NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SECURITY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATIONS
National Council of
Social Security Management Associations
Thursday, May 5, 2016
The PSCs are behind and information available at the time of this writing indicates that the national average for pending BA work is approximately 132 days as of this writing.
From a front-line perspective, that means if a POS input to change a bank account for direct deposit creates an exception for the PC to correct, it will take four months for the PC to resolve the exception and post the new bank account information to the MBR. In fact, I personally know of multiple cases pending with this exact problem and we have been initiating CPS payments to beneficiaries for months while we wait for the PSC to update the bank account.
The extreme PSC delays have been attributed to lack of staffing, and rightly so, as the PSCs have been devastated by staffing losses. My servicing PSC, Great Lakes, has gone on a hiring spree in an attempt to recover from those losses and therefore a full 50% of their staff are trainees. If my field office was staffed with 50% trainees, I shudder to think what our workloads would look like.
However, staffing is only part of the PSCs’ problem with processing times. The elephant in the room at the PSCs is the aging Title II system, which is incredibly fragile. Title II PE inputs come from a haphazard collection of systems, most of which do not interface well with the MBR. Routine PE actions frequently fail to process through DMS, POS, DCF, ICF or other systems and instead except out for the PSC to work manually. The unfortunate reality is that the PSCs are being crushed under the weight of the fallout from SSA’s broken Title II systems.
The short-term fix for the PSCs is to hire more BAs to update MBRs manually, but this is not a sustainable solution. SSA must come to grips with the fact that current processing systems cannot adequately support the agency’s operational needs. If we hope to survive over the long haul, SSA must build systems that reliably update the MBR without requiring PSC manual intervention.
I’ll close with an update on the Manager to Manager process and a bit of practical advice. Rick Warsinskey, NCSSMA President, has been working diligently to improve the Manager to Manager process and, per this email, the PSCs should now be giving estimated completion timeframes in their Manager to Manager responses. Additionally, if you have followed the procedures in GN 01070.440 and have still not received a response to your request, you should request assistance from your ADO.
By Mike McHugh