The federal government soon may have trouble supplying the people necessary to help aging boomers with Social Security retirement and disability benefits concerns.
The Social Security Administration is predicting that 44% of its workers could retire by 2016.
“Because retirements will occur among the agency’s most experienced staff, this will have a serious impact on field offices’ institutional knowledge,” warned Barbara Bovbjerg, a U.S. Government Accountability Office director, on Thursday at a hearing organized by the Senate Finance Committee.
The SSA plans to hire 2,350 new employees this fiscal year for regional and field office operations, but getting the experience needed to function independently usually takes 2 to 3 years, Bovbjerg testified, according to a written version of her testimony.
The number of employees at the 1,300 SSA field offices fell 7.1% between 2005 and 2007, to 26,743, and the offices managed to increase the amount of work completed only because productivity increased 4.9%, Bovbjerg testified.
SSA staffers and customers are making more use of the Internet, and SSA workers are deferring what they see as relatively low priority work, such as reviews to see whether people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are still eligible for benefits, Bovbjerg testified.