Social Security Employee

Social Security Employee

Government Peon

Metropolis, US

Female, 45

Sorry about that hiatus - I got sidetracked in life, but I'm back!
I work in the largest Social Security office in my area, working primarily with disabled individuals, but I have my hands in all aspects of what our agency does. Retirement, disability, survivors, SSN cards, the whole shebang.
I love what I do, and do my best to juggle the work which is far too much for one person to complete. I work with other hard workers, and some who are just taking up space.

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23 Questions


Last Answer on May 25, 2013

Best Rated

My neighbor's an ex-cop on disability. He spends his days drag-racing cars and doing very physical yardwork. He's anything but disabled. Should I report this? It's not really my business but we work hard & my taxes are funding his permanent vacation.

Asked by Argh almost 12 years ago

First of all, how old is he? If he's 66 or over, we don't consider them disabled anymore - at this age it has converted to a retirement benefit. If he's a younger guy, try to gather as much info as you can about him through conversation - birthday (or at least age), place of birth, parents names, etc. and use the Social Security Fraud resources listed on our website:

Why is it so hard to get fired from a federal job? If someone's simply not getting the job done or doing it way too slowly, why on earth would they be kept on staff?

Asked by D Schrute almost 12 years ago

Can't exactly answer this, since I've never been in management outside of the private business, but my strong educated guess is that it's highly political. Since I've been with the agency I've only seen a few, but at least 3 people come immediately to mind who were a complete waste of office space.

It sounds like you're really trying to put yourself out there for the clients. What has been the most satisfying result of you going above and beyond the call of duty?

Asked by Mary W over 11 years ago

Sorry for the hiatus, I hope you stop back in someday to get this answer. 

There have been several instances - usually it is with disabled individuals who are trying to go back to work. I love knowing that I am helping them to regain their sense of purpose in life! 

That, and when you can help a little old lady... that's just the best :)

What was the most heartbreaking situation where you had to deny someone disability or some other entitlement even though you personally thought they deserved it?

Asked by nocando almost 12 years ago

That's a loaded question, because why does anyone DESERVE it? When you come right down to it, a person gets denied for only two reasons: 1) The person didn't pay the taxes required to be insured for benefits. 2) The person doesn't meet some other factor of entitlement, whether it be age, citizenship or lawful alien status, they weren't married long enough, they don't meet the medical rules for disability, etc. Yeah, I'm in the wrong line of work - I don't believe a person deserves to have the taxpayers support them simply by virtue of being poor. No, I don't think the system needs to be abolished, but if you don't meet all the rules, you don't "deserve" it. That said, one of the saddest things I see time and time again is people who are terminally ill, diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, 4 months to live, and they are denied because of their earnings. We don't even make a medical determination because they are still working SGA (see above for definition). Then when they quit, there is a 5 month waiting period and they're dead before they're ever due a payment.

What do you think is the easiest or most cost-effective way to remove fraud from the system?

Asked by Ron_Washington almost 12 years ago

Mandatory truth serum at each interview. Seriously, it's all in the people. Interfaces to verify information with other agencies are all well and good, but there comes a point where we are going to become Big Brother. So, I guess my honest answer is this: TRAINING to produce skilled claim interviewers who know what to look for and how to probe out the truth. And slowgrind - I'm not ignoring your question, I want to think on it a while longer. I'll get to you, I promise!

How many of your co-workers are "chair-fillers" as you call them, doing the bare minimum every day? Why do you think so many government workers are so unmotivated like that?

Asked by Snowcaps almost 12 years ago

You made me think pretty seriously about this one - I don't want to be unfair to the people I work with who seem, like myself, to really care about what they do. I would say about 20% off the people in my office do the bare minimum to get by, with another 15% just waiting for the next promotion, with no concern about anything or anyone except getting there. On a positive note, while considering all of this, I concluded that about 25% of us are really knocking ourselves out trying to keep our heads above the enormous piles of backlog because we truly give a damn. We work weekends desperately trying to catch up and we are constantly frustrated about the poor level of service we’re forced to give. That leaves about 40% who are average workers, who aren't slacking off, but they aren't particularly trying to excel at their jobs, either. Why? Why not? Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get fired from a federal job? Neither do I, because I've never seen it happen.

What are the most common ways you see people trying to beat the system?

Asked by Samson almost 12 years ago

I don't think I've ever worked with anyone who was outright committing fraud - usually they just try to underestimate their earnings, or 'fib' about receiving a non-covered pension (pension based on work that paid into a private pension plan INSTEAD of paying SS taxes - their benefits are computed differently). Bummer is, yes, we'll pay them, but then later when they aren't working anymore, guess what? Whoops, we found out, and now they owe us money back, and our first line of recoup is to withhold payments.