History of SSA During the Johnson Administration 1963-1968


More landmark social security legislation was enacted during President Johnson's Administration than during any other administration. The very substantial improvements in the social security program that occurred during the Johnson Administration were due in no small part to the President's deep concern for the health and welfare of the American people. As the President's leadership was essential to the successful accomplishment of these improvements, so too was the cooperation and joint endeavor of the Congress and the Department. Of very real importance in this connection were the excellent relations between the Social Security Administration and the Congress, in particular, between key Administration officials---the Commissioner of Social Security, the Deputy Commissioner, the Chief Actuary, and the Assistant Commissioner for Program Evaluation and Planning, for example--and the congressional committees who deal with social security legislation. These legislative relations, cast and carried out within a framework of cooperative endeavor, have been an asset to the American people, because through it the social security program as a major and significant institution affecting the lives of all Americans has been enhanced.

The Social Security Administration also cooperated with individual Representatives and Senators, providing informational, speech, general program, and related materials as well as materials dealing with legislative issues and current problem areas.

In addition, a member of the Commissioner's immediate staff was formally assigned special and primay responsibility for day-to-day service to Senators and Representatives. He established close working relationships with many of them and their staff members, to give them high-level and expedited service on social security inquiries from constituents and on other matters of congressional interest. Arrangements were carried out in 1967 for a large group of congressional office staff members to visit the Baltimore headquarters of the Social Security Administration, where they were given a briefing and advised how best to obtain prompt answers for constituents.

A specially selected and trained group of employees was formed in April 1966 to function under the Office of the Commissioner, as a "special inquiries unit" to give immediate and expert attention to telephone calls from the offices of Senators and Representatives. This service was called to the attention of all Members of Congress and their staffs, and within a few months the special unit was handling numerous calls each day. Many highly commendatory comments were received from congressional offices on the service.