by Cherryl Kjos
Winona Social Security District Manager
With the election behind us and the end of the year fast approaching, many people are already making plans for the new year — and beyond. As Americans look to the future, so too is Social Security. Recently, the agency released its new Strategic Plan with the motto, “Social Security Benefits America.”
This five-year plan identifies the challenges Social Security faces and the steps needed to meet those challenges head on. This plan charts the course that will enable us to effectively manage Social Security’s core workloads and work toward long-term enhancements of our service to the public.
There are challenges, such as the backlog of disability claims and the increasing population of retirees due to the aging baby boomer population. To address these and other challenges, the plan concentrates on four specific goals:
Eliminate the hearings backlog and prevent its recurrence;
Improve the speed and quality of the disability process;
Improve retiree and other core services; and
Preserve the public’s trust in Social Security’s programs.
The plan also notes the two keys to meeting our goals: Social Security’s dedicated employees and advances in information technology.
Our Commissioner, Michael J. Astrue, has said, “Our workforce is one of our greatest strengths. The challenges we face have not shaken our resolve to provide the vital services Americans depend on. But we will need to rigorously explore and wisely employ new technology. To achieve a strong and modern infrastructure we need to invest in technology. That’s all part of the plan.”
Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” That’s exactly what we’re doing with this plan — creating our future. This Strategic Plan charts the course we will need to take over the next five years to make our vision a reality. Working together with the President, members of the Congress and our stakeholders, we can provide modern world-class service for generations to come.
You can file your application for benefits online or use our calculator to estimate your future benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov. You can also read the full text of Social Security’s Strategic Plan at www.socialsecurity.gov/strategicplan.html