Executive Order: Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government
On December 13, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order which affects 17 federal agencies and intends to streamline government services. The order is intended to make filing taxes, changing your name or address with federal agencies and managing government benefits a lot easier for social security disability recipients. The ability to interact with government agencies via electronic means is included in this order and it’s hoped that this will allow for efficient and timely service from the IRS and Social Security Administration (SSA). Below, the social security disability attorneys at Match and Farnsworth have provided some insight on the new order
Public Appearance and Original In-Person Signatures
The order provides for a means to process applications for benefits without an individual having to publicly appear at a SSA hearing in a local Social Security office. In addition, the order directs the SSA to stop requiring a “wet” or original in person signature on applications for benefits. The requirement that claimant’s provide a signature during the Covid-19 crisis has resulted in a significant slowing of the processing of claims.
The Social Security Administration is still working remotely, and local offices are closed to the public. So, obtaining a signature is difficult at best. Currently, a Social Security employee must manually print and send application summaries to claimant’s and the claimant’s must sign and return the summaries, which must then be manually entered into the computer system before a claim can proceed. Representatives in field offices have been working remotely since March 2020, and this signature requirement has resulted in significant delays and confusion. For example, in Utah, the application summary routinely arrives two to three months after the application is originally submitted.
New Social Security Timelines for Applications
Under the Order, Social Security has 120 days to identify policy reforms to allow for an electronic and mobile friendly process for submitting an application for benefits. It’s hoped that these reforms will be successful in helping claimant’s get the benefits they need in a more timely fashion.