SSA ORGANIZATIONAL MANUAL

Chapter TB

THE OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, LEGISLATION AND CONGRESSIONAL AFFAIRS


  1. Mission The Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Legislation and Congressional Affairs (DCLCA) develops and conducts the legislative program of SSA, serves as the focal point for all legislative activity in SSA, analyzes legislative and regulatory initiatives and develops specific positions and amendments. The Office evaluates the effectiveness of programs administered by SSA in terms of legislative needs, and analyzes and develops recommendations on related income maintenance, social service and rehabilitation program proposals, particularly those which may involve coordination with SSA-administered programs, and on other methods of providing economic security. It provides advisory service to SSA officials on legislation of interest to SSA pending in Congress. It also provides legislative drafting to officials within the Executive Branch, congressional committees, individual Members of Congress and private organizations interested in Social Security legislation. It establishes and maintains a working relationship with all Members of Congress. It serves as SSA's information gathering and dissemination staff on congressional activities affecting SSA programs and handles certain claims and administrative matters that are particularly urgent or sensitive to Members of Congress.
  2. Organization
    1. The Deputy Commissioner for Legislation and Congressional Affairs (TB)
    2. The Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Legislation and Congressional Affairs (TB)
    3. The Immediate Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Legislation and Congressional Affairs (TBA)
    4. The Office of Legislative Development and Operations (TBJ)
      1. The Retirement and Survivors Insurance Benefits Staff (TBJ-1)
      2. The Disability Insurance Staff (TBJ-2)
      3. The Supplemental Security Income and Health Staff (TBJ-3)
      4. The Immigration, Data Exchange and Enumeration Staff (TBJ-6)
      5. The Legislative and Constituent Services Staff (TBJ-10)
      6. The Regulations and Reports Clearance Staff (TBJ-11)
      7. The Program Administration and Financing Staff (TBJ-12)
    5. The Office of Congressional Affairs (TBK)
  3. Functions
    1. The Deputy Commissioner for Legislation and Congressional Affairs (TB) is directly responsible to the Commissioner for carrying out DCLRA's mission and providing general supervision to the major components of DCLCA.
    2. The Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Legislation and Congressional Affairs (TB) assists the Deputy Commissioner in carrying out his/her responsibilities and performs other duties as the Deputy Commissioner may prescribe.
    3. The Immediate Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Legislation and Congressional Affairs (TBA) provides the Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Deputy Commissioner with staff assistance on the full range of their responsibilities.
    4. The Office of Legislative Development and Operations (TBJ) develops and evaluates legislative proposals for changes in the Social Security program. Reviews regulations dealing with the Social Security program including inter-program relationships to assure cross-program consistency with policy requirements and decisions. Reviews legislative proposals for consistency with existing program goals, philosophy and program requirements. Provides technical and advisory services to other agencies within the Executive Branch, congressional committees, State officials and private organizations having an interest in Social Security programs or emerging legislative issues. Provides analytical support on broad programmatic issues. Identifies and analyzes far-reaching economic, political and societal issues that impact/influence the development and modification of Social Security program policies and procedures. Collects, stores, and maintains information needed to respond to Congressional and White House inquiries. Tracks legislative history of the Social Security programs. Recommends methods for coordinating the protection afforded under the Social Security Act with that afforded under other public and private benefit programs. Maintains productive relationships with all members of Congress on behalf of the Agency. Provides administrative, budgetary, and computer support and other assistance on the full range of their responsibilities. Within the Office of Legislative Development and Operations, Social Security topics are divided among seven staffs:
      1. The Retirement and Survivors Insurance Benefits Staff (TBJ-1) handles issues relating to earning, computations, solvency, and factors of entitlement to benefits.
      2. The Disability Insurance Staff (TBJ-2) handles issues relating to the medical definition of disability and continuing entitlement.
      3. The Supplemental Security Income and Health Staff (TBJ-3) handles issues relating to the Supplemental Security Income program, other needs-based programs, and Medicare.
      4. The Immigration, Data Exchange, and Enumeration Staff (TBJ-6) handles issues related to immigration, computer systems data exchanges, and Social Security Numbers and cards.
      5. The Legislative and Constituent Services Staff (TBJ-10) conducts dialogue on a routine basis with congressional district office staff and coordinates resolution of highly sensitive constituent matters. Tracks legislative bills, highlights items of interest from the Congressional Record as well as other publications, and provides support for agency at public hearings. Responds to correspondence from the White House and members of Congress.
      6. The Regulations and Reports Clearance Staff (TBJ-11) is the principle organization within SSA responsible for the development of Agency regulations, Social Security Rulings, and Federal Register Notices. Drafts regulations and guides documents through the clearance process in SSA, the Office of Management and Budget (OMS), and the Office of the Federal Register (OFR). Develops and submits the annual Regulatory Plan and the semi-annual Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations to OMB. Manages SSA’s Good Guidance process, maintains the Agency’s automated regulations tracking system, and provides relevant content for SSA’s Internet website and Intranet WebPages. Includes the Agency’s Regulations Officer and establishes and maintains Agency standards for the development of regulations and rulings. Administers the regulatory and procedural requirements governing SSA’s collection of information from the public stemming from the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and provides liaison service with OMB. It works with customers on OMB clearances of forms or other ways of collecting information from the public, guiding them through the clearance process and facilitating timely OMB clearance. Develops and submits SSA’s annual Information Collection Budget. Reports clearance staff work with SSA components to ensure PRA compliance, to identify Agency burden reduction initiatives, and to determine the burden hours SSA imposes on the public.
      7. The Program Administration and Financing Staff (TBJ-12) handles issues relating to the administration and financing of agency programs, service delivery, issues affecting federal agencies in general, and other administrative issues.
    5. The Office of Congressional Affairs (TBK) serves as a consultant to the Deputy Commissioner, Legislation and Congressional Affairs with regard to establishing and maintaining effective congressional relationships. Focuses on legislative relationships for planning and coordination among Executive Branch offices/Agencies and Hill components. Establishes and maintains liaison functions with the White House, other Executive Branch Agencies, and Congressional offices. Networks with counterparts in other agencies to foster a coordinative approach to legislative strategy. Directs the activities of the Washington, D.C., DCLCA staff in carrying out activities related to liaison with the Hill and coordination with other Agencies.