Crapo Statement at Hearing on Social Security Operations During the Pandemic
Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, delivered the following remarks at a hearing entitled, “Social Security During COVID: How the Pandemic Hampered Access to Benefits and Strategies for Improving Service Delivery.”
The text of Ranking Member
Crapo’s remarks, as prepared, is below.
you, Mr. Chairman, for holding today’s hearing on Social Security service
delivery during the pandemic.
Security employees were informed in March of last year that they would be
teleworking indefinitely and that field offices would be closed to the public
because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
days of announcing a shutdown, the majority of field office employees and a
large number of teleservice center employees were teleworking.
challenges included lack of equipment, software licensing, and data capacity.
The leadership, management and the workforce at the Social Security
Administration—or SSA—responded rapidly to increase data capacity and stabilize
networks after only a few weeks.
the pandemic, conducting office and processing-center work in-person was not
possible because of lockdowns and worker-safety concerns. With those constraints, SSA has had to
innovate, relax some procedural rules and perform in many previously untested
far, the agency has performed admirably and rapidly to ensure that beneficiaries,
including at-risk populations, obtain the services they need.
have been impressed by the dedication and diligence of SSA’s workforce, field
office and processing center managers, and leadership, all the way to the
service and service delivery have been at the forefront of their efforts during
are fortunate to have SSA’s head of operations, Ms. Grace Kim, with us
today. I am interested in her assessment
of where SSA has been during the pandemic, where things stand currently and
lessons learned thus far to help inform the future.
the beginning of the pandemic, field office management staff have continued to
physically go into offices to handle incoming and outgoing mail, scan documents
to support those working from home, provide in-person service for critical need
cases and handle facility-related duties.
Peggy Murphy is also with us today, and I look forward to hearing about her
experiences and insights as a representative of field office management.
am also interested in the experiences and service-delivery perspectives of our
other two witnesses, Ms. McGuinness and Mr. Causeya.
the pandemic, it has been important to focus on at-risk populations, including
many on Supplemental Security Income, Disability Insurance beneficiaries and
am interested in hearing today about service delivery to at-risk beneficiaries
and outreach. My understanding is that the
Social Security Administration has engaged in an unprecedented amount of
outreach to community organizations, beneficiary-advocate organizations and
directly to at-risk beneficiaries themselves.
commend the Social Security Administration’s commitment and dedication to
ensure that beneficiaries receive service and benefits.
Saul has stayed true to the focus on beneficiary service that we all expected
when he was confirmed, on a bipartisan basis, by this Committee and the full Senate.
leadership and a dedicated workforce have been key to enabling the Agency to
confront the service-delivery shock of the pandemic. Thus far, SSA has risen to the
“Thank you Mr.
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