WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) announced today that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “The State of Social Security’s Information Technology,” on Thursday, September 27 at 11:00 AM in room 2020 of the Rayburn House Office Building. At the hearing, Members will discuss the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) information technology (IT), including modernization, management, and acquisitions.
Upon announcing the hearing, Chairman Johnson said:
“For too long, Social Security has relied on outdated information technology (IT) systems and software. The good news is that last October Social Security announced plans for a major IT modernization effort. While Social Security has made some real progress, Congress needs to keep a close eye on these efforts to make sure they get it right. After all, IT plays a vital role when it comes to Social Security providing the service Americans want, need, and deserve.”
To deliver services to frontline employees and to the public, the SSA relies on a massive IT infrastructure. The SSA’s systems are housed and supported by two modern data centers and more than 7,000 physical and virtual servers.
However, many of the SSA’s core IT systems and databases are more than 30 years old. Many of these also rely on tens of millions of lines of antiquated programming languages, such as COBOL, FORTRAN, and PowerBuilder. To overhaul its systems, in October 2017, the SSA began a multi-year $691 million IT modernization effort. As part of the FY 2018 Omnibus appropriations bill (P.L. 115-141), Congress appropriated $280 million in dedicated funding.
At the same time, the SSA is in the third year of a second attempt to develop the Disability Case Processing System (DCPS) to replace the legacy case processing systems used at the state-run, federally funded Disability Determination Services. Since the reboot in 2015, DCPS has faced development delays and recently increased its cost estimate for completion of the project by more than 25 percent due to a failure to adequately identify the scope at the outset.
This will be Chairman Johnson’s final hearing as Subcommittee Chairman.