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This request recognizes the need for fiscal restraint Governmentwide and SSA's

obligation to make the most effective use of limited resources. As a result, while in

general the present levels of service will be maintained, we do not expect that SSA will

be able

improve materially its service delivery during the budget period. In fact, in

some areas, we may see the number of cases pending increase and processing times

grow.

Increasing Workloads

SSA's budget request for fiscal year 1992 is driven to a large extent by the significant

increases in work SSA can expect over the next two years. These increases are

primarily attributable to the following factors:

In recent months SSA has seen an increase in the numbers of SSI and Social

Security disability claims filed. SSA's current estimates of disability claims

receipts for fiscal year 1991 have increased by 8 percent from the estimates in

the 1991 President's budget. For fiscal year 1992 we estimate an additional

increase of more than 4 percent from the 1991 level.

At the end of November 1990, 392,000 initial disability claims were pending in

the State Disability Determination Services, an increase of more than

30 percent compared to one year earlier. We also have seen increasing

disability claims processing times. These trends are expected to continue

during this budget period.

SSA's nationwide "800" number continues to elicit heavy call volumes, resulting

in high busy rates. Measures to improve service, such as automated scripts,

revised call routing, and intelligent queuing are being tested and implemented.

Nevertheless, given increasing call volumes, the budget does not anticipate

significant improvement in busy rates.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 includes several provisions

which could have a significant impact on SSA's administrative resources.

These provisions cover such areas as:

improving representative payee selection and monitoring;
recovery of overpayments by means of offsetting income tax refunds;

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revising the definition of disability for widows and widowers; and

improving Social Security notices to the public.

Some additional resources have been budgeted in fiscal year 1992 to address

these provisions. SSA will, however, concentrate its resources on processing

the additional claims and other workloads generated by this legislation.

In recognition of the rapid changes within the Agency in recent years and the need to

focus limited resources on achieving our service goals, we have begun to revise SSA'S

Agency Strategic Plan to define service requirements and needed investments in new

technology. A renewed Agency Strategic Plan will provide, in general, a picture of how

SSA will deliver high quality service to the American public in the next century. This is

not a short-term effort. However, once-completed, it will help us develop more efficient

and effective ways to manage increasing workloads within available administrative

resources.

Tools and Technology To Serve the Public

In order for SSA employees to do their jobs in the most effective and efficient manner

and continue delivering high-quality public service now and in the future, we must invest in our human resources by providing adequate training and furnishing our

employees with essential automated tools and materiel support. One critical

component of employee support is that provided by SSA's automated data processing and telecommunications systems, on which SSA's service delivery is heavily and

increasingly reliant.

The cost of Just maintaining current operations in these systems continues to increase.

We also must continue to invest in technology as a tool to improve the quality of

service our employees can provide to the public, to pay benefits promptly and

accurately,

handle claims swiftly, and

administer each of our programs as

efficiently as possible.

While downsizing by about 17,000 FTES, SSA has been able to maintain service levels

in recent years largely due to the efficiencies achieved through automation and

systems modernization. SSA's investments in technology have accomplished a great

deal. Nevertheless, continued investments are needed to lay the foundation for future

efficiencies needed to offset workload growth and provide the flexibility needed to

improve public service. Along with investments in technology, we must ensure that our

employees are properly trained as new systems and procedures are implemented, and

that they have safe work environments with appropriate equipment and supplies to do

their jobs.

SSA's fiscal year 1992 systems investments will focus on:

Further automation and modernization of the Agency's programmatic software, so that SSA employees can keep up with growing workloads and process

applications in a more timely and accurate manner;

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"800" number improvements to permit SSA to handle more calls with available

teleservice representatives, thus reducing busy rates and providing better

public access to SSA;

Ensuring adequate computer capacity to meet growing beneficiary workloads and increasing online transaction volumes;

Additional personal computer workstations to increase efficiency of
administrative tasks throughout the Agency, and for printing notices for

immediate mailing to beneficiaries; and

Replacement or upgrade of equipment that has become outmoded, unreliable

or costly to maintain.

This budget also supports investments in automated data processing equipment and

services for the State Disability Determination Services. In recent years these State

agencies have improved productivity and quality with limited support in terms of

automation. The States are now faced with significant increases in projected disability

workloads; coupled with increased emphasis on quality and training on and implementation of new childhood disability regulations, which will result in slightly

reduced productivity. We now, more than ever before, need to make sure that State

Disability Determination Services employees have the automated tools they need to do

their jobs efficiently.

SSA's 1992 budget request also restores limited funding for other critical areas of SSA

employee support. For example, we plan to replenish near-depleted inventories of

supplies, forms and public information materials; and we will make minimal investments

needed to ensure employee health and safety in SSA's facilities. In addition, funds will

be restored for employee training and for basic building repairs and maintenance, to

finance the most critical repairs deferred from prior years and prevent further

deterioration of our facilities.

I am committed to the employees of the Social Security Administration whom I have

asked to enter into a partnership with me to ensure the continued efficient operation of

this program, one that has paid benefits each month, on time for the past 50 years.

We will continue to work together in this partnership to deliver quality public service

and to safeguard the Social Security programs for our current and future beneficiaries.

Fiscal Year 1991 Supplemental Request

SSA also has before the Committee a fiscal year 1991 supplemental budget request

related to the significant increase in work this Agency faces as a result of the Supreme

Court decision in the case of Sullivan v. Zebley. This decision calls for SSA to

reevaluate childhood disability claims for SSI benefits which have been denied because

the child's functional limitations were not considered in evaluating the severity of the

impairment. Although details for implementing the decision are still being worked out

with the court, SSA's budget estimates assume that nationwide class relief will extend

to claims denied since January 1980, resulting in 200,000 to 300,000 new disability

determinations for Zebley class members.

To fund SSA and State Disability Determination Services costs for this large, one-time

workload -- including making new disability determinations for Zebley class members

who request one, evaluating income and resources for those class members

determined to be disabled, and processing appeals of denials - the President has

requested a supplemental appropriation for fiscal year 1991, with funds to remain

available through the end of fiscal year 1993.

Regulations used to evaluate childhood disability entitlement have been revised based

on the Zebley decision to make them comparable to the regulations used to evaluate

adult categories. As a result, we also anticipate an increase in ongoing SSI disability

workloads, beginning in fiscal year 1991, due to the revisions made to the childhood

disability regulations.

Social Security Trust Funds

I would like to say a few words about the Social Security trust funds. Funds to pay

benefits from the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASDI)

Trust Funds are permanently appropriated, and therefore are not part of the budget

requests before this Committee. In fiscal year 1992 we expect to make payments of

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