The US Welfare system, which face it is fairly ephemeral, is about to slow down to a stop because its computer system is about to go into overload.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is desperate to move to a new data centre, but the existing software is proving too difficult to update. A recent report by the agency's inspector general Patrick O'Carroll said that the department is grappling with a host of IT infrastructure projects and it is getting beaten to a pulp.
The department needs to replace the SSA's National Computer Center (NCC) which was built in 1979 in the next few years. So far it has been given $500 million so far to replace the outdated centre, But it is being seen as too little, to late and it is believed that it will break down by 2012. However, new centre will not be ready until 2015
Part of the problem is that the majority of the code that the department relies on is penned in COBOL. Replacing them has been deemed "too risky", so the SSA must figure out a way to restructure them to modernise the applications.