SSA Workforce Declines Again
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has updated federal employment numbers revealing the Social Security Administration (SSA) lost another 1,137 employees in the first quarter of 2014. As of April 1, 2014, the agency's staffing level fell to 60,820, down 13.4 percent from Jan. 1, 2011, when the Agency had 70,270 employees. The number of administrative law judges (ALJ) also declined by 41 and is now down 7.5 percent from its peak 15 months earlier on Jan. 1, 2013.
These staffing losses come despite historically high numbers of applications and beneficiaries. Reduced staffing levels continue to negatively impact customer service, decision volume, and processing times throughout the application and appeals process. For example, as we previously reported on June 5, the volume of SSDI awards fell to its lowest level in seven years.
There is some hope on the horizon, however, as the agency does appear to have some limited hiring authority in 2014. Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin testified before Congress last week that she has authorized the hiring of up to 200 ALJs in 2014.
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