Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Career with the Social Security Administration in Washington State

What do you think of when you hear Social Security Administration? Chances are you don’t think of an exciting job, but I do. My name is Shandee; I work for the Social Security Administration’s Auburn Teleservice Center and I want to give you a little insight to the career waiting for you.
I am a Teleservice Representative or TSR; I answer calls coming into SSA’s national 800#. This is not your typical call center job, it is mentally challenging and extremely rewarding! I help people from all walks of life, in all the various stages of living. In a typical day I help people solve problems with their benefits; missing checks, changing direct deposit, understanding Medicare Premium Billings. I explain the requirements for Social Security Cards, as well as screen individuals to see if they are eligible for benefits and set up appointments at their local office. I answer medical insurance questions, explain how work or other income affects benefits, and schedule repayment plans. I also advise people of their legal rights and help them to file appeals. As you can see, I have to be able to wear many different hats to do my job well. I have to have good listening and communication skills to be effective. I need to be able to think on my feet and put the pieces of the puzzle together- often people don’t know what to ask for or what they need, they just know what their problem is and it is up to me to help them solve it.

When I started this job, I had no idea just how large Social Security was or how many programs it was involved in. I didn’t realize just how far it would push me, how much I would learn, or the differences I would be making in peoples’ lives. I can tell you, without a doubt, that I have saved lives just by answering the phone and doing my job. I love where I work and the people I work with; they create a supportive environment. SSA promotes internally and has many programs that let you try out new positions to find out where you want your career to go. I recently received a JEP as a Program Analyst in Recruiting. A JEP is a 4 month promotion that allows you to expand your knowledge in another position. I get the pay rate and workload of a Program Analyst, and it has allowed me to reach out to you and show you what an opportunity awaits you here.

Perhaps you are wondering what type of degree is required to start here, the answer is none. If you have a Bachelor’s degree in any field you can start as a GS-5 ($33,414), my degree is in English Literature, old English Literature. With related experience you can hire as a GS-6 ($37,246) or even a GS-7 ($41,390). This is an entry level position with a Career Ladder to GS-8 ($45,383); promotions are usually given every year. After a probationary period is satisfied, you can apply for internal job openings. Being a Federal position we have job security, 10 Federal holidays, paid Vacation and Sick Leave, Retirement, Thrift Savings Plan, Health and Life Insurance.

So what happens after you start? Do we expect you to know all of Social Security overnight? No, we provide 13 weeks paid classroom training, on the job training and mentorship so that you can understand, explain and feel comfortable assisting individuals with all the various programs we administer. There is no end to learning here at Social Security; we continue to receive training even after reaching Journey Level.

We are looking for the next generation of Social Security Leaders, are you ready to answer the call?

If you have questions or want more information e-mail me at wa.fo.atsc.recruiting at ssa dot gov.