Social Security Administration Major Office Missions
This information is quoted from material available on the Social Security Administration (SSA) public Web site.1
OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY
The Office of the Commissioner (OC) is directly responsible for all programs administered by SSA; for State-administered programs directed by SSA; and for certain functions with respect to the black lung benefits program. It provides executive leadership to SSA. The Office is responsible for development of policy, administrative and program direction, program interpretation and evaluation, maintenance of relations with news media, research oriented to the study of the problems of economic insecurity in American society; and development of recommendations on methods of advancing social and economic security through social insurance and related programs.
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, COMMUNICATIONS
The Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Communications (ODCComm) is the SSA component responsible for the conduct of the Agency’s national public information/public affairs (PI/PA) programs. Performs SSA
The material in this appendix is quoted from mission statements in “Organizational Structure of the Social Security Administration,” http://www.ssa.gov/org/ssaorg.htm, accessed May 30, 2007.
Press Office function to ensure a unified and consistent message to SSA’s many publics. Provides guidance and direction from a PI/PA standpoint to the development of Agency policies and decisions and assesses their potential impact on SSA’s customers, stakeholders and employees. Creates, develops, facilitates, implements, oversees and evaluates all SSA communications and PI/PA activities, both internal and external. Cultivates and maintains effective working relationships with a wide range of national organizations, advocacy groups, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, the White House, and the media. Promotes full and open participation in the communications process between and among SSA’s customers and stakeholders at all levels. Coordinates the non-English communications activities within SSA. Additionally, responds to high priority correspondence and public inquiries; maintains an evaluation program that measures efforts to meet the communications needs of SSA’s customers, stakeholders and employees; produces PI/PA material designed to provide SSA’s various audiences with timely information about Social Security programs, protections, rights and responsibilities and related issues; utilizes state-of-the-art media, methods and technology in product development and dissemination and fully supports headquarters and field employees who are directly or indirectly involved in SSA PI/PA activities nationwide.
OFFICE OF DISABILITY ADJUDICATION AND REVIEW
The Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Disability Adjudication and Review (DCDAR) administers the nationwide Disability Adjudication and Review program for SSA. Provides the basic mechanisms through which individuals and organizations dissatisfied with determinations affecting their rights to and amounts of benefits or their participation in programs under the Social Security Act may administratively appeal these determinations in accordance with the requirements of the Administrative Procedure and Social Security Acts. DCDAR includes a nationwide field organization staffed with Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) who conduct impartial hearings and make decisions on appeals filed by claimants, their representatives, providers-of-service institutions and others under the Social Security Act. The Appeals Council of DCDAR impartially reviews ALJ decisions, either on the Appeals Council’s own motion or at the request of the claimant, and renders the Commissioner’s final decision when review is taken. Reviews new court cases to determine whether the case should be defended on the record or the Commissioner should seek voluntary remand, and reviews final court decisions in light of the programmatic and administrative implications involved and makes recommendations as to whether appeal should be sought. Provides advice and recommendations on Social Security Administration program policy and related matters, including proposed Social Security Rulings.
OFFICE OF DISABILITY AND INCOME SECURITY PROGRAMS
The Deputy Commissioner, Disability and Income Security Programs is the principal advisor to the Commissioner of Social Security on program policy issues and is involved in strategic planning, policy development, and analysis of SSA program policy. The Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Disability and Income Security Programs (ODCDISP) directs the formulation of program policy for SSA. It directs and manages the planning, development, issuance, and evaluation of operational policies, standards, and instructions for the Retirement and Survivors Insurance, Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, and other SSA programs. The Office manages SSA’s disability and SSI policy and research agendas and long-term disability initiatives. The Office assists in achievement of consistency in program policy across programs administered by SSA. The Office is involved in analyses of legislative and regulatory specifications and budgetary impacts of legislation on programs administered by SSA. The Office produces data on the programs of the Agency. It is involved in the development of demonstrations and studies that provide recommendations on program improvements. The Office is responsible for the Agency’s Regulatory Program. Develops and implements policies and procedures and coordinates activities relating to the operation of Social Security programs outside of the United States.
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, BUDGET, FINANCE AND MANAGEMENT
The Office of the Deputy Commissioner Budget, Finance and Management (ODCBFM) directs the administration of comprehensive SSA management programs including budget, acquisition and grants, facilities management and publications and logistics. The Office directs the development of Agency policies and procedures as well as the management of the Agency financial management systems.
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, HUMAN RESOURCES
The Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Human Resources (ODCHR) directs the administration of comprehensive SSA human resources programs including: human capital and planning initiatives, personnel management, labor management relations, employee relations, civil rights and equal opportunity, and training.
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, LEGISLATION AND CONGRESSIONAL AFFAIRS
The Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Legislation and Congressional Affairs develops and conducts the legislative program of SSA, serves as the focal point for all legislative activity in SSA, analyzes legislative and regulatory initiatives and develops specific positions and amendments. The Office evaluates the effectiveness of programs administered by SSA in terms of legislative needs, and analyzes and develops recommendations on related income maintenance, social service and rehabilitation program proposals, particularly those which may involve coordination with SSA-administered programs, and on other methods of providing economic security. It provides advisory service to SSA officials on legislation of interest to SSA pending in Congress. It also provides legislative drafting to officials within the Executive Branch, congressional committees, individual Members of Congress and private organizations interested in Social Security legislation. It establishes and maintains a working relationship with all Members of Congress. It serves as SSA’s information gathering and dissemination staff on congressional activities affecting SSA programs and handles certain claims and administrative matters that are particularly urgent or sensitive to Members of Congress.
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, OPERATIONS
The Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Operations (ODCO) directs and manages central office and geographically dispersed operations installations. It oversees regional operating program, technical, assessment and program management activities. It directs studies and actions to improve the operational effectiveness and efficiency of its components. It promotes systems and operational integration and defines user needs in the strategic planning process. It determines automation support needs for Operations components. It oversees the coordination and implementation of SSA’s policies for the electronic delivery of Agency services to the public. This Office defines user concerns in the development of operational and programmatic specifications for new and modified systems, including the evaluation and implementation phases. When mutually agreed, provides support to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) and/or specific State Disability Determination Services. Provides budget and management guidance for the disability claims activities as carried out by the State Disability Determination Services (DDS).
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, POLICY
The Deputy Commissioner, Policy is the principal advisor to the Commissioners of Social Security on major policy issues and is responsible for major activities in the areas of strategic policy planning, policy research and evaluation, statistical programs, and overall policy development and analysis. The Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Policy (ODCP) serves as the Agency lead spokesperson in presenting policy proposals and analysis within and outside the Executive Branch. The Office directs the formulation of overall policy for SSA and ensures the consistency of policy development and implementation activities across all programs administered by SSA. The Office broadly formulates, promulgates and interprets programs, objectives, and policy. The Office directs research, evaluation and analysis, and development of demonstrations and studies supporting the policy development of SSA; provides recommendations on modification of social insurance and income assistance programs administered by SSA; and conducts the statistical programs of the Agency. The Office is involved in developing legislative and regulatory specifications and analyses of legislative and budgetary impacts. The Office works with the Department of Treasury on issues of policy relating to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act and the Self-Employment Contributions Act, including such matters as definition of wages and implementation of laws. It directs formulation of Agency policy regarding related government programs that affect SSA programs and/or operations and negotiates related agreements with other agencies. It evaluates the effectiveness of national policies in meeting both short and long-term program goals.
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, SYSTEMS
The Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Systems (ODCS) directs the conduct of systems and operational integration and strategic planning processes, and the implementation of a comprehensive systems configuration management, data base management and data administration program. Initiates software and hardware acquisition for SSA and oversees software and hardware acquisition procedures, policies and activities. Directs the development of operational and programmatic specifications for new and modified systems, and oversees development, validation and implementation phases.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF ACTUARY
The Office of the Chief Actuary (OCACT) plans and directs a program of actuarial estimates and analyses pertaining to the SSA-administered retirement, survivors and disability insurance programs and supplemen-
tal security income program and to projected changes in these programs. Evaluates operations of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund; estimates future operations of the trust funds; conducts studies of program financing; performs actuarial and demographic research on social insurance and related program issues; and estimates future workloads. Provides technical and consultative services to the Commissioner, the Board of Trustees of those two Trust Funds, and, as requested, congressional committees. Appears before congressional committees to provide expert testimony on the actuarial aspects of Social Security issues.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER
The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) develops the Information Resource Management Plan and defines the Information Technology (IT) vision and strategy for the Social Security Administration. The Office shapes the application of technology in support of the Agency’s Strategic Plan including the Information Technology Architecture that outlines the long term Strategic Architecture and Systems Plans for the Agency and includes Agency IT Capital Planning. The OCIO supports and manages pre and post implementation reviews of major IT programs and projects as well as project tracking at critical review points. The OCIO provides oversight of major IT acquisitions to ensure they are consistent with Agency architecture and with the IT budget, and is responsible for the development of Agency IT security policies. The Office directs the realization of the Agency’s Information Technology Architecture to guarantee architecture integration, design consistency, and compliance with federal standards, works with other Agencies on government-wide projects such as e-GOVERNMENT, and develops long range planning for IT Human Resource Strategies.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF STRATEGIC OFFICER
The Office of the Chief Strategic Officer directs the administration of SSA’s comprehensive management programs including strategic planning, workforce analysis, and competitive sourcing. It directs the development of the Agency’s tactical and strategic planning process, the Agency Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report; and tracks Agency performance in relation to established performance measures. Working with all components, the office identifies those priority initiatives needed to meet agency goals, objectives and outcomes and how to link these to budget input so that they can be funded and the outcomes achieved. It directs, develops and implements a comprehensive program of management studies, research and analyses. This allows SSA to evaluate and determine the feasibility of implementing major changes affecting the SSA organization, its administrative
practices, its methods of operation and work processes and procedures, workflow and workload processing positions. It directs the Agency’s policies and procedure as well as the management of the Agency competitive sourcing program.
OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL
The Office of the General Counsel advises the Commissioner on legal matters, is responsible for providing all legal advice to the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, and all subordinate organizational components (except OIG) of SSA in connection with the operation and administration of SSA. Responsible for the policy formulation and decision making related to the collection, access, and disclosure of such information in the records of the Social Security Administration; and processing of Freedom of Information requests and appeals (under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts).
OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is directly responsible for meeting the statutory mission of promoting economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the administration of Social Security Administration (SSA) programs and operations and to prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in such programs and operations. To accomplish this mission, the OIG directs, conducts and supervises a comprehensive program of audits, evaluations and investigations, relating to SSA’s programs and operations. OIG also searches for and reports systemic weaknesses in SSA programs and operations, and makes recommendations for needed improvements and corrective actions.
OFFICE OF QUALITY PERFORMANCE
The Office of Quality Performance directs the development of innovative changes to the current Agency quality management program, including the program’s initiatives and mechanisms when they are not clearly delineated by statutory authority. Such changes may impact quality management Agency-wide in terms of its programs, policies, and procedures. The Office of Quality Performance is responsible for rendering formal advice and recommendations to Agency executives on a range of issues relating specifically to in-line and end-of-line quality performance management in each of the Agency’s core business areas. It works with Deputy Commissioner-level components to direct the Agency-wide quality performance management program, its policies and initiatives involving one or more components of SSA. It also provides oversight for SSA’s computer matching operations.