2014 Open Government News Archive
Vision 2025 Customer Expectation Survey
Social Security is developing a long-range vision and strategic plan, called Vision 2025, and we want to hear from you. Vision 2025 represents our efforts to ensure that we continue to provide excellent service to our customers today, tomorrow, 10 years from now, and beyond.
We value your feedback and welcome your opinion. Please participate in an online survey to tell us how we can best serve the American public in the future. The survey should only take a few minutes to complete. To complete the survey, please go to the Vision 2025 Customer Expectation Survey.
For more information about Vision 2025, please visit our website at www.ssa.gov/vision2025/.
Open Government 3.0 Priorities:
Our Latest Progress Report
As we approach the end of this year, we continue to address priorities and complete project commitments from our third Open Government Plan. For the most recent updates on action items published in our latest Open Government Plan, visit the Open Government Plan 3.0: Plan Milestones and Completion Report page, which you can access through a link in the menu above.
This progress report includes updates on:
- the publishing of 13 new high-value data sets;
- the posting of chronological legislative documents on our Social Security History page; and
- updates to our Wounded Warrior Program.
The Launch of Data.gov/AAPI
Data.gov, in partnership with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), has launched Data.gov/AAPI, a specialized section of Data.gov dedicated to government data on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. The approximately 2,000 datasets and reports on this site come from nearly 50 federal, state, county, and city sources, and cover a spectrum of topics including health disparity issues, language access, and educational statistics.
Among the thousands of datasets, are several from Social Security on language access issues relating to our customer service efforts. For more information on the number of AAPI bilingual employees at SSA, or the language preferences of AAPIs filing claims, visit the AAPI data page today.
Social Security Resumes the Mailing of Statements
Beginning in September 2014, Social Security resumed the mailing of Social Security Statements on a more limited basis. If you are worker not receiving benefits and do not have a my Social Security account, you will receive your Statements at the ages of 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60. After the age of 60, the mailing of Statements will occur yearly.
Rather than waiting to receive a mailed Statement once every five years, we encourage the public to open a my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount so they can access their Statement online anytime.
The Social Security Statement is a valuable financial planning tool that provides workers their tax contributions, future benefit estimates, and yearly earnings information. This is important since earnings are the basis for determining retirement benefits. To learn more about mailed Statements, refer to our recent press release on the topic. For more information on creating a my Social Security account, visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount.
President Obama Speaks at United Nations Open Government Partnership
President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a meeting on the Open Government Partnership at the United Nations in New York, N.Y., Sept. 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
“And in a new millennium flush with technology that allows us to connect with a tweet or a text, citizens rightly demand more responsiveness, more openness, more transparency, more accountability from their governments.” President Obama
On September 24, 2014, President Obama joined with 10 other heads of state and hundreds of civil society leaders from across the globe to mark the third anniversary of the United Nations Open Government Partnership (OGP). The OGP is a partnership between 64 nations and hundreds of civil society organizations, all committed to promoting transparency and fighting corruption in governments. In his remarks, President Obama discussed the important work being done across our government, and throughout the world, to ensure transparency and openness.
The President stressed our government’s commitment to making our data more open and available to the public, modernizing the Freedom of Information Act, and harnessing American ingenuity in solving important problems. In addition, he announced new commitments to be included in our Open Government National Action Plan. Among them, he pledges that we will improve transparency in government spending, expand our digital service efforts, and promote open educational resources that can help teachers and students take learning into the 21st century.
To learn more about the President’s appearance at the OGP, visit the White House Open Government Blog.
National Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISE) Webinar: Ticket to Work for People Who Have a Disability
Join us on Wednesday, October 22, 2014, at 3:00pm EDT, for a special webinar, Ticket to Work: Support Services for People Who Have a Disability and Are Ready to Work. We will be presenting information about Social Security programs and rules that may apply to you because of your medical condition. We will also be providing information about the support available to you once you have started to work.
For more information on this informative webinar, as well as instructions on how to register, visit choosework.ssa.gov/.
Open Government 3.0 Priorities:
As our agency makes progress in achieving the goals set out in our Open Government Plan 3.0, we will continue to update you on what we have done, and what we plan to do. By visiting the Open Government Plan 3.0: Plan Milestones and Completion Report page, you can view our latest progress report on action items published in our latest Open Government plan.
This progress report includes updates on:
- tracking of our Open Government goals and performance;
- agency engagements with national advocates;
- datasets released since the publishing of Open Government Plan 3.0 in June 2014;
- additional agency regulations posted for public comment;
- updates to our agency’s Whistleblower Protection activities; and
- updates to our Wounded Warrior initiative.
Open Government 3.0 Priorities:
Our First Progress Report
After releasing our Open Government Plan 3.0 in June, we continue to address priorities and complete projects that further open government principles at our agency. By visiting the Open Government Plan 3.0: Plan Milestones and Completion Report page, you can view the first progress report on action items published in our latest Open Government plan.
This progress report includes updates on:
- public engagements for early input into the Disability policy-making process;
- focus group testing of draft screens for online services;
- agency regulations posted for public comment;
- and the solicitation of customer feedback on the Open Data Initiative.
Update on our Progress
Retrospective Review of Regulations
In our final plan of August 22, 2011, we stated: “Over the next two years, we anticipate reviewing the following medical listings, for which we may issue notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) or final rules as appropriate.” Our July 14, 2014 progress report includes the listings we expected to review, and the progress we have made to date.
The medical listings are used to ensure disability determinations have a sound medical basis and claimants receive equal treatment based on specific criteria. The listings help allow claims earlier in the sequential evaluation process using the medical listings step based on updated and accurate medical criteria. The listings reflect our program experience, advances in medical knowledge, and comments we receive from medical experts, advocacy groups, patients, adjudicators, and at public outreach policy meetings.
Open Government Plan 3.0
On June 2nd, we released our Open Government Plan 3.0, the most up-to-date version of Social Security’s commitment to running a more transparent, collaborative, and participatory agency. Social Security has been committed to integrating these principles into the way our agency operates and the way we serve the public.
This new plan reflects our progress in achieving these goals and milestones, as well as our new exciting efforts to improve services to the public, including our flagship initiative, the online Message Center, where you will be able to securely and conveniently obtain and provide personalized Social Security information.
We created this plan with feedback from the public, advocates, and our employees. However, we still need your feedback! Please read our plan and tell us what you think. Visit our engagement or send us an email at email@example.com.
Share Your Ideas about the Future of Public Sector Program Management
Are you interested in public administration, management, and the future of the government workplace? Are you committed to promoting good government, and have ideas to further such principles? The GSA’s Performance Improvement Council is looking to hear from you!
Visit their public contest on www.Challenge.gov to share your vision for the future of public sector program management. The Performance Improvement Council will review all entries, and you may be recognized for your ingenuity, your originality, and your vision. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, May 27, 2014, prior to 2:00PM Eastern Daylight Time.
Ticket to Work Highlights Mental Health Month with Webinar, Twitter Chat
Since this May marks the 65th annual observance of Mental Health Month, Social Security’s Ticket to Work program is holding two public engagements aimed at educating the public about employment resources available to those with mental illness.
If you or someone you know has a mental illness, and are interested in learning how employment can promote well-being by providing structure, social contact, purpose, identity and activity, then join us for two special engagements:
- WISE Webinar: On Wednesday, May 28, 2014, at 3:00 pm Eastern time, join our free webinar, “Ticket to Work for People Who Have a Mental Illness: Support on Your Journey to Employment.” You can register for this informative webinar today!
- Twitter Chat: On Friday, May 30, 2014 at 12:00 pm Eastern time, join us for a Twitter chat co-hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. You can follow the chat in our Twitter Chat Room or follow the hashtag #DEChat.
An Overview of Social Security Programs and Services Important to Tribal Communities
Join us this Monday, May 5, 2014 from 2:00pm to 3:30pm EDT, as we partner with the Administration for Children and Families' Office of Family Assistance (OFA), Division of Tribal TANF Management, and the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), for a special Webinar, "An Overview of Social Security Programs and Services Important to Tribal Communities".
Representatives from Social Security will explain programs and services of special importance to tribal community members throughout Indian Country. Our representatives will be discussing information on Retirement, Survivors, Disability, Supplemental Security Income, grandchildren benefits, services that reach reservations in remote areas of the country, upcoming field office service changes, and the my Social Security account.
National Ticket to Work webinar:
Working for Yourself with Ticket to Work
If you’re receiving Social Security disability benefits and are interested in learning how self-employment will affect your Social Security benefits, then join us this Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at 3:00 pm Eastern time, for our free webinar, Working for Yourself with Ticket to Work. You will learn more about special Social Security programs and rules that can set you on a path to self-employment, and help you achieve greater financial independence. Register for this informative webinar today!
We Want to Hear From You About Open Data and our Open Government Plan!
We need your input to help us make Social Security a more open agency. If you have ideas about how we can improve our commitment to open government, make sure to share them with us on our Open Government online collaboration forum. If you have ideas, insight or recommendations regarding the kinds of data sets we release, and how you plan to use this data, make sure to share them on our Open Data Engagement Forum.
Social Security Releases Strategic Plan for Next Five Years
Our agency has released its Agency Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2014 through 2018. This plan is a blueprint for our agency, as we make bold changes in technology and enhance our service delivery to the public.
We established five strategic goals for the coming years: deliver innovative, quality services; strengthen the integrity of our programs; serve the public through a stronger, more responsive disability program; build a model workforce to deliver quality service; and ensure reliable, secure, and efficient information technology services.
Learn more about our agency strategic plan, our goals, and how we plan to achieve them by visiting: www.ssa.gov/agency/asp/
Help Us Improve Our Open Government Plan!
We’re revising our Open Government Plan and we’d like your input. Social Security established the Office of Open Government to develop and implement a plan outlining the agency’s open government goals, objectives, and supporting activities. We developed and published two plans (June 2010 and September 2012) based on input from the public, our employees, open government advocates and other stakeholders. Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin added her personal commitment to openness principles and actions in a 2013 message.
It is now time to reflect on our plan, our accomplishments, and to focus on our continuing efforts toward transparency; public participation in the policies and decisions of the agency; and collaboration with employees, partners, advocates, and the people we serve. We want your ideas about the actions that the agency should take to be build greater transparency, participation, and collaboration into our processes. We will be meeting with employees, partners, and advocates in the coming months. In addition to those meetings, we invite you to share your ideas, and respond to ideas shared by others at our online collaboration site. If you prefer, please e-mail your ideas to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be incorporating your ideas and feedback into a draft document that will also be available for comment.
National Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISE) Webinar Ticket to Work: Support for People with Disabilities on the Journey to Financial Independence
Are you interested in working? Do you want to see how Ticket to Work and other work incentives might be able to help you take the next step towards financial independence? With the right opportunities and supports, many people can earn a higher standard of living by going to work and leaving benefits. If you’re interested in learning more, sign-up to attend the Social Security’s Ticket to Work January 22 webinar on Financial Independence to learn more about the program!
Open Data: We need your help to deliver more high value data to the public
Over the past few years, this Administration released troves of valuable data that were previously hard to access in areas such as health, energy, education, public safety, and global development. Social Security has 69 datasets available as part of our open government program. Citizens, businesses, and other governmental and non-profit organizations need and use data and its related information for variety of purposes, including making decisions about their lives, businesses, and organizations.
Under President Obama’s leadership we are working to enhance the accessibility and usefulness of our data while continuing to ensure privacy and security. Please visit our new Open Data webpage and give us your ideas on: how you have used, or plan to use, our data; your ideas for prioritizing new data releases; and any recommendations to make our formats and metadata easier to use.
Other SSA News and Updates
The Social Security Administration is committed to creating an open and transparent government through the following initiatives: