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1997-12-01 16:22:44


Social Security Says, No Problem (33m Extra Lines of Code)



In a classic public relations ploy, Social Security Administration has announced that an unexpected doubling of the amount of code the SSA had been working on since 1991 constitutes no major problem. The organization had previously announced 80% completion -- after six years of work by its 400 programmers. Now, it is at most 40% complete. Also, the newly admitted code is under the control of state governments, not Social Security. Still, the SSA will meet the deadline, spokesmen assure the public.

It doesn't matter how many lines of code there are: every organization guarantees compliance on schedule. Social Security is just more brazen about this than most. Double the size of the job in the final year of a seven-year repair project, not counting testing? No problem!

They will be ready for testing in . . . but you already know . . . December, 1998.

This appeared in the periodical, GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVE (Nov. 10).

* * * * * *

The Social Security Administration, poster child for good management of the year 2000 computer systems issue, got a black eye recently when the General Accounting Office reported that some SSA systems are at risk of failing after all. . . .

More than 33 million lines of software code are at work in those state computers. If the states do not get their systems fixed in time, "SSA could face major disruptions in its ability to process initial disability claims for millions of individuals throughout the county," GAO said in its report, "Social Security Administration: Significant Progress Made in Year 2000 Efforts, But Key Risks Remain."

SSA did not dispute GAO's findings but said the situation is under control. SSA's response said it was confident that the state DDS systems would be fixed by December 1998. That would give the agency and the states a year to test the repairs.


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