Social Security spent $300M on IT failures

WASHINGTON (AP) – Six years ago, the Social Security Administration embarked on an aggressive plan to replace outdated computer systems overwhelmed by a growing flood of disability claims. Nearly $300 million later, the new system is nowhere near ready, and officials are struggling to salvage a project racked by delays and mismanagement, according to an internal report commissioned by the agency.

In 2008, Social Security said the project was about two to three years from completion. Five years later, it was still two to three years from being done, according to the report by McKinsey and Co., a management consulting firm.

Today, with the project still in the testing phase, the agency can’t say when it will be completed or how much it will cost.

In the meantime, people filing disability claims face long delays at nearly every step of the process – delays that were supposed to be reduced by the new system.

“The program has invested $288 million over six years, delivered limited functionality, and faced schedule delays as well as increasing stakeholder concerns,” the report said.

As a result, agency leaders have decided to “reset” the program in an effort to save it, the report said. Social Security brought in the outside consultants to figure out what went wrong.