SSA wants to hire 1,300 workers

The Social Security Administration could hire as many as 1,300 employees if Congress approves the president's 2004 federal budget allocation for the agency. The proposed $8.53 billion administrative budget for SSA represents a 7.5 percent increase over the fiscal 2003 budget request, and the largest increase since SSA became an independent agency in 1995.

'This is a large allocation of resources under any circumstances, but in this fiscal climate'especially with the compelling demands of national defense and homeland security'it is huge,' SSA commissioner Jo Anne Barnhart said in a statement.

Barnhart said SSA could add 1,000 new employees and more than 300 new Disability Determination Service employees. She said the agency's productivity rose by 5.1 percent last year.

But Congress has the final say, SSA spokesman Mark Hinkle said yesterday. Until appropriations are made, 'it's too early to say how many IT jobs will be filled,' he said. The agency recruits IT workers online through and, boasting that 'our database management and telecommunications systems are unparalleled.'

The budget document commentary said SSA is 'working with the employer community to pilot online verification of employees' names and Social Security numbers, and employing new software routines for matching more misreported wage items to individual records.' The agency's E-Vital e-government initiative also aims to automate the exchange of vital statistics data with states to reduce fraud.

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