Why Can't the Social Security Office and County Department of Social Services Communicate Better?

December 15,2015
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About a year ago, the Poughkeepsie Social Security Office and the Hearing Offices moved to a new shared space. Now there is a common waiting area, and while we wait for our clients’ hearings we see and hear everyone who is waiting to speak with Social Security for every other reason.

Frequently you can hear both sides of the conversation, and while the Social Security employees are unfailingly courteous, at times their answers are not as complete as the inquiry demands.

But the one thing that jumps out at me is how often people are shuttled back and forth between Social Security and the County Department of Social Services before an issue is resolved. The reasons this happens are many, but the occurrence is so frequent that it seems like there needs to be a “hot line” between the two agencies.

Here is my suggestion: either have each office designate a specific person to handle the interface, or have both offices be ready, willing and able to do a conference call whenever the need arises. If they created such a system, the time savings would be instant and significant. When a problem can be solved with one visit and one call, instead of multiple visits to each location, each agency is freed to handle other work more expeditiously.

Obviously one agency is Federal, while the other is County, and that may cause this to be harder than it seems. But the need is so obvious that I am going to ask a friend who runs a local Social Security office what she thinks about it.

Lew Insler