Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision

A STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT

Leon J. Osterweil, Lynette I. Millett, and Joan D. Winston, Editors

Committee on the Social Security Administration’s E-Government Strategy and Planning for the Future

Computer Science and Telecommunications Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
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Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision A STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT Leon J. Osterweil, Lynette I. Millett, and Joan D. Winston, Editors Committee on the Social Security Administration’s E-Government Strategy and Planning for the Future Computer Science and Telecommunications Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by the Social Security Administration with assistance from the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CNS-0344585. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-10393-0 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-10393-2 Additional copies of this report are available from: The National Academies Press 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285 Washington, DC 20055 (800) 624-6242 (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2007 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment COMMITTEE ON THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION’S E-GOVERNMENT STRATEGY AND PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE LEON J. OSTERWEIL, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Chair MATT BISHOP, University of California, Davis MICHAEL J. CAREY, BEA Systems, Inc. DAVID J. DeWITT, University of Wisconsin-Madison VALERIE GREGG, University of Southern California, Information Sciences Institute BLAISE HELTAI, New Vantage Partners STEPHEN H. HOLDEN, Touchstone Consulting Group LARRY G. MASSANARI, Social Security Administration (retired) JUDITH S. OLSON, University of Michigan Staff LYNETTE I. MILLETT, Study Director and Senior Program Officer JOAN D. WINSTON, Program Officer JANICE M. SABUDA, Senior Program Assistant

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Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment COMPUTER SCIENCE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS BOARD JOSEPH F. TRAUB, Columbia University, Chair ERIC BENHAMOU, Benhamou Global Ventures, LLC FREDERICK R. CHANG, University of Texas, Austin WILLIAM DALLY, Stanford University MARK E. DEAN, IBM Almaden Research Center DEBORAH ESTRIN, University of California, Los Angeles JOAN FEIGENBAUM, Yale University KEVIN KAHN, Intel Corporation JAMES KAJIYA, Microsoft Corporation MICHAEL KATZ, University of California, Berkeley RANDY H. KATZ, University of California, Berkeley SARA KIESLER, Carnegie Mellon University TERESA H. MENG, Stanford University PRABHAKAR RAGHAVAN, Yahoo! Research FRED B. SCHNEIDER, Cornell University ALFRED Z. SPECTOR, Independent Consultant, Pelham, New York WILLIAM STEAD, Vanderbilt University ANDREW J. VITERBI, Viterbi Group, LLC PETER WEINBERGER, Google Inc. JEANNETTE M. WING, Carnegie Mellon University Staff JON EISENBERG, Director KRISTEN BATCH, Associate Program Officer RADHIKA CHARI, Administrative Coordinator RENEE HAWKINS, Financial Associate MARGARET MARSH HUYNH, Senior Program Assistant HERBERT S. LIN, Senior Scientist LYNETTE I. MILLETT, Senior Program Officer DAVID PADGHAM, Associate Program Officer JANICE M. SABUDA, Senior Program Assistant TED SCHMITT, Consultant BRANDYE WILLIAMS, Program Assistant JOAN D. WINSTON, Program Officer For more information on CSTB, see its Web site at http://www.cstb.org, write to CSTB, National Research Council, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001, call (202) 334-2605, or e-mail CSTB at cstb@nas.edu.

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Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment Preface The use of the Internet (and other information technology) among the general population has resulted in a rising level of comfort and familiarity with these technologies. Businesses such as retailers, banks, and investment companies have been shifting more of their operations online, seeking to meet customer demand while reducing costs. Many businesses offer customer services online (these electronic services are often called e-business), often 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The public sector has also embraced these technologies, although their adoption in the public sector often lags that of the private sector’s more aggressive e-business adopters. Much like the case in the private sector, governments’ basic goals for such automation include satisfying customer service expectations and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of operations. The Social Security Administration (SSA), a federal agency that interacts with broad segments of the public, has been developing online government services for more than a decade. The SSA’s e-government initiatives thus far have included support of online transactions relating to benefits applications, requests for statements, replacement Medicare cards, and disability reports. The SSA’s clients include not only nearly all U.S. residents (both those contributing as workers and those collecting benefits) but also millions of employers filing wage reports. In addition to providing direct services to citizens and employers, agencies such as the SSA are mandated to coordinate and cooperate in various ways (for example, through data exchange or service provision) with other state and federal agencies.

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Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment Like the underlying technologies, innovation and deployment of electronic services in the commercial sector continue at a rapid pace. As this report describes, this pace exerts pressure on federal agencies to improve their services continually and to stay abreast of both technology developments and the associated developments in business practices and technology management. Perhaps more importantly, broader deployment and adoption of electronic services offer agencies like the SSA potential relief from the increasing workload, workforce, and other resource pressures facing them. To further understanding of these and related issues, the SSA’s Deputy Associate Commissioner for Electronic Services asked the National Research Council (NRC) to examine the SSA’s proposed e-government strategy and the underlying service-delivery and information technology infrastructure and to prepare a report discussing issues including the following: the SSA’s current e-government strategy, including technological assumptions, performance measures and targets, planned operational capabilities, strategic requirements, and future goals; strategies, assumptions, and technical and operational requirements in comparable public-and private-sector institutions, and their implications for the SSA; and ongoing efforts to define and refine the SSA’s long-term strategy. The Committee on the Social Security Administration’s E-Government Strategy and Planning for the Future was appointed under the auspices of the NRC’s Computer Science and Telecommunications Board to conduct the study. The nine members of the study committee have expertise in areas such as software engineering and methodology, e-business, e-government, information system security, databases, data and application integration, application of technology to business transformation, project management and decision-support systems, human-computer interaction, and SSA operations and management. Biographical information for members of the committee and the NRC staff is presented in Appendix A. (Ken Orr of the Ken Orr Institute resigned from the committee in September 2005 owing to time constraints.) The committee held three meetings during the course of its work. One was an organizational meeting by teleconference and two featured testimony (1) to gather information on the SSA’s current e-government strategy, including technical requirements and strategies of the agency, and to learn what the agency believes are roadblocks to potential success, as well as what positive outcomes are anticipated; and (2) to gather related information from representatives of some of the SSA’s key constituencies and to discuss comparable systems issues in other institutions (in both the public and private sectors). Panelists and briefers for the meetings are listed in Appendix B.

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Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment In late spring of 2007, during a final fact-checking phase in the course of preparing this report, the committee requested an update from the SSA regarding any additional steps taken in consideration of converting its Master Data Access Method (MADAM) database system and any changes to the SSA’s organizational structure affecting electronic services. The committee was informed that there were no substantive updates. The committee focused on examining the SSA’s current e-government strategy, including technological assumptions, operational capabilities, functional requirements, and future goals and ongoing efforts to define and refine the SSA’s long-term strategy to support information technology applications and online services to its many and varied constituencies. Consistent with early discussions with and briefings from the SSA, this report assumes that the SSA intends to, and should, pursue delivering an expanding array of online services. Questions of whether online services are appropriate for the SSA or what the balance of resources devoted to online services and other modes of delivery should be were considered to be beyond the scope of this study. In keeping with the resources available for the study, the report does not undertake to develop a comprehensive roadmap to take the agency from its current situation to a future involving more online services. Finally, although the report acknowledges the importance of privacy to individuals and to society, it does not provide a comprehensive examination of the agency’s privacy policies and safeguards. The committee thanks the many individuals who contributed to its work. It appreciates the panelists’ and the SSA’s willingness to address the questions posed to them and is grateful for their insights. The study’s sponsors at the Social Security Administration and the SSA staff have been most supportive and responsive in helping the committee to do its work. We further wish to recognize the energetic participation of the SSA meeting attendees as a group. The reviewers of this report provided constructive feedback and insights, and we are grateful for their assistance. The committee would also like to express its thanks to the members of the staff of the National Academies, especially to study director Lynette Millett and program officer Joan Winston, who displayed exemplary professionalism and patience in seeing this challenging project through to a satisfying conclusion, and to Janice Sabuda, who facilitated our meeting and other activities through the course of the project. Leon J. Osterweil, Chair Committee on the Social Security Administration’s E-Government Strategy and Planning for the Future

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Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Michael Brodie, Verizon Communications, Sharon Dawes, State University of New York at Albany, Carlo De Luca, Boston University, Marc Donner, Morgan Stanley, Sara Kiesler, Carnegie Mellon University, Darrell Long, University of California, Santa Cruz, Ken Nibali, Independent Consultant, West Friendship, Maryland, Daniel Schutzer, Financial Services Technology Consortium, Peter Weinberger, Google Inc., and Marsha Young, Booz Allen Hamilton.

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Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by William H. Press, Los Alamos National Laboratory. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment Contents     SUMMARY   1 1   BACKGROUND AND CURRENT CONTEXT   14      The Mission of the Social Security Administration,   14      Internal Organization of the Social Security Administration,   20      The Agency’s Broad Base of Users,   23      The Social Security Administration’s E-Government Strategy Document,   26      Outline of the Report,   29 2   LESSONS FROM ELECTRONIC SERVICES IN FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS   32      The Transformation in Financial Institutions,   33      Typical Online Capabilities,   37      Financial Institution Web Site Design,   42      Customers and Users of Online Services,   46      Business Incentives for Online Services,   47      Organizational Structures for Online Services,   52      Summary,   53 3   THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION’S INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY—PRESENT AND FUTURE   54      Information Technology Infrastructure,   55      Security, Privacy, and Authentication,   77

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Social Security Administration Electronic Service Provision: A Strategic Assessment                 User Interface,   85      Access Technologies,   89      Summary,   90 4   TOWARD ORGANIZATIONAL TRANSFORMATION FOR ELECTRONIC SERVICE DELIVERY   91      Organizational Culture and Its Implications,   92      Opportunities for Change,   101      The Prospect of Governmental Transformation,   115      Conclusion,   124     APPENDIXES          A  Committee and Staff Biographies   127      B  Panelists and Briefers at Open Committee Meetings   135      C  Social Security Administration Major Office Missions   137      D  Overview of Selected Legislation Pertaining to E-Government   144      E  A Short History of E-Government   149