recommended reading

Auditors recommend SSA create an online customer service plan

The Social Security Administration should develop a long-range plan for how it will use the Internet to provide better customer service, the agency's internal watchdog said this week.

The agency has done a lot of short-range planning for Web-enabled customer services in its strategic plan, but most of those plans are in the three to five year range. The agency's inspector general recommends creating a 10-year plan.

The push for longer-range planning stems in part from a White House initiative directing agencies to streamline their online customer service, as well as from increasing demands from tech-savvy baby boomers as they reach retirement, according to the report, which was given to congressional requesters in July.

SSA agreed with a draft version of the report and said it will develop a 10-year online customer service plan.

The majority of SSA's interaction with retirement and disability beneficiaries still takes place in person or on the phone, but that balance is rapidly shifting to online support. More than 35 percent of retirement claims and more than 25 percent of disability claims were filed online during fiscal 2010, according to the IG.

Overall Internet use among 50 to 64 year olds rose 117 percent between 2000 and 2010, the report said.

"SSA's long-term customer service delivery plan must recognize that a majority of the customers it will serve in 10 years will expect to conduct business electronically, conveniently and without the intervention of an agency employee," the report said, noting that SSA's Future Systems Technology Advisory Panel recommended the agency "prepare to move to an electronic self-service model where 90 percent of its business is online."

The long-range report should include a detailed assessment of the agency's hardware, software, data storage, staffing and funding needs for online customer service over the next decade, the IG said.

The report generally praised SSA's existing 21 online citizen services, such as portals that collect disability information and that allow applicants to check the status of their claims online.

The agency is also working on an online portal that will allow people to access their Social Security statements online and, ultimately, other information.

When the project is complete, people will be able to use a single username and password to access all of Social Security's online services, officials said.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    View
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.