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Sat, Jan. 18

Social Security: Agency offers 'improvement and accountability'

Social Security has just published a new online leaflet called Major Strategic Accomplishments - Fiscal Year 2008. The purpose of the document is "to let the American people know how the agency is working to improve public service and to provide accountability for the tax dollars that we spend," Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue said.

In 2008, Social Security worked toward eliminating the disability hearings backlog and preventing its recurrence, processing about 575,000 hearings requests and 83,400 Appeals Council Reviews. Social Security improved the speed and quality of the disability process, processing about 2.6 million disability claims and 560,000 reconsiderations.

We also implemented two processes - Quick Disability Determinations and Compassionate Allowances - to fast-track disability cases that have a high probability of allowance.

Social Security improved retiree and core services, processing about 4.24 million retirement and survivors applications and more than 18 million Social Security number requests. We also implemented the online Retirement Estimator to enable the public to get immediate and personalized benefit estimates.

Social Security preserved the public's trust by issuing the Agency Strategic Plan to lay out our vision for the future and by earning the Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting for our Performance and Accountability


This is just a brief sampling of Social Security's accomplishments in 2008. Social Security and its workers are always working to serve the American public in the best way possible. That ensures that Social Security is a sound investment even during these turbulent financial


For all Social Security accomplishes and offers to the American people, it's reassuring to note that administrative costs are very low: only about 0.9 percent of total expenditures.

Find out more reasons Social Security is a good investment in America by reading our new publication, Major Strategic Accomplishments - Fiscal Year 2008, at

Iris Greene is the Social Security manager in Prescott.

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