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Open Recommendations (25 total)

Federal Software Licenses: Agencies Need to Take Action to Achieve Additional Savings

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Social Security Administration The Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should ensure that the agency consistently compares the inventories of software licenses that are currently in use with information on purchased licenses to identify opportunities to reduce costs and better inform investment decision making for its widely used licenses on a regular basis. At a minimum, it should develop and implement procedures for comparing the inventories of licenses in use to purchase records. (Recommendation 16)
Open
The Social Security Administration agreed with this recommendation. As of March 2024, the agency did not have an update on the implementation status of this recommendation. Until the agency consistently compares their inventories of software licenses in use to known purchases for each of their five most widely used software licenses, it is likely to miss opportunities to reduce costs on duplicative or unnecessary software licenses. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to fully implement this recommendation.

Federal Software Licenses: Agencies Need to Take Action to Achieve Additional Savings

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Social Security Administration The Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should ensure that the agency consistently tracks software licenses that are currently in use for its widely used licenses by, at a minimum, developing and implementing procedures for tracking license usage. (Recommendation 15)
Open
The Social Security Administration agreed with this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Cybersecurity: Federal Agencies Made Progress, but Need to Fully Implement Incident Response Requirements

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Social Security Administration The Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should ensure that the agency fully implements all event logging requirements as directed OMB guidance. (Recommendation 20)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Information Management: Agencies Need to Streamline Electronic Services

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Social Security Administration The Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should establish a reasonable time frame for when the agency will post access and consent forms on the agency's privacy program website. (Recommendation 12)
Open
As of March 2024, the Social Security Administration expects to post an electronic consent form that complies with the Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services for Constituents ACT of 2019 and Office of Management and Budget memorandum M-21-04 to their website by September 30, 2023. Lastly, SSA anticipates posting a compliant access form to their website in fiscal year 2025.

Social Security Administration: Remote Service Delivery Increased during COVID-19, but More Could Be Done to Assist Vulnerable Populations

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Social Security Administration The Commissioner of SSA should develop an agency-wide plan for managing anticipated increases in SSA's disability workloads. (Recommendation 5)
Open
SSA agreed with this recommendation. In May 2023, SSA reported that in its FY 2024 President's budget, they requested resources to address increased initial disability claim receipts and the growing backlog based on actuarial receipt projections for initial disability applications in its field offices, Workload Support Units, State Disability Determination Services (DDS), and increased disability actions at subsequent levels of appeal. They factored into their budgetary resource estimate the expected increases in the disability workloads. They plan to increase agency and DDS processing capacity to address the growing disability workload. In addition, they are working on a comprehensive initial disability claims backlog reduction plan that will include activities in process, as well as plans for business process changes, information technology investments, and hiring. As of April 2024, SSA continues to work on this recommendation. We await the completion of these efforts.

Social Security Administration: Remote Service Delivery Increased during COVID-19, but More Could Be Done to Assist Vulnerable Populations

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4 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Social Security Administration The Commissioner of SSA should evaluate the feasibility of making online Spanish applications available again for those SSA benefit programs with existing online applications. (Recommendation 3)
Open
SSA agreed with this recommendation. In May 2023, SSA reported that it is considering reintroducing the Spanish iClaim application as part of a broader information technology modernization effort. To inform its decision, they plan to evaluate usage data, level of effort required to translate and host the application, and feedback from advocates. As of April 2024, SSA continues to work on this recommendation. We await further progress on these efforts.
Social Security Administration The Commissioner of SSA should develop a plan—with clear steps, goals, metrics, and timelines—to evaluate the feasibility of obtaining additional race and ethnicity data from other state and federal entities in support of its Equity Action Plan goals. (Recommendation 1)
Open
SSA agreed with this recommendation. In May 2023, SSA reported that it is implementing elements of its plan to obtain additional race and ethnicity data from other state and federal entities. They are seeking to record race and ethnicity data through the existing Enumeration at Birth (EAB) process, which coordinates the enumeration process with collection of information in State's bureaus of vital statistics. Over 99 percent of Social Security number requests for newborns in FY22 were completed using EAB. In FY24, SSA plans to coordinate with the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems to identify states that are willing and able to share race and ethnicity information and begin to facilitate collection of data from those states. As of April 2024, SSA continues these efforts and we will monitor their progress.
Social Security Administration The Commissioner of SSA should implement a coordinated process for assessing lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that includes documentation and dissemination, implementation of corrective action, and incorporation into future contingency planning. (Recommendation 4)
Open
SSA agreed with this recommendation. In May 2023, SSA said it would identify lessons learned for inclusion in its contingency planning documents. As of April 2024, SSA continues to work on this recommendation. We await further progress and documentation of these efforts.
Social Security Administration
Priority Rec.
The Commissioner of SSA should develop a plan—with clear steps, goals, metrics, and timelines—for enabling claimants to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits online. (Recommendation 2)
Open
SSA agreed with this recommendation. In May 2023, SSA reported that its multi-year SSI Simplification Initiative, which includes the SSI Online project, aims to simplify and reduce delays in the SSI application process. Agency officials expect the Initiative to improve on-line service for claimants and employees, and produce a simple, secure on-line gateway to capture data; verify and determine eligibility; and notify claimants as their applications are being processed. As of April 2024, SSA continues to work on this recommendation. We will monitor the agency's progress on these efforts.

Privacy: Dedicated Leadership Can Improve Programs and Address Challenges

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Social Security Administration
Priority Rec.
The Commissioner of SSA should establish a time frame for fully defining the role of the senior agency official for privacy or other designated privacy official in reviewing and approving system categorizations, overseeing privacy control assessments, and reviewing authorization packages, and document these roles. (Recommendation 62)
Open
SSA stated that it agreed with our recommendation. As of April 2024, SSA provided updates on its efforts to address this recommendation; however, the documentation provided did not fully define the role of privacy officials in these activities. We are continuing to follow up with SSA to verify implementation of this recommendation.