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This Is How the New Boss Wants Social Security to Run



This Is How the New Boss Wants Social Security to Run

This Is How the New Boss Wants Social Security to Run. Martin O’Malley is poised to assume leadership at the Social Security Administration, emphasizing a renewed focus on customer service. Previously advocating for program expansion during his 2015 presidential campaign, O’Malley current priority is addressing operational shortcomings.

Shifting Priorities: From Expansion to Operational Enhancement

Initially aligned with progressive positions, O’Malley’s presidential campaign in 2015 included plans to expand Social Security, placing him closer to Bernie Sanders than bipartisan safety net proposals. However, in his current role, O’Malley is geared towards rectifying the program’s flaws.

Operational Revitalization Aiming for Improved Customer Service

Anticipating confirmation as the head of Social Security, O’Malley acknowledges the agency’s customer service crisis. His primary objective is revitalizing operations for the nearly 60,000 employees who have lacked a permanent leader for over two years.

Bipartisan Support and Confirmation Prospects

With bipartisan backing, O’Malley’s confirmation is widely expected. The Senate Finance Committee advanced his nomination, showcasing bipartisan support, a crucial factor in addressing the agency’s operational challenges.

Customer Service Crisis Acknowledging the Issues

During his confirmation hearing, O’Malley highlighted Social Security’s customer service crisis, emphasizing deficiencies in various aspects. Senators, including Ron Wyden, stressed the non-political nature of the position, underscoring the importance of service above politics.

Operational Inefficiencies Aiming for Efficiency

O’Malley outlined operational inefficiencies, citing statistics rooted in staffing levels from 1995 despite a 50% increase in beneficiaries. Hold times averaging 37 minutes and a 2-year process for disability benefits applications are deemed unacceptable, prompting O’Malley to propose a performance management system for enhanced efficiency.

Addressing Overpayment Notices and COVID-Era Challenges

The administrator-to-be faces challenges related to overpayment notices, particularly those tied to COVID-era stimulus checks. Ongoing resolutions and Senator Wyden’s commitment to regular meetings with the administration underscore the urgency in addressing these issues.

Looming Insolvency Preparing for the Future

O’Malley’s responsibilities extend to planning for Social Security’s potential insolvency by 2034. A recent government trustees report indicates financial peril without Congressional action, with benefits potentially facing a 23% cut after 2034. Legislative discussions have stalled, and resolution is not expected until after the 2024 election.

From Activism to Administration O’Malley Evolving Role

Facing questions about his past advocacy for Social Security expansion, O’Malley sees his role as an opportunity to step away from political debates. Expressing a desire to focus on agency operations, he aims to improve morale and customer service while addressing issues like overpayment notices.

Future Outlook: Easing Customer Service Woes

Observers anticipate O’Malley likely confirmation to mark the beginning of addressing customer service issues, hopeful that his leadership will bring positive changes in the coming months.


Martin O’Malley’s imminent leadership at the Social Security Administration signals a shift towards operational efficiency and enhanced customer service. With bipartisan support and a commitment to addressing pressing challenges, his tenure holds promise for positive changes in the agency’s functioning.

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