SSA to test state-issued digital certificates

SSA to test state-issued digital certificates

The Social Security Administration has a pilot under way to accept online wage reports from certain states using digital certificates. In April, employers in Washington State will become the first to digitally sign and submit their online wage reports to SSA with their state-issued digital certificates.

SSA began testing the certificates two years ago and a year ago began accepting certificates issued to federal agencies under the General Services Administration's Access Certificates for Electronic Services contract.

SSA at first will take non-ACES certificates only from Washington State but hopes to include all states eventually, said Chuck Liptz, an SSA management analyst for the pilot.

The goal is to alleviate interoperability problems between state and federal public-key infrastructures. Filers will use a browser-based signature application, SimpleSign, from Digital Signature Trust Co. of Salt Lake City. SimpleSign delivers a nonpersistent applet through a browser and prompts the user of a file to upload and sign it. Digital Signature Trust is the certificate authority for both Washington State and SSA.

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