SSA forges ahead with online apps

SSA forges ahead with online apps

'Burned the first time, cautious the second time.' That might be the motto for the Social Security Administration's online service efforts.

William Gray, SSA's assistant deputy commissioner for systems, said last week the agency is cautiously deploying online applications, having been bitten by a privacy controversy several years ago over a Web application.

'We do more usability testing, more public vetting' of applications, he said. Plus, the agency now commits only to pilot rollouts in limited geographic areas before deciding whether an application can go national.

Still, Gray said, SSA's goal is to offer 60 percent of its services online by 2004.

Speaking at the monthly GCN Information Technology Forum in Washington, Gray said without robust user authentication tools, people applying for benefits online must have direct deposit and a one-time, in-person identity verification. But, he added, the agency will soon start testing biometric authentication on its own employees.

'T.R. Temin

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