Social Security Inspector General Report: SSA's Hiring Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

August 31, 2010
Contact: (410) 965-2671
In 2008, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reported that Social Security disability claimants faced, on average, a four-month wait for an initial decision on an application, and a wait of over two years for a claim appealed to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Congress and the President responded to this backlog by providing SSA with $500 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to process the backlogged disability and retirement workloads, which were increasing due to both the aging of the baby boom generation and the economic downturn.
On August 11, 2010, the OIG issued a report that examined SSA's use of these funds and found that SSA reported to OMB the hiring of an additional 2,415 staff to process disability and retirement workloads in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009. The OIG report found that SSA timely reported aggregate FY 2009 staffing information to OMB and relating to the number of ARRA employees hired at the Agency: 1,530 in the Office of Operations (Operations), 585 in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR); and 300 in the disability determination services (DDS). In addition, the auditors found that the new hire data reported by Operations and ODAR was accurate, but due to the nature of DDS reporting, the auditors could only determine that hiring in the many DDS locations was consistent with the ARRA allocations.
The review also determined that SSA used multiple hiring authorities to hire the 2,115 employees in Operations and ODAR in addition to the Competitive Service authority. For example, about 74 percent of Operations' employees were hired using the Federal Career Internship Program authority. In addition, about 6 percent of the total new employees at these components were appointed under the Veterans' Recruitment Appointment authority. Moreover, approximately 8 percent of the Agency's hires in a sample of cases had previous Federal employment experience, including SSA interns who were converted to full-time employees.
To view the full report, click here, or for additional information, contact the OIG's Office of External Relations, at (410) 965-2671.