Can volunteer's help SSA help its customers?

This is the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service. In St. Louis, you may have visited the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, home to the iconic Arch. It commemorates the westward expansion of the nation though St. Louis in the 18th Century.

While visiting, you may have spoken with a park service ranger or gone to a program hosted by a ranger. You may also have received assistance from a volunteer while at the park. Sometimes a student intern or a retired individual, the quality and knowledgeableness of these individuals can vary greatly.

Their use is made necessary by the budget constraints the National Park Service operates under. The agency simply cannot afford to hire all of the full-time official rangers they would need to assist with the growing visitation at most sites throughout the country.

Social Security, like most government agencies, similarly has had to deal with increasing demands for service and fewer resources. The Social Security Administration has a program for employing volunteers in their offices. This program allows unpaid workers to help with the operations of an SSA office.

The problem with volunteers is that while many can be very good, there is no substitute for having an experienced individual. If you need assistance while applying for Social Security Disability benefits, the need for accurate information and knowledgeable help is all the more critical.

Receiving incomplete or incorrect information during this process can cause delays and entail additional submissions and the need for hearings or appeals that could further delay your benefit payments. 

While additional help in SSA offices is necessary, how effective such help will be towards the goal of eliminating the long backlogs and other delays many applicants encounter remains to be seen.

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