Back to Customer Experience

Social Security Website Redesign


Note: In previous years, SSA provided insights and data regarding their retirement customer experience offerings across service delivery channels. This year’s profile focuses on SSA’s website redesign effort, and the customer experience practices and considerations involved in that work. 

Virtually everyone in America interacts with the Social Security Administration at some point in their lives, from receiving a Social Security number at birth to relying on SSA’s retirement services for financial security after they have stopped working. SSA provides services over the phone, at field offices across the country, and through its website.  

In 2021 and 2022, SSA launched a significant effort to redesign its website to better meet customer needs and expectations. Using the principles of human-centered design, the agency reorganized and streamlined some content to launch a beta website to provide easily understandable information and reduce the barriers to access customers face when interacting with SSA. The agency collected and incorporated customer feedback to refine the beta website and officially launched the redesigned website on Dec. 6, 2022.   

Service Overview and Data Highlights

Service Overview

The Social Security Administration provides benefits to support the financial security of more than 70 million people in this country. The agency’s website provides information about SSA programs and services, as well as access to a “my Social Security” account that customers can create to view their Social Security statements, request a replacement Social Security card and take care of other SSA business.

Primary Customers

Customers who are seeking information, applying for or receiving Social Security benefits, and their families, as well as people planning for their retirement.  

Key Services

  • Information about Social Security Administration programs, eligibility requirements and application processes. 
  • Issuance of benefit verification letters and status updates on benefit claims, replacement Social Security cards and, in partnership with the Medicare program, replacement Medicare cards. 
  • Online access to Social Security accounts, enabling recipients to view their Social Security statements, check their earnings and estimate their retirement benefits. 

Service Snapshot

  • 197 million visits to in fiscal 2021.  
    • 24,000 visits to in fiscal 2021. 
  • 74 million “my Social Security” accounts, which provide personalized online services.  

Data Highlights

Requesting a benefit verification letter on SSA.gov1


Success rate: 25%
Time to task: 55 seconds


Success rate: 87%
Time to task: 18 seconds

Customer Insights

Customer Insights


(if applicable)

Improvement from 2021

Room for Improvement

Many customers are unfamiliar with the language SSA uses to describe its programs.

When the pandemic required SSA to close its field offices to walk-in services, many customers who had not previously used the agency’s website started doing so to access information and services. Feedback from these customers indicated that the language SSA uses on its website can be confusing for people who may not know exactly what they are looking for or are not familiar with SSA’s programs or related policies.   

Recognizing this, SSA has made providing easily understandable information a central focus of its website redesign effort. The goal of the redesigned website is to function like a “field office on the web,” and to be a place where customers can come with any question and find the relevant information without needing to be familiar with SSA programs, said Eric Powers, SSA’s acting chief business officer. SSA has reorganized and streamlined the content for the new site, so it is easier to understand and navigate. The new website prioritizes organizing content around what customers need, rather than around how SSA is organized or how run programs or processes internally. 

The redesigned website also better explains the background of program eligibility and the reasons behind application requirements. “Just providing some context about why we might be asking for something … or where a requirement came from” can reduce confusion and improve customers’ understanding of what SSA is asking of them, said Kelly Zsamar, a business analyst at SSA.  

The redesigned website seeks to reduce the administrative burden for customers

One of the goals of SSA’s website redesign is to reduce the administrative burden customers face when interacting with the agency. For example, the new website contains several screening tools that customers can use to answer a few simple questions and get information relevant to their specific situation, rather than needing to wade through complex information that does not apply to them. “We want to reduce the amount of burden we put on the public in trying to understand the tasks and programs that they’re trying to engage with,” Powers said. 

These screening tools also link customers directly to services available on the website so they can proceed immediately to complete tasks. The agency’s goal is to create a seamless experience between the information and decision-making tools available on the website that can address general questions and needs, and the more personalized information and services customers can access using their authenticated “my Social Security” accounts.  

In conjunction with the website redesign, SSA is also exploring ways to better integrate all its service channels—online, call center and field offices—so customers who start a task on one channel can easily finish it on another without having to start over or re-enter the same information again. “Our goal in making the website task-based is to make sure that when a customer is transferring between those service channels, the effort that they take in one area is not lost in the others,” said Suran DeSilva, a supervisory business analyst at SSA.

SSA continues to solicit customer feedback to refine the new website

Throughout the process of creating and testing the beta website, SSA incorporated customers’ voices to ensure the redesigned website was meeting their needs. In addition to the interviews and usability testing that helped inform the initial beta site design, SSA continued to collect customer feedback and make iterative improvements to the redesigned site, based on those comments, up until the launch. For example, SSA made several improvements to the website’s eligibility screen based on customer feedback, such as updating the explanatory text on a question about marital status so customers can better understand what the question is asking and why the information is important. SSA continues to collect customer feedback now that the new website has been launched. Each new page includes a feedback button for customers to provide input on their experience, and the existing website survey has been updated to capture feedback on the redesigned site.

Incorporating customer input about the design and content of the beta website homepage led to direct increases in customer satisfaction with the site.  

Customer satisfaction with beta.ssa.gov2 

Benchmark Overall
Look & Feel 4.0 out of 5 4.2 out of 5
Content & Language 4.3 4.4
Navigation & Use 4.2 4.2

Customers can be confused about the relationship between SSA and Medicare

Although the Medicare program 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. The link between these two agencies and the services they provide, is a source of long-standing confusion for customers.  

One of the goals of the redesigned website is to provide more clarity for customers about the roles and responsibilities of SSA and CMS in relation to the Medicare program, according to SSA officials. In the short term, an upcoming focus of the website work will be to redesign and clarify content related to Medicare to make it easier for customers to understand how and where to obtain information or take action on specific topics or services. Eventually, SSA and CMS hope to create a system in which there is “no wrong door” for customers to begin an interaction with the Medicare program. But several technical and data-sharing challenges must be addressed before a truly seamless experience is possible.

Delivering Services Equitably

Delivering Services Equitably

SSA has a Language Access Plan for fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2023 that focuses specifically on improving access to services for people with limited English proficiency. SSA’s services are currently provided in more than 200 languages by multilingual employees and telephone interpreters and contracted translator services—all free for customers. SSA staff are also provided training for working with customers whose first language is not English and are educated on cultural diversity and unconscious bias issues pertaining to working with people of diverse cultures. Despite the agency’s efforts, advocacy groups note challenges for people with limited English proficiency, including limited access for speakers of less common languages, difficulties accessing American Sign Language interpreters and delays in language support that result in case delays. The website redesign includes improvements aimed at language access, such as adding to the current number of webpages available in Spanish by translating all new information pages into Spanish and continued efforts to provide information in other languages. Spanish-speaking users can visit to see this translated content. Application forms and online services, however, are only available in English.  

Customers also report difficulties comprehending the complex language SSA often uses and issues related to a lack of digital access or digital literacy. The redesigned website aims to help address these comprehension challenges through its focus on presenting information in clear and concise language organized around customers’ questions and needs.  

  1. Data from SSA user research during initial development of the redesigned “Time to task” refers to the amount of time it took a customers to find a specific task on the website. “Success rate” refers to the percentage of people who were able to successfully find the correct location of the task on each website.
  2. Benchmark data was collected during the first six weeks the beta website was live, from Mar. 13 to Apr. 24, 2022. The overall column reflects feedback during the entire beta period, from Mar. 13 to launch on Dec. 6, 2022.

This customer experience profile was produced by the Partnership for Public Service, in collaboration with Accenture Federal Services.

Read the corresponding report Designing a Government for the People

More CX Profiles


Each year, thousands of customers who have experienced a disaster rely on services provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help them recover from the impact. FEMA’s Individual Assistance programs provide financial aid and services such as counseling support directly to disaster survivors.


The U.S. Agency for International Development works in over 100 countries, delivering assistance to reduce poverty, improve health and strengthen democratic governance, among other support. To achieve its mission, USAID awards grants and contracts to partner organizations which then implement programs to address development challenges.


The Bureau of Consular Affairs at the State Department issues millions of passports every year to people who want to travel to countries around the world. In fiscal 2021, the bureau issued more than 15 million of these vital documents.

Back to Customer Experience