History of SSA During the Johnson Administration 1963-1968


At the same time that the Social Security Administration was launching Medicare and implementing the other amendments of 1965, 1966, and 1967, {1} major improvements were being made in organization to carry out these changes and to improve efficiency of operations in general.


When President Johnson assumed office in 1963, the Social Security Administration, with 35,689 employees, comprised the following major components–with their major responsibilities--all reporting directly to the Commissioner of Social Security, Robert M. Ball.

Office of Information-- Roy L. Swift
Social security public information programs.

Central Planning Staff-- George E. Rawson
Systems, procedures, and management improvement.

Division of the Actuary-- Robert J. Myers
Actuarial research studies and estimates.

Division of Management-- Roy E. Touchet
Full range of management staff and support services.

Division of Claims Policy-- Thomas C. Parrott
Old-age and survivors insurance policies and instructions.

Division of Program Evaluation and Planning-- Alvin M. David
Analysis of social security programs and development of recommendations for legislation.

Division of Research and Statistics-- Ida C. Merriam
Statistical research on economic and social conditions.

Division of Accounting Operations-- Joseph L. Fay
Basic recordkeeping and data processing operations.

Division of Field Operations-- Hugh F. McKenna
Supervision of public contact facilities in the field.

Division of Disability Operations-- Arthur E. HessDisability insurance policies, instructions, and disability claims review.

Division of Claims Control-- Richard E. Branham
Supervision of old-age and survivors insurance claims review and benefit maintenance processes.

Bureau of Hearings and Appeals-- Joseph E. McElvain
Independent hearings on appealed old-age, survivors, and disability insurance claims.

Bureau of Federal Credit Unions-- J. Deane Gannon
Standards for, and chartering andexamination of Federal credit unions.

This pattern of organization was largely the same in basic concept as it had been at the time of the inception of the social security program. For most of its existence the old Bureau of Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance organization had been essentially unifunctional in terms of program (i.e., old-age and survivors insurance), and therefore organized largely in terms of work processes. The principal operating business in the organization was conducted by (1) a component charged with establishing and maintaining the lifetime earnings records (Division of Accounting Operations), (2) a component charged with the development of initial claims and the handling of initial applications for account numbers (Division of Field Operations), and (3) a component charged with reviewing the claims and establishing and maintaining a continuing payment record (Division of Claims Control). The other components were largely supportive in their roles, with the exception of the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals--responsible for the hearings and appeals program--and the Bureau of Federal Credit Unions--a separate and distinct program which has been a part of the Social Security Administration largely for reasons of administrative convenience.

In the later 1950's and early 1960's, the scope and complexity of thesocial security programs had grown considerably. Social Security coverage was extended to employees of State and local governments through individually negotiated agreements. A disability insurance program was initiated, providing for the determination of disability by the States under contract to the Social Security Administration. Both of these developments placed some strain on organization structure, since they required extensive contact and negotiation by field personnel with the States, and they introduced into what had been a relatively simple program a number of highly technical functions and work processes. These new responsibilities were incorporated without serious dysfunction, however, so that no major change in the organization of the Administration was deemed necessary.

Footnotes (Footnote numbers not same as in the printed version)

{1} See charts Appendix A. Exhibit 1.