Social Security Administration gets an "A"
November 19, 2013
• But Treasury and HUD flunk the plain writing test
• “We still have a long way to go to make government forms and documents simpler and easier for taxpayers to understand”
The Social Security Administration gets an “A” and Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development flunk the 2013 Plain Writing Act Report Card released Tuesday by the Center for Plain Language, a nonprofit organization dedicated to clear communication in government, business, nonprofits, and universities.
It evaluated 20 government agencies and departments.
In addition to SSA, other agencies getting top grades for at least part of their communications efforts are Agriculture, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Small Business Administration and Transportation.
Other federal agencies and departments joining Treasury and HUD with at least one F grade include the Environmental Protection Agency, Homeland Security, Labor and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
“Unless federal agencies and departments are held accountable, they won’t implement the changes required by the Plain Writing Act,” says Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, author of the Plain Writing Act, “The mixed results of the Plain Writing Act Report Card show that we still have a long way to go to make government forms and documents simpler and easier for taxpayers to understand.”
Signed into law in 2010, the Plain Writing Act asks government agencies and departments to take steps to assure that they are communicating clearly with businesses, consumers and other stakeholders.
With the grading conducted by plain language expert volunteers from the national nonprofit organization, the report card tracks the progress of how well agencies are adhering to the letter of the Act and the spirit of the Act.