Social Security Administration

  www.ssa.gov
  www.ssa.gov

Social Security Administration Reviews

Updated 20 October 2014
Updated 20 October 2014
213 Reviews
3.1
213 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Carolyn W. Colvin
31 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work life balance is great if you don't care about salary (in 16 reviews)

  • Flexible work schedule, Great work environment, Overtime availability pending budget, Option to work credit hours (in 10 reviews)


Cons
  • Budget Issues cut my position after being informed it would continue for a year (in 6 reviews)

  • 500 (I don't understand the arguments that federal employees make out better than private sector (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great government agency if you wan to go into civil service.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Social Security Administration

    Pros

    People, training, working for the government gives a sense of safety. Work-life balance good.

    Cons

    growth difficult in government hierarchy, salary based on time not potential. Reason work-life balance is so good is that you cannot bring much work home. Sometimes that is undesirable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Break down old ways of doing things. Adopt newer workplace practices to attract younger candidates.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    You get out of it what you put into it. It can be a good career, if you want it to be.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Claims Representative
    Former Employee - Claims Representative

    I worked at Social Security Administration full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Number one reason is the pay--claims reps are well compensated for their work. They start off well paid and have regular scheduled raises. Very generous leave as well. Good health care benefits.

    Cons

    Over the past 8 years, SSA seems to believe that replacing people with computers is the solution to all its problems. The workforce is demoralized. Pension is not so good now that all new employees (since 1983) are under Social Security--I guess that is only fair but even the employees know that Social Security is a rip-off pension. Heavy workloads is most offices (but still some employees do very little work--they will never get fired, so why bother?)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I personally think the creation of " technical expert" job was a mistake. I never wanted to be in management but I did get a lot of satisfaction out of mentoring new employees and conducting training--once we got a "technical expert" I was never given these opportunities again because that was the "tech expert" job.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    DDS

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Disability Examiner in Kansas City, MO (US)
    Current Employee - Disability Examiner in Kansas City, MO (US)

    I have been working at Social Security Administration full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    flexible hours; there is extensive training

    Cons

    a lot of writing all day. answers or assessments are not black and white and are often gray.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    High Levels of Employee Despair

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Social Insurance Specialist in Baltimore, MD (US)
    Former Employee - Social Insurance Specialist in Baltimore, MD (US)

    I worked at Social Security Administration full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    A good place for those without high levels of education who just want a paycheck without working too hard. Flexible work hours, guaranteed time off, high salaries for non-professionals, guaranteed employment.

    Cons

    Very disfunctional. Poor management. Culture of low expectations and achievement. Limited promotional potential. Quality work not expected or recognized. Just a very sad work environment. High levels of employee despair. Employees not empowered. Not a good option for professionals who want to satisfy thier potential. Management promotes poor performers just to get them out of that department.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Employees should be promoted based on merit, not "time in grade" or who they know. Should share information and authority down the line and not ignore employee advice.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    ssa experience

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Social Security Administration full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    there is a lot of upward mobility

    Cons

    there is a lot of micromanaging

  7.  

    Stay away

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Network Engineer in Baltimore, MD (US)
    Former Employee - Network Engineer in Baltimore, MD (US)

    I worked at Social Security Administration full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    After a while, they rotate you around with different groups to keep things interesting.

    Pay was ok.

    Quite accommodating to people who were dying. There was row of hover-round type electric carts on the ground floor with slots for oxygen tanks.

    If you can make it there for 30 years, you can retire at 80% pay.

    After you are there for a while, as long as you show up, your boss cannot tell you what to do.

    Not so subject to business cycles as non-government jobs.

    Cons

    Rampant waste had me thinking about joining the Tea Party.
    If you have worked in business before, you should probably stay away.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Most People I Know Are Looking To Leave

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Attorney Advisor in Baltimore, MD (US)
    Current Employee - Attorney Advisor in Baltimore, MD (US)

    I have been working at Social Security Administration full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    For attorneys in the current atmosphere (dime a dozen/no jobs/under employed), this place seems like a dream. Most Attorney Advisors here work only 40 hours per week with no pressure to stay late or take work home. If you work overtime, they are paid time and a half for it. The pay isn't awful. You can work from home three days per week if you choose to. The new building on Wabash Avenue looks nice (if that's where you're stationed).

    Cons

    It's hit or miss with your supervisor. Some are truly amazing, wonderful, kind, generous, encouraging people. Some are pure wretchedness - the devil incarnate. Each Branch Chief (direct supervisor to the Attorney Advisors in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review/Office of Appellate Operations) runs their branch like their own personal fiefdom with their own rules, their own unforgivable sins, and their own punishment structure. There is very little oversight from the Directors (the supervisors above Branch Chiefs) and what the Branch Chiefs say goes. Those Branch Chiefs your friends work under may be laid back, do things to raise morale, and raise the branch's productivity while your Branch Chief may be the exact polar opposite. The branches almost never "shake up," so if your boss is one of the evil ones, they often have to die or retire before you get another shot at someone who isn't possessed by the devil. This is particularly important to the ALMIGHTY PRODUCTION NUMBER (all bow). Attorney Advisors in ODAR/OAO have "production" they have to meet to keep their jobs. Each case an Attorney Advisor closes has some numerical value attached to it that allows a simple algorithm to calculate your "production number" at the end of each month. That number is everything. You lose your job or keep your job based on it. You are promoted or rot in your cube based on it. You have your transfers approved or denied based on it. You are granted monetary bonuses or denied monetary bonuses based on it. It is everything. It is what you think about in the morning when you wake up the thing you think about at night before you go to sleep. You dream about it. You pray to it. And, here the most important thing I can say: it is all that matters to management, because your production makes them look good or bad. They will say other things matter for promotions, but it's not true, and even some Directors will admit it. Now, if you have a good Branch Chief, they do things to "help" your production. If you have a bad Branch Chief, they do things that "hurt" your production. That seems counter intuitive, but it's true. These bad Branch Chiefs make it twice as difficult for you to make a good production as the good Branch Chiefs, but they just expect that you'll work twice as hard to make your numbers. You can imagine what the team spirit is like in those branches.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Morale has been horribly, horribly low for a while now. Upper management released an anonymous Rate-Your-Direct-Supervisor Review and many of us were honest about the abuses that regularly occur in our branch, but nothing was ever done about it. It's like we clicked "submit" and it went off into outer space. That didn't boost morale. I think it lowered it further. All Branch Chiefs should be forced to follow one set of rules. It's ludicrous that each Branch Chief treats their branch like a kingdom and the Attorney Advisors as their surfs. Employees don't leave companies, they leave bad supervisors. Everyone I know, with the exception of maybe three attorneys, is on USA Jobs daily looking to escape the horror. If you have a good Branch Chief, the job is boring but doable. If you have a bad Branch Chief, everyone is banging down the doors in between praying to God to save them and get them into a new position in SSA or another agency entirely.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Attorney work for the Social Security Administration is not real attorney work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Attorney Advisor in Atlanta, GA (US)
    Former Employee - Attorney Advisor in Atlanta, GA (US)

    I worked at Social Security Administration full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Federal benefits are great. Automatic pay increases are clearly explained. We were allowed to dress business casual every day since we never left our cubicles.

    Cons

    The work is boring and monotonous. You'll be doing the same work in year 15 as you do on your first day. It's not real attorney work so the longer you stay, the more pigeon-holed you become.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My direct supervisor stopped speaking to me after I disagreed (as did all the other writers) during a writers meeting. The management was childish, uncommunicative, and ineffective.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Hard to beat their pay and benefits at entry level

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Benefit Authorizer in Kansas City, MO (US)
    Current Employee - Benefit Authorizer in Kansas City, MO (US)

    I have been working at Social Security Administration full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    When starting a career out of college, it's hard to beat what's offered at Social Security. After a year, I was making over $50k, which in Kansas City, was quite a bit for a 23 year old. I had optional overtime, which pushed my salary to nearly $60k. I had great benefits, smart coworkers, and it greatly expanded my knowledge set, which allows me to pursue other jobs outside the agency.

    Cons

    Promotion can be difficult. The hiring process is quiz based, to protect workers from favoritism, but in reality is promotes lying on applications. Not knowing that I HAD to lie, it's been years since I've been promoted, despite having stellar performance reviews and details that most others in my position have not had.

    Work can be tedious, and part of my job was on the phones, which were a brutal part of the job.

    The work can also be subject to budget and congress. Overtime may disappear for years on end if congress cuts funding, bonuses may go away, and a government shutdown means you don't get paid until it ends.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Change your promotion practices. You aren't getting good people in your jobs because they aren't performanced based promotions. They are quiz based, which anyone can just make up answers on. And a lot do. I've had managers tell me that I need to lie to get promoted for god's sake.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Review

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Social Security Administration full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great job to start with.

    Cons

    I have nothing negative to say.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

Social Security Administration Photos

Parking lot view of the Social Security Administration headquarter office located in Woodlawn, MD (Photo by Coolcaesar - available under CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 & GFDL, v1.178)
2121 Crystal Drive

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