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Parking lot view of the Social Security Administration headquarter office located in Woodlawn, MD (Photo by Coolcaesar - available under CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 & GFDL, v1.178)
2121 Crystal Drive

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Social Security Administration Reviews

206 Reviews
206 Reviews
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Carolyn W. Colvin
28 Ratings
  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Most People I Know Are Looking To Leave

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Attorney Advisor  in  Baltimore, MD
    Current Employee - Attorney Advisor in Baltimore, MD

    I have been working at Social Security Administration full-time for more than 3 years


    For attorneys in the current atmosphere (dime a dozen/no jobs/under employed), this place seems like a dream. Most Attorney Advisors here work only 40 hours per week with no pressure to stay late or take work home. If you work overtime, they are paid time and a half for it. The pay isn't awful. You can work from home three days per week if you choose to. The new building on Wabash Avenue looks nice (if that's where you're stationed).


    It's hit or miss with your supervisor. Some are truly amazing, wonderful, kind, generous, encouraging people. Some are pure wretchedness - the devil incarnate. Each Branch Chief (direct supervisor to the Attorney Advisors in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review/Office of Appellate Operations) runs their branch like their own personal fiefdom with their own rules, their own unforgivable sins, and their own punishment structure. There is very little oversight from the Directors (the supervisors above Branch Chiefs) and what the Branch Chiefs say goes. Those Branch Chiefs your friends work under may be laid back, do things to raise morale, and raise the branch's productivity while your Branch Chief may be the exact polar opposite. The branches almost never "shake up," so if your boss is one of the evil ones, they often have to die or retire before you get another shot at someone who isn't possessed by the devil. This is particularly important to the ALMIGHTY PRODUCTION NUMBER (all bow). Attorney Advisors in ODAR/OAO have "production" they have to meet to keep their jobs. Each case an Attorney Advisor closes has some numerical value attached to it that allows a simple algorithm to calculate your "production number" at the end of each month. That number is everything. You lose your job or keep your job based on it. You are promoted or rot in your cube based on it. You have your transfers approved or denied based on it. You are granted monetary bonuses or denied monetary bonuses based on it. It is everything. It is what you think about in the morning when you wake up the thing you think about at night before you go to sleep. You dream about it. You pray to it. And, here the most important thing I can say: it is all that matters to management, because your production makes them look good or bad. They will say other things matter for promotions, but it's not true, and even some Directors will admit it. Now, if you have a good Branch Chief, they do things to "help" your production. If you have a bad Branch Chief, they do things that "hurt" your production. That seems counter intuitive, but it's true. These bad Branch Chiefs make it twice as difficult for you to make a good production as the good Branch Chiefs, but they just expect that you'll work twice as hard to make your numbers. You can imagine what the team spirit is like in those branches.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Morale has been horribly, horribly low for a while now. Upper management released an anonymous Rate-Your-Direct-Supervisor Review and many of us were honest about the abuses that regularly occur in our branch, but nothing was ever done about it. It's like we clicked "submit" and it went off into outer space. That didn't boost morale. I think it lowered it further. All Branch Chiefs should be forced to follow one set of rules. It's ludicrous that each Branch Chief treats their branch like a kingdom and the Attorney Advisors as their surfs. Employees don't leave companies, they leave bad supervisors. Everyone I know, with the exception of maybe three attorneys, is on USA Jobs daily looking to escape the horror. If you have a good Branch Chief, the job is boring but doable. If you have a bad Branch Chief, everyone is banging down the doors in between praying to God to save them and get them into a new position in SSA or another agency entirely.

    Doesn't Recommend
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    Disapproves of CEO