Social Security Administration (SSA) officials spent $300 million over an eight-year period developing a new disability case processing software that is useless, according to the SSA Office of Inspector General (IG).
The SSA began in 2008 seeking out alternatives for processing disability cases more efficiently and cost-effectively by combining multiple case management systems into one. Eight years later, what little the agency has developed through contractors is so useless SSA might be better off sticking with its old management systems, the IG found.
“Since it conceived of a common case processing system in 2008, SSA has invested over $300 million in the DCPS (Disability Case Processing System) project – equivalent to the cost of maintaining the legacy systems for over nine years – for which it appears the agency will receive little benefit,” the IG said.
SSA abandoned its first software development attempt in May, 2015 — nearly six months after the IG suggested doing so — and started looking for alternatives again from scratch. (RELATED: Gov’t Spends $75 Million On Facility Cops Can’t Use)
SSA didn’t consider sticking with its “legacy” systems when developing a new one became too complicated and costly, the IG said.
“The agency did not fully evaluate all potential alternatives – including whether to discontinue all efforts entirely and continue maintaining legacy systems,” the IG added.
The SSA finally decided on a new system called “Core,” but when that project is completed sometime later this year, it still won’t cover all 54 types of disability services the SSA processes, the IG said. The new system will only reuse about 22 percent of the resources employed to develop the original failed software.
The agency hasn’t calculated the annual maintenance cost for the new system. The current legacy systems cost $32 million to operate each year.
“To ensure its chosen solution will enable the agency to meet its disability case processing needs at the lowest cost to the taxpayers, we believe SSA should identify all the costs the agency expects to incur to fully develop, implement and maintain the new DCPS application,” the IG said.
Texas Republican Rep. Sam Johnson, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, asked the IG to investigate SSA’s progress.
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