Report Summary

Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General

August 2010

The Social Security Administration’s Hiring Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009


To determine whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) reported American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) new hire data to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) timely and accurately.


ARRA was signed into law on February 17, 2009. ARRA provided SSA with $500 million to process its increasing disability and retirement workloads. SSA made its ARRA efforts available to the public on, the official Government ARRA Web site. To view the full report, visit

Our Findings

SSA timely reported aggregate Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 staffing information to OMB and relating to the number of ARRA employees hired in the Offices of Operations (Operations) and Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), and the disability determination services (DDS). In addition, we reviewed a sample of new hire records and found the number of FY 2009 ARRA employees hired at Operations and ODAR was accurate. At the time of our audit, about 8 percent of the Agency’s new hires had separated from SSA because either they resigned or SSA terminated them. Because of the Agency’s process for tracking employment at the DDS level, we were unable to verify the accuracy of the 300 DDS employees hired using ARRA funding. However, we were able to determine that FY 2009 hiring at DDS locations was consistent with the ARRA positions allocated by the Agency.

SSA used multiple hiring authorities to hire the 2,115 employees in Operations and ODAR. In terms of the most used hiring authority by component, approximately 74 percent of Operations’ employees was hired using the Federal Career Internship Program authority, and 48 percent of the ODAR employees was hired using the traditional Competitive Service authority. About 6 percent of the total new employees at these components was hired under Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment authority. In our review of the sample cases, we identified two cases where military service information for new employees needed updating in SSA’s system. In addition, we found that approximately 8 percent of the Agency’s hires in our sample had previous Federal employment experience, including SSA interns who were converted to full-time employees.