SSA has gaps in e-authentication of identities, auditors say

While more individuals apply online for benefits, OIG finds gaps in managing identity risks

While managing electronic identities is becoming more important to the Social Security Administration as more retirees apply for benefits online, the SSA is falling short in meeting federal procedures for e-authentication, according to a new federal audit report.

The audit found significant gaps in the procedures used to validate identities in the SSA’s 22 citizen-to-government applications.

“We determined that none of the 22 citizen-to-government Internet applications were validated as required by federal guidelines,” Patrick O’Carroll Jr., inspector general, wrote in the Oct. 14 report.


Related stories:

SSA narrowly missed target for online applications in fiscal 2010

Many US voter identities don't match SSA data


Some of those applications are used for individuals to apply for benefits online, which is happening more and more often. One of the SSA’s stated mission goals is for 50 percent of retirees to apply for benefits online by the end of fiscal 2012.

Auditors found lack of proof that risk assessments were performed, shortcomings in methods for proving identities and gaps in oversight of the e-authentication processes.

“While certain aspects of SSA’s e-authentication process are generally consistent with Federal guidelines, some areas require improvement,” O’Carroll wrote.

The inspector general made six recommendations for improvement, and SSA officials agreed with all of them.





About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.