Social Security rejects testing advice

The General Accounting Office issued a report that says the Social Security Administration needs more diligent testing to avoid problems with its new system for processing electronic disability claims.

Among their recommendations, GAO auditors advised SSA officials to conduct end-to-end testing of all interrelated components before continuing with their current installation schedule. But the March 26 report from congressional auditors also notes that SSA officials have discounted the suggestion because of concerns that the recommended tests would delay the project for three years.

Instead, the agency will continue installing system components in SSA and state disability offices nationwide. Because the electronic claims-processing system is crucial to SSA's efforts to reduce its disability claims backlog, officials are reluctant to slow an 18-month installation schedule that began in January, SSA officials have said.

The GAO report criticizes the agency for proceeding after conducting pilot projects that were too small to give a reasonable assessment of potential problems with the system, which will replace paper folders with electronic folders. But SSA officials disputed GAO's claims and said state disability offices have received more than 5,700 new cases through the system. Of those, more than 1,900 have been processed using the system, the officials said.

GAO also recommended that SSA make certain the new system has appropriate security certification and that the agency follows the software development processes and procedures that it had established at the beginning of the project.

In addition, GAO auditors asked SSA officials to ensure that they have accurately estimated the cost of the disability claims-processing system. In March 2002, SSA received special financing totaling $155 million to accelerate development of the system.

In their response to the auditors' report, SSA officials said another key component of the all-electronic disability claims-processing system would be introduced nationwide in April. Pilot projects of that component, known as the Case Processing Management System, are running smoothly in five disability hearing offices, SSA officials said.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.