In the agency press release, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Kilolo Kijakazi stated, “I am very pleased to share that we have successfully reached agreement with our three labor unions on our reentry plan.”
Prior reentry plans for this winter were thwarted with the onset of the omicron variant, which has also affected private sector office openings.
Social Security offices in particular had the added complication of labor union pushback for prior dates suggested for reopening. In November 2021, the agency had suggested a potential reentry to the office for January 3, 2022. After their unions expressed concerns and the omicron variant began progressing through the country, the SSA blog released a statement saying “You may have seen a proposed reentry date of January 3, 2022 in the draft reentry plan that we provided to our unions, or in the media. While some executives reentered on December 1, we have not set a reentry date for the rest of the agency.”
Now, employees are slated for a return to office at the end of March. In an email sent to staff of the SSA on Friday, it was noted that the agency is planning on reentry for most employees on March 30, Federal News Network reported. The e-mail, sent to all staff of the agency, also included new work-from-home schedules and the amount of days an employee will be allowed to telework.
Social Security offices have been mainly closed due to the pandemic, except for case-by-case severe cases involving disability and certain other benefits cases. Individuals have had a particularly difficult time reaching local Social Security offices due to the high volume of calls, as the offices have been operating mainly as “phone-service only.”
Federal News added that Kijakazi estimates field offices will be able to allow in-person visits without a prior appointment by early April.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Social Security Offices Now Have a New Official Return Date