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Social Security Online
Social Security Update
February 2009

In This Issue:

Special Report: Economic Recovery Bill Provides Social Security with Resources to Help Americans

Social Security’s Online Services Continue to Sweep Accolades

Social Security is the Best Place to Work

Special Report: Economic Recovery Bill Provides Social Security with Resources to Help Americans

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Among its provisions are one-time payments to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries, as well as funding to help the agency address critical needs.

One Time PaymentOne-Time Payments of $250 For Social Security and SSI Beneficiaries

Nearly 55 million people who receive Social Security and SSI benefits will get a special one-time payment of $250. They should receive the one-time payment by late May 2009.

    • The payments will be automatic, so people receiving benefits do not need to take any action. 
    • People who receive both Social Security and SSI benefits will receive only one payment of $250. 
    • The legislation also provides for a one-time payment to recipients of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits. However, if a person receives Social Security or SSI benefits and also receives VA or RRB benefits, he or she will only receive one $250 payment. Social Security will send that payment.
    • In April, Social Security will send an advance notice with further information to each person who is eligible for the one-time payment.
    • So that we can issue the payments as quickly as possible, we ask that people not contact Social Security unless their payment is not received by June 4, 2009.

Meanwhile, we encourage people to visit for answers to frequently asked questions about the economic recovery one-time payments.

Additional Investment Funding to Social Security to Address Critical Agency Needs

Recovery.govAs part of the economic recovery bill, Congress provided additional funding of $1 billion for Social Security.

Congress has provided a critical $500 million for replacement of SSA’s National Computer Center (NCC). The NCC houses critical computer operations that are essential to prompt and accurate payment of benefits to many Americans, and stores data necessary to provide service to all Americans.  Because the NCC is over 30 years old, it will soon no longer be capable of supporting the growing demands of our computer systems and computer-based services.  With these recovery funds, SSA is taking timely action to ensure a new facility will be built and operational when the current center is near the end of its functional life

Congress also provided Social Security an additional $500 million to process growing retirement and disability workloads. Much of the funding will be used to hire additional employees to help the agency tackle our higher than anticipated workloads that have resulted from the economic downturn. The agency also plans to use Recovery Act funds for key information technology projects that will play an integral role in our ability to process additional work.

Finally, as part of the economic recovery legislation, the Federal government is investing about $20 billion in health information technology across the federal government. This comes as encouraging news to Social Security as our own efforts to improve the disability determination process using health information technology is well under way.

To learn more about the additional funding provided to Social Security under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, visit To read more about economic recovery efforts government-wide, visit

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Social Security’s Online Services Continue to Sweep Accolades

LapTop ComputerSocial Security’s online services have earned the highest overall score in the most recent e-Government Satisfaction Index. The index also gave three of Social Security’s applications the highest scores in government.

In a separate survey, Nextgov, a website devoted to technology and the federal government, listed as one of the top five federal websites in its review of best online practices.

The federal government’s overall score is 75 out of 100. By comparison, Social Security’s score was 79. Our Retirement Estimator scored 89. And the online Retirement Application and Medicare Extra Help Application each scored 87.

To learn more about the American Customer Satisfaction Index and how Social Security’s services scored, read the press release on the subject

If you’d like to take a look at the highest-scoring online services in government, visit

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Social Security is the Best Place to Work

Award Ribbon

These days, it’s not always easy to find employees who are both satisfied with their employers and enjoy what they’re doing. But such workplaces do exist. And one of them is Social Security.

Equal Opportunity Magazine named Social Security the top government employer. The magazine asked readers to name the public and private sector employers for whom they would most like to work or that they believe would provide a positive working environment for members of minority groups.

The agency also received high marks from its employees in the 2008 Federal Human Capital Survey. The survey focused on employee perceptions regarding critical areas of their work life, areas that drive employee satisfaction, commitment and, ultimately, retention in the workforce. Social Security received especially high marks from its employees for Job Satisfaction and Leadership and Knowledge Management, ranking among the top 10 federal agencies in both categories.

“President Obama is calling new generations of Americans to public service,” said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security. “They can look upon this survey and know that a career at Social Security is the right choice.

To learn more, read the press release at

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