Earlier this year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a study of the Social Security Administration (SSA); namely, its practices while working with soon-to-be beneficiaries. Overall, the GAO concluded that the SSA can – and should – do a much better job ensuring beneficiaries fully understand the ramifications of their decisions – which, up until now, have blindly cost thousands of enrollees millions of dollars in lost income.
The study focuses primarily on retirement benefits through the SSA. However, the clear issues are those that can impact any number of enrollees, including those receiving disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Overall, the GAO reviewed a number of surveys, academic reports and interviews with both agency representatives and beneficiaries to conclude that the information supplied to SSA customers is incomplete, unclear and sometimes misleading. Concerning retirement benefits, the GAO found that SSA employees were failing to fully explain the penalties awaiting those opting to retire prior to 65 – which could result in a substantial loss of income in the long-term.
One important takeaway from the study was to always seek information from higher-ups before accepting the advice at face value. A Tier-1 customer service representative is usually the first representative a person meets when arriving at the SSA office or calling on the phone. However, Tier-2 representatives may be summoned at the request of the customer, and will have a more highly-specialized knowledge of the particular benefits question at issue. Unfortunately, the GAO also determined that nationwide budget cuts within the SSA will mean longer wait times for most folks, thereby adding to the already mounting frustration.
Contact a Social Security disability attorney today!
If you would like assistance with your Social Security issue, please do not hesitate to contact Roeschke Law, PLLC today: 1-800-975-1866.