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Monday, 10 January 2011 13:29

US welfare computer system close to meltdown

Written by Nick Farell

Fixing it would be socialism
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 So far it has been given $500 million so far to replace the outdated centre, But it is being seen as too little, to late and it is believed that it will break down by 2012.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.

Nick Farell

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+34 #1 JAB Creations 2011-01-10 13:35
Yeah, computers...that's the problem with the welfare system.
+1 #2 Peter Ong 2011-01-10 16:55
Topping the said problems with CMMI frameworks, budget constraints, 2015 is a little optimistic to get the software system integration done.
+4 #3 nforce4max 2011-01-10 17:42
2012 the date has been chosen lol. They should have phased in more upgrades to their systems than they have done and now it is already costing them. Never rely on one data center or facility that is this critical.
+2 #4 nECrO 2011-01-10 18:15
While many people would say there is little or no difference between Social Security and Welfare, they ARE different programs and as far as I know don't share systems. I may be wrong however.
-2 #5 hoohoo 2011-01-11 00:55
Can we say: "The existing system was a pork barrel project?"

Yes we can say it.

I have no issue with social support mechanisms, I'm from Canada and we've made it work. But I sure would like to know if Ross Perot's company had the contract to write the USA Welfare systems' code.

But of course when it was written nobody had much heard of the One True Operating System: UNIX.
+3 #6 hoohoo 2011-01-11 04:42
Also (@nforce) that system was designed and written prior to 1976 - our era of commodity hardware and commodity or FOSS operating systems was still 10 or more years in the future. The mid 70's and before was an era of long long term big-tin lock in contracts, with even constraints on who may update or modify the code. You can't expect them to have acted then as we would now. It was a different world.
+2 #7 deadspeedv 2011-01-12 07:46
Failure imitate on 24th December 2012 :D

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