IG: SSA needs longer-term plan for online customer service

Wednesday - 8/24/2011, 4:57pm EDT

Jonathan Lasher, Assistant Inspector General for External Relations, SSA

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The Social Security Administration needs a 10-year plan - or longer - that outlines its online customer service strategy.

That's the conclusion of the SSA's Office of Inspector General. The IG says the agency isn't prepared to meet the Future Systems Technology Advisory Panel's recommendation to move to an electronic self-service model, according to an report.

Jonathan Lasher, assistant inspector general for external relations at SSA, said the agency does not have a long-term customer service delivery plan. Customer service is built into SSA' overall plans that project three to five years into the future.

Planning further ahead will allow for more "cohesiveness," Lasher said.

The report is not a criticism of SSA's current customer service delivery. Rather, SSA has "always risen to the challenge with respect to service delivery," he said.

He added, "The Office of the Inspector General doesn't expect it to be any different in the online world than it is in the brick and mortar world."