Organizational Structure of the Social Security Administration

SSA Organizational Manual: Chapter TE - The Office of Communications

  1. Mission
    1. The Office of Communications (OCOMM) is the SSA component responsible for the conduct of the Agency’s national public information/public affairs (PI/PA) programs. Provides guidance and direction from a PI/PA standpoint to the development of Agency policies and decisions and assesses their potential impact on the public and SSA 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, and the White House. Promotes full and open participation in the communications process between and among the public and SSA employees 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 the public and SSA 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. Leads SSA in fostering transparency through citizen participation and collaboration.
  2. Organization
    1. The Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Communications (TEA).
    2. The Office of the Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications (TEA).
    3. The Immediate Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Communications (TEA).
    4. The Immediate Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Communications, Press Office (TEA-1).
    5. The Office of Strategic and Digital Communications (TEB).
      1. The Division of Digital Design and Production (TEB3).
      2. The Division of Strategic Communications (TEB4).
    6. The Office of Public Inquiries and Communications Support (TEH).
      1. The Division of Communications Support (TEH1).
      2. The Division of Inquiry Response (TEH2).
  3. Functions
    1. The Deputy Commissioner, Communications (TEA) is directly responsible to the Commissioner for carrying out OCOMM's mission and providing managerial direction to the major components of OCOMM.
    2. The Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications (TEA) assists the Deputy Commissioner in carrying out his/her responsibilities and performs other duties as the Deputy Commissioner may prescribe.
    3. The Immediate Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Communications (TEA) provides the Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Deputy Commissioner with staff assistance on the full range of their responsibilities.
    4. The Immediate Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Communications, Press Office (TEA-1). The Press Office is responsible for ensuring a unified and consistent message to SSA’s many audiences. This includes responding to media inquiries relating to the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs, as well as other programmatic and administrative policies and practices. It also prepares media material, including press releases, media talking points, as well as arranges press conferences for the national press corps.
    5. The Office of Strategic and Digital Communications (TEB) directs the agency’s overall information, outreach, and communications technology activities to ensure public knowledge and understanding of the programs and services administered by SSA. Provides direct and indirect programmatic support using state-of-the-art media, methods, and technology. Prepares and disseminates a wide variety of internal and external public materials ranging from publications, videos, webinars, social media, and other materials.s Evaluates the quality of information materials used internal and external to SSA for a uniformly, high-quality product and assists in the design, development, and delivery of PI/PA materials in SSA. Serves as a focal point for all issues involving the development, clearance, and placement of content on SSA’s Internet and Intranet websites. Manages SSA’s communications initiatives through a national framework of headquarters, regional, and local PI/PA delivery strategies and processes. Responsible for the development, content, and coordination of SSA’s marketing activities. Conducts evaluation and assessment of the results and effects of PI/PA material produced by the OCOMM and other SSA components. Implements PI/PA programs and activities designed to develop, enhance, and preserve good working relationships with the general public and a wide variety of national organizations, advocacy groups, and other governmental organizations with an interest in SSA programs. Deals directly with SSA employees and major stakeholder groups promoting a meaningful exchange of ideas, opinions, and points of view. Provides operational oversight over the activities of the Regional Communications Directors and all other national and local communications with the public.
      1. The Division of Digital Design and Production (TEB3) provides ongoing technical advice and support to SSA components on the full range of PI/PA issues. Directs and coordinates SSA Internet and Intranet content management activities. Provides guidance on organization, clarity, and audience focus of content submitted for placement on SSA’s internal and external websites. Coordinates and develops web materials for SSA’s Internet and Intranet. Directs the design, development, production, and distribution of PI/PA graphics, signage, video, photography, and print material internal and external to SSA.
      2. The Division of Strategic Communications (TEB4) develops, directs, and evaluates SSA communications strategies and PI/PA activities. Ensures OCOMM PI/PA materials adhere to agency policy and standards. Provides ongoing advice and support to SSA components regarding program specific regional and local PI/PA activities. Identifies information of the greatest use to the public and makes the information in readily accessible formats on the Internet. Conducts external stakeholder engagement with national groups and organizations through national partnerships, advocate meetings, and conferences. Coordinates and implements the agency’s national social media program and social media engagement with the public. Collects and analyzes data to determine the impact of our national outreach campaigns, messaging, and communications products and channels.
    6. The Office of Public Inquiries and Communications Support (TEH) provides a central receipt, control, acknowledgment, response, and referral program for high priority and other inquiries addressed to SSA headquarters. Develops correspondence policy, procedure, and guide language on recurring topics and issues for use throughout the agency. Leads SSA’s Plain Writing initiatives. Develops strategies to address PI/PA issues and procures materials that serve the special communications needs of the non-English speaking, deaf (or hearing loss), and blind (or low vision) populations.
      1. The Division of Communications Support (TEH1) develops policy and procedures concerning the style, control, workflow, and signature of correspondence and disseminates the information to headquarters components. Performs a pre-release quality review of final replies prepared in the Office of Public Inquiries and Communications Support to ensure that they are well written, accurate, and responsive. Designs and administers the electronic correspondence management system and provides support to system users. Directs the use of surveys and analyses to increase the effectiveness of the correspondence workflow process throughout SSA. Serves as the agency lead for the translation, production, and dissemination of electronic and print public information materials designed to meet the special communications needs of people with limited English proficiency. Provides captioning support for agency events and videos, and creates audio publications.
      2. The Division of Inquiry Response (TEH2) collects, stores, and maintains information needed to respond to White House and public inquiries. Prepares responses in conformance with SSA standards, policies, and procedures. Performs correspondence receipt, screening, imaging, routing, and letter-writing functions. Identifies sensitive inquiries and trends and reports them to appropriate officials. Receives and responds to telephone inquiries referred from the Office of the Commissioner.