released the following statements after the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report they requested on SSA’s telephone customer service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The OIG found that in FY 2020, SSA received over 150 million calls, more than any other federal agency surveyed, and handled over half of those calls. Calls to field offices increased dramatically, from an average of 4.6 million calls per month leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic to an average of 7.5 million calls per month from April to September 2020. The report can be viewed here.

“I thank the OIG for conducting this review and welcome its findings. This report highlights that SSA’s telephone services are vital to the American public. While I applaud the hard work of SSA employees, especially during the pandemic, the report also highlights actions that SSA is taking to reduce telephone wait times, handle more calls, and improve caller experience. I am glad that Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi is working to ensure these services are better, but she can’t do it alone. SSA will need more funding to do so and that is why I’m supporting House Appropriations and Chair DeLauro’s proposal to give SSA an additional $1.1 billion in FY 2022,” said Larson.

“This report provides clear evidence that with determined agency leadership and the hard work of dedicated staff, the SSA was able to respond to the largest management crisis in its history. With the almost sixty-five percent increase in phone calls during the pandemic the report also demonstrates the public’s clear and continued demand for access to the SSA’s vital services. I look forward to working with Chairman Larson and SSA’s leadership to improve the public’s experience and ability to access both in-person and remote services,” said Reed.