Open Data Customer Feedback

Open Data Themes

Last updated on December 7, 2016

At Social Security, we foster and embrace an environment where anyone can help us make open data work better. That is why we reached out to you, internal and external stakeholders, to help us determine our priorities in terms of specific data that we should be releasing and other efforts we should be employing to support open and transparent access to our data assets.

Through our ongoing Customer Feedback Process we captured your ideas on data at the Social Security Administration. We also reached out to our top data users- either data on our websites, data sets on Data.gov, or data through FOIA requests and received their feedback through surveys and direct contacts. We received many ideas on what data you would like made available, and how you would like to use it. The list below represents the most common themes that have emerged as we’ve engaged with you. We wanted to share this collection with you, and plan to periodically report the progress of these and future ideas we receive.

Theme 1: Modernize Communications

Updated: October 31, 2016

Modernizing how we communicate with the public continues to be a top priority for us. On July 23, 2016, SSA launched a new feature on my Social Security, a secure Message Center. When a new message is added to the user’s secure Message Center, a notification is sent via email or text message to the users’ personal email or text-ready phone, based on user preference.

Last year, we launched our new Social Security Matters blog. This blog is a platform for Social Security to share our goals, programs, and online services with the American public and stakeholders, while providing a forum for readers to share their feedback. The interactive nature of this communications outlet provides the public with one more avenue of participation, and enhances our commitment to two-way, new media communications.

Updated: May 24, 2016

Modernizing how we communicate with the public continues to be a top priority for us. This summer, my Social Security users will be able to access a new feature, a secure Message Center. When a new message is added to the user’s secure Message Center, a notification is sent via email or text message to the users’ personal email or text-ready phone, based on user preference.

Another communication enhancement to my Social Security that we will implement in Fall 2016 is Click-to-Chat (CTC). Through Click-to-Chat, the public will connect with an SSA online technician to receive one-to-one service through their computer. SSA technicians will answer questions, assist with online transactions, or refer an inquiry to the proper service channel. Upon completion of the chat, a user can access a complete transcript of the chat session in their my Social Security Message Center.

Last year, we launched our new Social Security Matters blog. This blog is a platform for Social Security to share our goals, programs, and online services with the American public and stakeholders, while providing a forum for readers to share their feedback. The interactive nature of this communications outlet provides the public with one more avenue of participation, and enhances our commitment to two-way, new media communications.

Theme 2: More Online Services

Updated: December 7, 2016

In December 2016, SSA launched a new service for my Social Security account holders where the public can check on the status of an application for benefits or an appeal filed with us. Users will now have access to detailed information about retirement, disability, survivors, Medicare, and Supplemental Security Income claims and appeals filed either online at socialsecurity.gov or with a Social Security employee. For more information on this new feature in my Social Security, read our post in the Social Security Matters blog.

Updated: May 25, 2016

In July 2016, we are scheduled to launch a new application that will allow my Social Security customers to review the detailed status of both internet and in-office initial Social Security and Supplemental Security Income claims, and Medicare Only claims and appeals.

Other plans for late fiscal year 2016 include plans to develop an online service to allow for the electronic reporting of Disability wages electronically. Under this initiative, we will also review all current processes to ensure consistency in the collection of the wage information.

Updated: May 28, 2015

In March 2015 we updated the online appeal process, making it more flexible and streamlined, providing easier navigation and eliminating requests for the same information. The new online appeal process allows the user to submit both the appeal form and the medical report in just one online session. Users can electronically submit supporting documents with the appeal request. The screen messages and application language are clear and concise, and the navigation and on-screen help has been improved. Users living outside the United States are now able to file appeals online. For more information on our new online service, visit: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices/#a0=2

Updated: February 20, 2015

In 2015, we expanded our online services so that Social Security beneficiaries can now access their SSA-1099 from our website, www.socialsecurity.gov, using a my Social Security account. With this new online service the public can now view, download, and print a copy of their SSA 1099. This replaces the old process to have a replacement paper statement mailed to you. For more information on our new online service, visit: http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/.

Theme 3: Provide Online Real-Time, Field Office Wait-Times

Updated: May 24, 2016

In FY 2015, we began to plan and analyze information for development of a possible field office wait-time application. However, due to resource limitations, we have stopped work on this project.

Theme 4: Publish Public-Facing Geospatial Mapping

Updated December 7, 2016

In November 2016, we launched our newest geospatial map, the American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) map! The interactive AIAN map allows users to find their local Social Security Video Service Delivery (VSD) sites, Social Security field office, or resident station, closest to their tribe or reservation locations. To view this new map, click here.

Updated: October 31, 2016

We continue to build-out our GeoMaps initiative @ SSA! We recently added 2015 and 2013 geospatial data on our Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Benefits by State collection. We also added three new Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to query the OASDI data. These maps provide Social Security information on the distribution of Social Security beneficiaries and benefit dollars by state, and renders the complex data in a way that is easy to understand.

Our first set of maps laid the groundwork for our establishing a presence on GeoPlatform.gov, a federal platform to collaborate and share geospatial datasets. SSA is now one of many organizations (e.g. federal, state, local, universities) participating in GeoPlatform, a site managed by the Federal Geographic Data Community, chaired by the Department of the Interior.

Our goal is to deepen the public’s understanding of our programs through geographic representations, increasing the transparency of our agency data. If you have ideas on the types of maps you would like published, visit our Open Data Customer Feedback engagement. As more geospatial maps become available, we will add them to the Open Government Map Gallery!

Updated: May 24, 2016

In May 2016, we launched our first public-facing geospatial map, utilizing public Social Security data. You can access this new map by clicking the following link: OASDI Beneficiaries and Benefits by State 2014. We expect to publish more maps throughout 2016.

Give us your ideas on data that we currently release, or could release that would benefit from geospatial representation: http://ssa-ideas.ideascale.com/.

Our Customer Feedback Process

Updated: May 24, 2016

We will continue to engage you to get your input on the data we make available. Please visit our Open Data and Open Government Plan 4.0 IdeaScale communities to provide your feedback on those topics. You can submit your own ideas, and add comments and/or vote on those already submitted. If you have a new idea that you do not see, we invite you to add it to the community!