NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SECURITY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATIONS

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The New Administrative Investigation Process 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015 

 

FrontLine Blog

National Council of

Social Security Management Associations

The 46th Annual NCSSMA Meeting

Friday, January 22, 2016 

Resolution Round-up  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Is my voice being heard?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

TSC Connection  

Friday, February 19, 2016

FrontLine Tips & Tricks

Monday, March 21, 2016

How Do I Get Involved?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Editorial Correction

Monday, March 21, 2016 

SSA’s Budget Needs

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Blast from the Past

Thursday, April 21, 2016

 

 

TSC Connection: Quality Initiative

Thursday, April 28, 2016

NCSSMA Awards

Monday, May 9, 2016

PSC Delays

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Critical Encounters

Friday, June 3, 2016

The 800# Operations Schedule

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Self-Help PC Proof of Concept

Friday, December 2, 2016

 

I am extremely excited to share information about the Self-Help PC Proof of Concept project my office, Rio Rancho, NM, began piloting on August 3, 2015.  We have four SHPCs housed in our reception area.  They are located against the north wall, on a bank of individual carrels that provide a secure, private place for the public to file their claims, replace their Social Security cards, register for mySocialSecurity accounts, or estimate their retirement benefits, just to name a few of our popular online services.  

 

Our employees love this concept, as do our customers.  For FY 2016 we had 4,216 SHPC completed transactions, the majority of which were mySocialSecurity Activations (2,111) and Initial Claims (1,457).  Our employees never go into the lobby for any purpose, as we have a telephone style intercom that the public uses to ask questions of our SHPC Coordinator, whose window is located directly across from the bank of SHPCs.  Our SHPC Coordinator also has an individual monitor dedicated to the SHPCs, with toggle switches that allows him/her to see exactly what is going on at each of the four SHPCs, so we can assist with questions or issues that the applicant may have.  

 

We have workflows in place to keep track of all our customers who we refer to the SHPCs, to ensure they always submit a finished product.  The visitor is educated on the entire process at initial screening by the CSR/CS/TE who pulls their visitor number on VIPr. We give them handouts with screen shots and instructions that simplify the process from start to finish.

 

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NCSSMA Provides Media Comments on

SSA Funding and Field Office Wait Times

Monday, December 12, 2016

 

Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General released an audit on December 5 regarding increased waiting times at SSA field offices. The audit report has received media and Congressional attention. Last week, the Washington Post contacted the National Council of Social Security Management Associations to provide comment on the audit report. I wanted to take an opportunity to share the article, which ran on December 9.

 

Chris Detzler

NCSSMA President

 

Click here to read the full article.

Office of Customer Service (OCS)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

 

Recently the agency announced that the Office of Telephone Service would be renamed the Office of Customer Service and receive an expanded mandate.  NCSSMA TSC Representative Michelle Smith recently interviewed OCS Lead Program Analyst Annie Polastre-Jackson regarding the changes.

 

Michelle Smith - What was the transition from the Office of Telephone Service (OTS) to the Office of Customer Service (OCS)?  

 

Annie Polastre-Jackson - OTS’s core functions were telephone delivery for the National 800 Number Network (N8NN) and the Field Office Network Enterprise (FONE).  With the transition to OCS, the organization has become about more than just telephone delivery, but rather OCS is now a customer-centric service delivery organization.  OCS is now responsible for the design, implementation, oversight, and re-engineering of business processes that affect the customer experience.  The office accomplishes its mission by monitoring service delivery and performance, analyzing customer feedback, and identifying solutions that improve the customer’s experience through a wide range of service delivery channels.

 

The first phase of the transition from OTS to OCS encompassed moving the management and oversight of the N8NN procedures and the Teleservice Center (TSC) Operating Guide workloads from OTS/OCS to the Office of Public Service and Operations Support (OPSOS).  At the same time...

 

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TSC Connection

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

 

I want to bid farewell as I leave my East Brunswick NJ Teleservice Center (TSC) Manager, NCSSMA TSC Representative, and NYRMS TSC Representative positions, respectively.  First, let me say, it is with great regret that I will no longer hold these positions. Although there is uncertainty and sadness as my entire career with the Social Security Administration (SSA) thus far has been in the TSC, change is inevitable. I now look forward to a new position that brings forth new challenges and adds more diverse experience to my career.

 

I encourage all TSC management to join their regional Associations, you will broaden your knowledge, have career resources by enhancing your network, opportunities to share your skills, access to an established support system of experienced people who are motivated to get things done, and my final thought, it is important to be proactive about things that matter.

 

During these last few years the membership has provided support, and through your encouragement and guidance, I have been able to excel at promoting the TSC perspective. I have shared a unique camaraderie, which I hope will continue in the years to come. I leave these positions with a great network of business associates who I know I will be able to reach out to in my new position.

 

The TSC was implemented in October 1988 to be an initial point of contact between the public and SSA. The callers into the N8NN today are...

 

Click here to read the full article.

NCSSMA Executive Committee Meeting

Monday, July 31, 2017

 

In June 2017, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend my first National Council of Social Security Management Associations (NCSSMA) Executive Committee (EC) Meeting as both a member of the Dallas region DRMA EC and a leadership development trainer.  

 

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said it best when he stated,

 

“It is amazing what you can accomplish when no one cares who gets the credit.”

 

I am not sure what I expected, but I am certain I experienced so much more!

 

First, due to a late flight, I was unable to meet the NCSSMA EC prior to the meeting in Central Office (CO).  Once I arrived and joined the team, through my initial observations, I immediately sensed deeply rooted relationships with the EC and the CO Executives.  Over the course of the two-day meeting in CO, I experienced the collaborative nature in which a group of empowered leaders worked to navigate through challenging issues raised during various sessions.  The mutual respect and team camaraderie was evident from the initial proceedings and through the duration of the meeting.  I also witnessed the courage of NCSSMA leaders to speak truth to power by initiating conversations regarding topics that affect our agency in the supportive environment that our agency leaders provided our EC to communicate challenges.  The fact that our . . .

 

Click here to read the full article.

NCSSMA Advocates for SSA Resources

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

 

What happens from one year to the next to ensure that the Social Security Administration has sufficient funding and staffing to meet the needs of the American public?  Especially when the priorities of Congressional appropriators often change from one legislative session to the next.  This is perhaps one of the most difficult questions faced by anyone who values the Social Security system, particularly for SSA employees who regularly experience first-hand the consequences of budget uncertainty year after year.  Per the Department of Justice guidelines of the Anti-Lobbying Act, SSA is able to legally educate Congress about the agency’s concerns through designated congressional liaisons.  But aside from this educational outreach, how is Congress made aware of the unique, legitimate challenges faced by SSA that necessitate appropriate spending levels?  There are several national organizations who contact Congress to advocate for SSA’s resource needs on behalf of the public we serve.

 

One of these organizations is NCSSMA.  How many of you knew that you belonged to an organization that regularly has some of the most effective and successful contacts with members of Congress regarding SSA’s budget?  Such effective contacts start with the efforts of NCSSMA President Chris Detzler and NCSSMA Washington Representative Rachel Emmons.  Together with other members of the NCSSMA Executive Committee, Chris and Rachel meet in-person with key members of Congress several times a year.  Chris does this on his own time.  They also create multiple position papers that are regularly distributed on Capitol Hill, which seek to play a role in the decision-making process of Congress regarding SSA’s budget.  

 

Click here to read the full article.

My Day on the Hill

Monday, July 24, 2017

 

Since SFRMA’s November election, I have had the privilege of serving as President of the San Francisco Region Management Association (SFRMA). Since that time, I have been part of the NCSSMA Executive Committee along with five national officers and nine fellow regional presidents. Taking on the new responsibility brought me several new assignments and learning experiences. Most recently, I took my first trip to Capitol Hill and what an experience.

 

Before embarking on this trip, I had spoken to SFRMA past presidents and other past attendees about their trips to the Hill. As you can imagine, I was excited. If you have ever been to Washington, D.C., you may have witnessed the buzz as people are hustling to and from the train station up to the Hill. However, this time, I was one of those people hustling. As I made the long trek from the train station to Capitol Hill, I must admit, I was a little nervous, but also excited.

 

Fortunately, I teamed up with one of the national officers who had been to the Hill before, and she knew her way around. Otherwise, I know I would have gotten lost. If you have ever been in any of the congressional buildings, seen photos or watched a movie, you know what I mean. Walking into that first building was like being transported to another world. There are tons of people moving fast, dressed sharp, and most likely on their way to their next meeting. The history, architecture of building, and the surroundings were both beautiful and humbling.

 

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Leadership Counts: The Manager’s Discussion Board

Monday, August 7, 2017

 

Have you ever been on a Deputy Commissioner for Operations (DCO) call and had a question, but were reluctant to ask? Have you ever felt a decision was made in Headquarters that might not have considered all Field Office or TSC perspective?  If you answered yes to either question, you have a channel to address both scenarios by utilizing the Manager’s Discussion Board (MDB).  

 

The MDB SharePoint site was originally created in November 2013 as a platform for management to bring up ideas and issues and discuss these items with other managers. It was also a means for the DCO to gather insight from managers on topics that are important to them.  Topics range from administrative issues to workload processes.  However, the MDB does not address policy or personnel issues as those should be directed to the proper channels.

 

Recently, NCSSMA worked with DCO on revamping this important communication tool. The initiative began with an idea that sprang up from within the San Francisco Region and took flight with a suggestion letter to the DCO, at that time, Nancy Berryhill. After Nancy read the letter, she reached out to the NCSSMA President to establish a workgroup that would work alongside DCO Senior Advisors and OEST counterparts. NCSSMA also gathered a few managers from across the country to support this new initiative. Karla Montemayor, SFRMA Past President and our current NCSSMA Secretary, led a national workgroup of managers from the Kansas City, Boston and Dallas Regions. Together, NCSSMA and DCO worked closely to fine tune and finally unveil a new site that would benefit both managers and DCO leadership.

 

Click here to read the full article.

My Day in D.C.

Monday, August 14, 2017

 

In early June, I was honored to represent the National Council of Social Security Management Associations (NCSSMA) during a visit to Capitol Hill.  As chair of the Dallas Region Management Association (DRMA) Legislative Issues and Grassroots Committee, I was familiar with some of the legislative and political aspects of our agency.  However, this trip was definitely outside my normal scope of duties.

 

The group traveling to Capitol Hill consisted of five managers from across the country.  Each of our offices represented a different socioeconomic and geographic region.  NCSSMA’s Washington Representative, Rachel Emmons, accompanied us on our visit and facilitated our meetings that day.

 

We started the day off early with an hour-long train ride into D.C.  We met Rachel at Union Station and prepped for our first meeting with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  

 

Our meeting with OMB was informative and eye opening.  Prior to the meeting, we provided OMB with an outline of the agency’s budget needs.  This served as the talking points for our discussion.   During the discussion, they were very candid about our agency’s budget.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) fared much better than most other agencies in this environment. Most have proposed cuts; some of which are significant.

 

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Effective Resolutions

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

 

As I look forward to the coming year, I find myself reflecting on the previous one. I look back on successes and failures as well as the opportunities missed. Whether professionally or in our personal lives, I am sure you have wished, like me, that you could accomplish more. Whether it is time constraints or competing priorities, it seems like there is never enough time to do everything.

 

Have you ever met those people who appear to get everything accomplished and have time left over? I often marvel at those who manage to do so many things and excel at them. If we dig a little deeper though, we may find that these people are not superhuman, they are more focused and, in turn, more effective in the things they do.

 

Effectiveness can be learned, but it takes hard work and diligence. You cannot learn to be effective in a day. It takes a long-term commitment on your part. The key is to implement small steps that will eventually become effective habits.

As we begin a new year, we often make resolutions to get in shape or eat healthier foods. What if we made a commitment to be more effective this year?

 

Here are three steps we can all take to be more effective in everything we do. If we do these three, simple things, we will be noticeably more effective!

 

Click here to read the full article.

Why You Need Professional Liability Insurance

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

 

Like any insurance, one hopes they never need to use it.  As managers at the Social Security Administration (SSA), you make decisions every day that may place you in a vulnerable position when it comes to complaints and allegations against you.  Decisions you make will not always be popular and employees may take action against you because they disagree with the decision you made.  SSA managers may be accused of discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, or creating a hostile work environment.  Defending yourself against allegations can be stressful, time-consuming, and costly.  Just like automobile, homeowners and medical insurance, professional liability insurance provides you with coverage and peace of mind for actions taken against you in the workplace.  

 

What is professional liability insurance and what does it cover?

 

Professional liability insurance (PLI) provides protection to an employee accused of misconduct or wrongdoing in the course of doing his or her job.

 

The specific details of professional liability coverage vary by plan and insurance company, but it generally will cover legal fees in administrative investigations, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) investigations where you are named as the responsible management official (RMO), and in disciplinary actions until the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) makes a final decision.  

 

Click here to read the full article.

 

Local Service, National Impact

Friday, April 20, 2018

 

How can local Social Security managers make an impact on national staffing levels and the agency’s budget? By getting involved and serving on NCSSMA’s Legislative Initiatives and Grassroots Committee!

 

If you think this committee just pens strongly worded letters to Members of Congress, this article will shed some light on all the great work that goes on behind the scenes.

 

Several years ago, NCSSMA’s Washington Representative, Rachel Emmons, advised us that the traditional letter writing campaigns to our elected officials were an antiquated and less-than-effective practice. Since that time, the Legislative Initiatives and Grassroots Committee has created an effective approach to communicating with the legislators who make decisions about our budget.  

 

First, we identified the key Members of Congress who are primarily responsible for drafting SSA’s budget: the members of the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittees.  

 

Next, we matched Social Security managers with members of these subcommittees according to the Congressional districts or states of the legislators. Many of these SSA managers have established excellent working relationships with . . .

 

Click here to read the full article.

 
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