GAO Says Social Security Administration IT System Needs Upgrading

As reported by, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report suggests that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will need to upgrade its information technology systems to handle future electronic information exchanges. Currently the system operates more than 800 data exchanges that allow SSA to send and receive electronic information to and from state and local partners. The data exchanges are used for processing and distributing Social Security payments and validating identities of driver’s license applicants.

SSA officials anticipate increased demands on the data exchanges, particularly from E-Verify, the federal electronic employee verification system that uses Social Security numbers to verify the employment eligibility of newly hired workers. To handle the increase, SSA will modernize its IT infrastructure and develop a more cost-effective and efficient computing environment. It will convert outdated software applications and expand the agency's physical processing capacity.

Although GAO found that the system, to date, had performed adequately, it warned that SSA had not implemented the necessary IT management practices to effectively oversee the changes in the data exchanges. The GAO also found that SSA had not sufficiently projected future demands nor had it developed a tactical plan for delivering electronic services.


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