Data

SSA gets new access to payroll data

Shutterstock image (by Laborant): clear magnifying glass, blurred binary code. 

Amid all hubbub of the White House's string of groundbreaking executive orders in the last couple of weeks, the Social Security Administration plans to leverage new data access authority.

The SSA's inspector general publicized agency plans to develop rules and policy to tap into real-time electronic payroll information to help reduce improper payments and improve administration of its benefits programs.

Specifically, SSA is permitted to require applicants to the Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income to authorize direct access to payroll records in order to determine eligibility.

One remaining hurdle requires SSA to enter into data agreements with private payroll data providers to get current wage information.

Previously, field office employees had to rely on getting and analyzing "mounds of paperwork with aging data, or rely on the beneficiary to report the data" in a timely manner, according to a Jan. 26 OIG blog post.

With the new payroll data-matching capability, field offices' workloads will be reduced, which can prevent improper payments, it said.

The agency plans to publish a notice of the move in the Federal Register, update its automated systems and develop training guidelines and procedures for agency employees.

It aims to complete that work and implement the electronic wage gathering provision by the end of the year.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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