Strategic Goals & Objectives However, the inability to escape it once it is present and its relation to real disorders that are SSD-eligible such as major depression and anxiety make it very much a gray area.
During its existence over three quarters of a century, the SSA has survived, evolved and changed. However, the technological and fiscal challenges of today and the near future require that the Social Security Administration bend and shape itself even more. Those challenges include some budget situations that are fairly bleak, a large amount of fraud and abuse of the program and the technological changes required as mentioned in the introduction for this strategic report. While the basic model of Social Security is criticized, that model itself does not need to be changed. Rather, it just needs some adjustments that will be controversial and unpopular to many people.
As mentioned in the introduction, there are three main challenges to Social Security and its future. However, there are those and several others that need to be taken seriously. Those challenges, in total, are as follows:
The SSA needs to keep up with the technological shifts that have come over the last ten to twenty years and they also need to be able to adjust for the ones that are to come. Indeed, the emergence of social media has made it clear that fresh and more modern approaches are needed. This is not to say that the SSA should worry itself too much about Twitter and Facebook. However, avenues that allow users to use that as a pathway to get and learn about benefits should be done quickly and efficiently.
The SSA needs to make sure that they are protected and secure as it relates to hackers. Groups that could or would cause problems are terrorist groups like ISIS, identity thieves in general, loosely or tightly regulated hacker groups like Anonymous and so forth.
Of course, Social Security Numbers are one of the main sources and types of data used to identify people, open credit accounts and so forth. As such, a major hack of the SSA would be a major coup for any identify thief.
- The one major elephant in the room as it relates to the SSA relates to both Social Security Retirement and Social Security Disability. There are serious and real questions about whether the incoming money that the SSA collects will be enough to pay out all of the benefits that are due to recipients. One major reason for this fiscal crunch is because the birth rate swelled from the late 1940's until the early 1960's and then collapsed by nearly half. What this means is that the people born during that point in time are now in retirement age (or are getting close) and that the amount of people born after that (and thus still in the workforce) are a much smaller group in terms of people and those that are amongst the workforce. Even if only people that are entitled to benefits are getting them, the money is going to be very tight to non-existent within a generation. Solutions to this would include taking the cap off of the Social Security earnings tax (both employer and employee) means-testing the benefits beyond what is done now, restricting access to the program to people who are not citizens and/or permanent residents and so forth. One major threat as it relates to all of this is that the odds that anything substantial will be changed by the current Congress and President given the extremely contentious political environment is practically nil. While this does not have anything directly to do with technology, these budget constraints will have an effect on what can be leveraged and used in terms of money and resources to shore up and improve the technological feel and function of the Social Security Administration websites.
- Speaking of people getting benefits that should not be, there are those that are gaming the system and are not entitled to Social Security benefits. This is obviously a lesser problem when speaking about retirees because when they worked, how long they worked, how much they earned and so forth is not usually in dispute. However, the disability construct of the SSA is teeming with potential or actual fraud or abuse. This includes people faking injuries, those that have had injuries but are healthy enough to return to work and a stretching of what a disability is. Also, the definition of "disability" is getting larger and larger. For example, there is much chatter about alcoholism being a disability even though the initial "catching" of the ...
Two major conditions are going to make the above challenges and threats to the SSA very hard to deal with. They include the aforementioned political gridlock and the fact that laws rarely keep up with technology. One way or another, both of those need to change and there will come a point where changes will need to be immediate and they will be painful. This can be averted, at least in part, by getting the changes started now. The voter-facing laws and technological infrastructures of this country need to be modernized and the people in Congress and Washington DC at large need to do more of their job and less bickering or jockeying. As far as it relates to technology, technology can be used to streamline operations and save money. This alone will not allow the fiscal situations that are coming to be avoided. However, it can only help and the Social Security Administration should do whatever it can with technology and other measures to run the tightest and most well-running ship possible.
With the above and the logic model section below, the following should be the main strategies and objectives in the coming months and years:
Direction of Change: Into the future in terms of technology and streaming lining of operations
Area of Change: Improving and expansion of technological options while maintaining at least a modicum of the older methods due to the preferences of the more mature Americans
Target Populations: The target populations will be the young (for new Social Security cards), the newly or currently disabled (for Social Security Disability) and the newly retirement-age people (for Social Security Retirement). A fourth and unique section for disabled military people should be considered as a separate entity.
Degree of Change: That all people that should get benefits get them quickly and with no excessive bureaucracy and that all people that should not get benefits not get them. There needs to be firm definitions of which is which and it should be followed quickly and to the letter
Time Frame: Streamlining of operations should happen as quickly as possible. A good goal for the time being would be to improve operations over the next twenty-four months.
VI. Logic Model
The mission statement for the Social Security Administration as it relates to technology is as follows
To give rightful people the timely and accurate access they need to information
To protect information of the people in the Social Security database from people and entities that do not have the needed or lawful rights to access information
To get benefits and information the people that truly qualify for it
To give people access via whatever means they prefer including on the phone, through the mail, through physical locations and online
The vision statement for the Social Security Administration as it relates to technology and access is as follows:
To find a place and situation where the SSA can give the proper information and benefits within minutes, hours or days at most, rather than weeks or years
To give information only to those that should see it and never to those that should not To be able to meet the needs of the people regardless of their technology or medium preference
Accuracy of information
Timely delivery of information
Benefits denied for those that are engaging in fraud
Benefits granted for those that should get them
Delicarte treatment for disabled and injured war veterans
Dignity and respect for all people that the SSA encounters
More Detailed Information
Any logic model surrounding the Social Security Administration should also be based on the following:
Using security measures and data checks to make sure that the people accessing the Social Security site are who they say they are but it should not be too hard for the average person to access the site.
The site should allow for people that want the self-service option to get the information they need so that they can help themselves. Those that need or prefer personal assistance from a Social Security Administration representative should be guided to the right office, person or department so that they do not get jostled from one person to the next. This could lead to frustration and the person giving up and/or simply not getting the services they need. Given that the people involved that are seeking…
However, the inability to escape it once it is present and its relation to real disorders that are SSD-eligible such as major depression and anxiety make it very much a gray area.
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