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Chairman Johnson Announces Hearing on Modernizing Social Security’s Information Technology Infrastructure

July 07, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled “Modernizing Social Security’s Information Technology Infrastructure” on Thursday, July 14, at 10:00 AM in room B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building. At the hearing, Members will focus on the current state of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Information Technology (IT) infrastructure, the agency’s IT modernization plan, and best practices for IT modernization efforts.

Upon announcing the hearing, Chairman Johnson said:

“Whether it’s a senior applying for benefits or new parents whose infant needs a Social Security Number, Social Security’s information technology, commonly referred to as IT, touches all aspects of Americans’ lives.

“What makes no sense is that, despite the importance of this information, Social Security relies on technology so outdated it is not even taught in computer science classes.

“For years, I’ve sounded the alarm on the dangers of Social Security’s outdated and aging IT. I look forward to hearing Social Security’s plan to update its IT for the 21st century – a plan we have been asking to see for far too long. Social Security must get this right. Americans want, need, and deserve no less.”


The SSA relies on outdated information technology systems, including 63 million lines of COBOL code, to process agency workloads.

In the Fiscal Year 2017 President’s Budget request, the SSA stated, “For several years, we worked to modernize our IT in small pieces, but we have exhausted nearly all of these smaller efforts. We are now at a point where we must undertake a larger, multiyear effort.” The SSA requested $300 million to use over 5 years to modernize its computer languages, databases, and infrastructure but did not include a plan for completing this project on time and within budget.