A decision concerning whether to fill a position with a new hire or promotion versus a reemployed annuitant is ultimately a management decision stemming from the agency’s budget authority, said the report.

Because of a prior hiring freeze, for example, SSA had been unable to hire a sufficient number of permanent employees to meet critical workload demands and thus “decided that reemployed annuitants were necessary to provide additional front-line support in SSA field and hearing offices nationwide; reduce backlogs; provide short-term assistance during peak workloads; fill in during unanticipated staffing shortages (for example, because of serious illness or unexpected attrition); and complete special, often time-sensitive, projects.”

While the agency has been hiring permanent employees, those hired into critical positions need on average two years to “complete the formal training, on-the-job proficiency reviews, and technical mentoring necessary to ensure accuracy and the ability to work independently.”

Longer term, the report said, SSA expects to make less use of rehired annuitants, but for the meantime, “SSA expects annuitants will still be necessary to fill urgent needs and train and mentor approximately 6,000 recently hired new employees.”

Even with incentives like allowing dual compensation, reemployed annuitants “are normally uninterested in working, or unable to work, for the agency long-term,” it added.