WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) today during a Senate Finance Committee hearing raised concerns from Granite Staters who have experienced delays in receiving pandemic-related relief, including Economic Impact Payments.
To watch the Senator’s questioning, click here.
“A year ago, I helped lead efforts to ensure that Social Security recipients automatically received Economic Impact Payments,” Senator Hassan said. “Unfortunately, Social Security beneficiaries did not receive their latest automatic payments until more than a month after the American Rescue Plan was signed. I’ve also heard from constituents who’ve still not received their automatic payments.”
In response, Grace Kim, Deputy Commissioner for Operations at the Social Security Administration, said, “As we have done with the other Economic Impact Payments, we are providing information to our beneficiaries and recipients on our website, we’re working through our advocate groups to share information about how they can get their questions answered…so we’re doing everything that we can to ensure that our beneficiaries and recipients will receive those payments automatically.”
Senator Hassan replied, “I will urge you to keep trying to be as creative as you can be and innovate here because people really do need these Economic Impact Payments, and they are still having difficulty getting them automatically.”
The Senator also highlighted issues that Granite Staters are facing in requesting a replacement Social Security card. New Hampshire is one of five states where residents can’t request a replacement Social Security card online, so Granite Staters have been told to mail in their driver license, which would leave them without this critical ID for long periods of time.
Peggy Murphy, National Council of Social Security Management Associations, stated that the Social Security field office she manages has worked to streamline the process, and that the Social Security Administration should take another look at policy to make it easier for their customers to receive services.
Senator Hassan also highlighted how the Social Security Administration’s legacy IT and paper-based systems hurt the American people’s ability to access benefits, increase security threats to the agency, and increase their operating cost – with taxpayers footing the bill. Senator Hassan led a hearing earlier this week on the costs of the federal government running outdated and inefficient IT systems, as well as the barriers to modernizing those systems.
“It is so important that there continue to be investment in [Social Security Administration] IT modernization,” Kim agreed. “The pandemic highlighted the number of workarounds and stops and starts that we have because of the use of our legacy systems.”