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Social Security Administration Reviews

Updated February 18, 2018
689 reviews

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3.0
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Carolyn W. Colvin
200 Ratings

689 Employee Reviews

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Pros
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More Pros and Cons

  1. "Stay far away from Field Offices!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Field Office
    Current Employee - Field Office
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Social Security Administration full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Pros are pay and vacation time.

    Cons

    Stay out of the Field Offices! Diminishing staffs, increasing workloads. Managers push quality but really only want to meet the PSIs goals. Most managers are either pushing you to the brink because they are trying to make themselves look good to promote up or hiding in their offices trying to ride it out to retirement. Management truly does not care about staff. I have been on both sides of the fence - I have been in management at Social Security and a bargaining unit employee. This is not the agency it was 10 years ago. Most hires are now either Veterans or relatives. Some of the hires are very qualified, some are not and will never be able to master the job. Additionally, nothing is being done to protect the employees. More and more violent episodes by irate public with no increase in security measures. This is why most managers offices are located far away from the lobbies or behind barrier walls. I will retire as soon as I am able and find another place to work where I am able to feel at least the slightest semblance of appreciation from my supervisors.

    Advice to Management

    Get out of your office and at least pretend to care about your staff. Try answering the phones once in a while to help out instead of hiding out in your cubes/offices.


  2. "Not Merit Based, That Is For Sure"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Social Security Administration full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Alternate work schedules are available.

    Cons

    Work environments within the agency vary widely, even among components at headquarters. Agree that it’s way more about who you schmooze and office politics than an employee’s true value in the normal world, their skills, or their talent. You can try to write that off as just the way that it is in most workplaces but this is supposed to be a merit-based civil service system.

    Much of it is due to the way the government has to hire and promote and how certain factions take advantage of the hiring preferences to get their friends and the kids of their friends jobs. Government hiring preferences (not talking affirmative action here but schedule A and prior federal service, which can be far more problematic) are exploited for friends and family and thus lean towards bringing people in the door who are unqualified or unemployable in the private sector. This is no disrespect of Veterans or people with physical disabilities who can perform the mental functions of their jobs and who are a credit to any work environment. The dyslexics, learning disabled, and those with autism and emotional problems doing GS-12 through 15 jobs are another story though as are the kids of agency parents who got them summer internships at the OIG while in college. In my region, a certain group of marginally competent people tend to pass the pillage of the public among themselves in terms of jobs and promotions. People tend to rise to the level of their incompetence and that problem is getting worse without good leadership. (The agency has been without a commissioner since the new administration and it won’t get a serious leader at least until we get a new president. Not a partisan comment as we have had good commissioners appointed by past Republican presidents.)

    What daily life is like within the agency really depends on whether “the network” was able to infiltrate your chain of command. As people have stated, there is a serious crony problem in the agency, which is worsened by these people actually believing that they earned their promotions. When confronted, they talk about how qualified people “look better on paper”. The person who reportedly made this comment at a DCARO meeting yesterday needs to take a long hard look in the mirror before saying anyone looks better on paper.

    In my experience, those who contribute less to the actual work product tend to receive more pay, which comes off as a resentment of competence by those making compensation decisions but this is a conversation many have already started here. You learn to do just enough to get by and nothing more, which is the ever present problem with civil service. The system as a whole is inefficient because of this way of doing things but the “cleaning” never really gets at the problem because of the marginal power of those at the helm. They are proficient at exploiting stereotypes, harassing employees, twisting narratives, and making the problem appear to be anything but them.

    Advice to Management

    Leave this work to the people who can and want to do it (and not because we can't do anything else.)

  3. Helpful (3)

    "CSR"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Social Security Administration full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Holidays off and work schedule flexibility

    Cons

    Worse environment to work in along with adults over 50 behaving as kids. Gossip, bullying and extreme micromanagement from supervisors. Nepotism and you have to be angry and hostile to fit in on a specific level for praises and awards even if you’re not competent at your job. If you’re a good honest person it’s not the place for you.


  4. "Find Another Branch..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Tss
    Former Employee - Tss
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Social Security Administration full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great people during training but limited contact with individuals as it is a call center

    Cons

    Always on the phones. Management determines call performance and will dock your rating if you follow a pathway not assigned in the system. Have to remember where all information is in the system to not hurt your performance reviews.


  5. "House of Lies"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - DQB Examiner in New York, NY
    Current Employee - DQB Examiner in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Social Security Administration full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Work-life balance with flex hours and telework.

    Cons

    The DQB is a terrible place to work. Telework sounds nice but the management throughout DQB is pretty awful at this point and makes working conditions difficult for most employees outside of a small clique of friends and family. Same complaints as in most components but the stakes seem higher in DQB because of the amount of work the field sites are expected to do. In doing the quality review studies for the medical portion of disability determinations, examiners must read hundreds of pages of evidence for multiple claims everyday, write a lot of reports, and do a lot of paperwork. Also, deal with cronyism and unqualified bosses who couldn’t give direction if they tried because many were politically manipulated into their jobs and don’t have sufficient DDS experience, if any at all. Rewarding friendships instead of actual work to ultimately build easy consensus in management (because the rewards make people look like better promotional candidates than they really are) has gotten us to where we are, which is frankly a den of incompetence. DQB has also been stripped of nearly all the power it once had and is now just a subcomponent of subcomponent - more evidence of flaky management that was pushed away from the Commissioner’s table.

    Currently, the directors for OQR, to which DQB reports, are incredibly unqualified and typical cronies. The union is reporting that a then associate director (no names) lied to show off and have the DQBs meet an extraordinarily high quota for a certain claim types for a fiscal year. The workload that was prioritized was denied claims and it was ordered that the allowance workloads be “shelved”, which resulted in undue delays in people getting their money. Meanwhile, the employees were being lied to and told that all DQB offices were not meeting their quotas. Field site directors resigned after this because it was so unprofessional, they didn’t like lying to the staff with whom they spent years building relationships, and it’s just really terrible management. The person who ordered this was subsequently promoted by Commissioner Colvin. Another manager’s professional degree that got her into the SES is in speech language pathology - not management. It is well known that she led the agency that she came from into the ground. Also, how can this administrator have spent her entire career where she has and not have a single black friend on Facebook? Just a taste of what goes on in this component.

    We sat through an awards ceremony the other day in which the worst field sites were receiving the most awards. The two that were the most awarded lose the most RPCs and have absolutely no idea what they are doing in terms of policy, which is the job, but they push a lot of cases, which is all that anyone seems to care about at this point. There is a total emphasis on numbers and zero on quality outside of easy, quick cookie-cutter returns. An examiner I know taped two of her administrators telling her to just pass the cases and no one will ever know the difference. I heard the tape. No one appears to care about actually doing the work, which is very sad and stereotypical. A director said during a recent meeting, “Well, everyone makes mistakes…” A quality assurance component in which everyone makes mistakes – how very government.

    Most of the people in government who do the heavy lifting are people of color and those who benefit the most overwhelmingly tend to be white, so it doesn’t look like everyone thinks it does. People of color are chosen for management only in as much as they don’t cause friction.

    People who are smart make OQR a temporary blip on their resume if they can. It’s a mess.

    Advice to Management

    Stop with the cronyism. Inside the fishbowl, it's hard to see but if you step back, it's obvious that poor management killed this component IMO.


  6. "Benefit authorizer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Flexible hours, a lot of earned annual and sick leave

    Cons

    Competitive to move up the career ladder and there is drama every where you turn.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Customer Service Representative"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Kansas City, MO
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Kansas City, MO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Social Security Administration full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    There are none. You could offer me a million dollars and I would never go back

    Cons

    Negative environment. Callers constantly cussing you out asking where their moneys is at.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of most of the management as most of them can't do their job correctly.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Place sucks"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kansas City, MO
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kansas City, MO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Social Security Administration full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Flexible work hours and some of the people i work with. Every feferal holiday off.

    Cons

    Training is horrible as for a BA mentors okay reviewers process like we already in a Mod. Never see a manager. Negative reinforcement.

    Advice to Management

    Stop giving negative reinforcements on your reviews help a little bit better this job needs to be in OJT job not in a classroom and training we need to be with people side by side too much goes on too many mismanagement of documents.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "The most awful environment anyone would find!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Interpreter/Translator in Falls Church, VA
    Former Employee - Interpreter/Translator in Falls Church, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Social Security Administration full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Flexible hours, and some employees have the opportunity to telework three days a week.

    Cons

    Favoritism, prejudice, and fraud. Very incompetent and immoral management.

    Advice to Management

    Please retire and leave the position to people with values and high standards.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Horrible place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Claims Specialist in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Claims Specialist in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Social Security Administration full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    None , none , none, none , none

    Cons

    The staff only promote workers of a specific race. It is hard to move up in the company . Most workers stay in one position for 20-40 years. You work long hours and you don't make a lot without overtime. Women do not receive paid maternity time. You do not receive grievance days if someone in your family passes.

    Advice to Management

    Be fair to workers . Cut out nepotism


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