The Social Security Administration (SSA) needs to do more to prepare for the future demands of E-Verify and other data exchanges, according to an independent study conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). In preparation for its September 2009 report, the GAO interviewed SSA officials and certain federal and state data exchange partners to determine the extent to which SSA’s systems effectively and efficiently support more than 800 data exchanges. While the GAO found that systems-related problems have been minimal, both the SSA and its partners admitted that data exchange programs will continue to grow both in volume and complexity, outpacing current capabilities.
One prime example cited is the E-Verify program, which has doubled in usage twice during the past two years. While SSA has been able to handle E-Verify processing demand thus far, two extended outages were recently reported where the direct line between the SSA and the DHS system failed, preventing E-Verify from completing queries in a timely fashion. According to DHS officials, SSA has addressed the problem and plans to implement enhancements intended to prevent the loss of data if the direct lines fail in the future.
The entire report and GAO recommendations can be viewed at the SSA site here.