Redesigning the customer experience at the Social Security Administration
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Redesigning the customer experience at the Social Security Administration

July 17, 2023

Almost every American will interact with the Social Security Administration at some point in their lives—from receiving a Social Security number at birth to accessing Social Security as retirement nears.  

However, when the pandemic forced SSA to close its field offices, a user-friendly website became more essential than ever. That’s why the agency launched a redesigned website in December 2022 to better meet customer needs and expectations. 

A recent customer experience profile from the Partnership for Public Service provides an in-depth evaluation of the upgraded website, incorporating customer feedback to detail the site’s strengths and areas for improvement.  

A critical resource  

The SSA website primarily serves as a resource for the millions of Americans seeking information about Social Security, applying for Social Security benefits or planning their retirement.  

Users can find information regarding various SSA programs, as well as details regarding eligibility and application processes. Customers can also create and access a “my Social Security” account to view their Social Security statements, apply for a new Social Security card and estimate their retirement benefits. In fiscal year 2021, there were over 197 million visits to  

A new and improved website  

Before was redesigned, many customers reported confusion regarding the language the agency used to describe its programs. For those who may not have known exactly what they are looking for, the original website was also difficult to navigate.  

The redesigned website seeks to relieve this administrative burden. By providing digestible information at the center of its redesign effort, the SSA website now aims to function as a “field office on the web.” Customers can come with any question and find relevant information without having prior knowledge of SSA policies and programs.  

The website also contains screening tools that link customers directly to services available on the site, enabling them to complete tasks immediately and enjoy a more streamlined user experience.  

Remaining challenges  

While SSA has largely succeeded in making its new website user-friendly, some customer experience challenges remain—for example, the long-standing confusion regarding the relationship between SSA and Medicare. Although Medicare is operated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the Department of Health and Human Services, customers who enroll in Medicare do so through SSA. This link between the two agencies is frequently misunderstood.  

In addition, although SSA services are currently provided in more than 200 languages by multilingual employees, telephone interpreters and contracted translators, advocacy groups still report challenges in finding interpreters for less common languages and American Sign Language. Application forms and online services available on the new website are also still only available in English.  

Despite these shortcomings, SSA’s website redesign has ultimately contributed to significant progress in making the agency’s services easier to access and understand.  

To learn more about the Social Security website’s redesign, read our full profile here.  

Julia Kingston is an intern in the Partnership’s communications team.

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