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NEW ALBANY – Social Security is the nation’s most successful domestic program. It’s easy to look back at what a difference it has made over the past 75 years. And 2010, our diamond anniversary year, has been full of accomplishments.
We launched an important new service in 2010: the online Medicare application. It allows people reaching age 65 who opt to delay receiving retirement benefits to apply for Medicare coverage from their computers in as little as 10 minutes. Also exciting is that we reunited the original cast of The Patty Duke Show to promote the new application. Reunite with the cast and go to the Medicare application at www. socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly.
Speaking of Medicare, a “twist” in the law makes it easier for more people to qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs because some things no longer count as income and resources. Chubby Checker, who made “The Twist” popular, helped make the announcement with a public service campaign. Learn more and watch Chubby twist again, at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp.
We took great strides this year to help speed up the disability process, helping people with the most severe disabilities get their benefits faster as well as reducing the number of people waiting for a hearing on their appeal. The agency continues to make the disability hearings backlog a top priority. Learn more at the Hearings and Appeals Web site: www.socialsecurity.gov/appeals.
At Social Security, customer service satisfaction remains high. The agency took the three top spots for customer service in the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
Social Security’s online retirement estimator and benefit application remain in the top spots, and the Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs application placed third. We even beat Netflix in customer service satisfaction.
Social Security employees are satisfied too. Employees rate Social Security as one of the best places to work in the federal government according to The Partnership for Public Service and American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation. If you’re thinking of joining the team, visit www. socialsecurity.gov/careers.
This year, Social Security has shown that transparency is as important to us as it is to President Obama. In January, the agency made new data available to the general public, supporting the President’s Transparency and Open Government initiative. In February, the agency launched an open government website at www.socialsecurity.gov/open and in April Social Security used that Web site to showcase the agency’s Open Government Plan.
Corder is district manager for Social Security in New Albany.