Open Government Initiative
Transparency | Participation | Collaboration

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current policies or procedures.

Social Security Administration (SSA)
2010 Open Government Plan Implementation Progress

Open Government Plan 2.0 Implementation Progress Now Available

We've posted our Open Government Plan 2.0 update, which reflects our continuing commitment to the principles of openness and accountability. This refreshed plan includes additional input we received from Open Government stakeholders, the public and our employees; summarizes the progress we have made in implementing Open Government principles at our agency; and outlines additional commitments we expect to meet in the future.

Follow our progress

On April 7, 2010, we published our first Open Government Plan. We published a revision on June 24, 2010, following additional review and feedback. We made several commitments in our plan, and will share our progress with you regularly. Below is our report on milestones.

Goal I: Increase Transparency
Milestone Projected Completion Date Status
Develop Data Quality Framework Plan for Federal spending information 04/2010
  • Completed: data quality framework plan sent to the Office of Management and Budget and posted on
  • We prepared this plan as required in a memorandum the OMB Deputy Director for Management issued on February 8, 2010 -- Framework for the Quality of Federal Spending Information. This memorandum outlines a data quality framework for Federal spending information for agencies to follow, and requires agencies to submit a data quality plan for Federal spending information.
Reach out to key stakeholders to inform them of available information 04/2010 + ongoing
  • Comprehensive outreach underway: targeted meetings with advocate groups, presentations and exhibits at conferences, online networking.
  • Advocate meeting held in October 2011 after the release of new datasets at which we explained new data and sought input for future releases.
Enhance our Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) webpage 04/2010 initially and ongoing thereafter
  • Completed-posted FOIA homepage
  • Completed-posted new Open Government link from FOIA homepage
  • We are currently developing an enhanced FOIA webpage.
  • We plan to continue closely monitoring FOIA requests and other technology initiatives in 2012 through 2014.
Deliver mandatory and entitlement payment data for 2007–2009 in the new FAADS Plus data format. 05/2010 Completed: The delivery of the mandatory and entitlement payment data in the new FAADS Plus data format was brought current in May 2010.
Educate employees and the public about Open Government initiatives. 07/2010 + ongoing In progress: We facilitated an Open Government Employee Awareness Day to educate our employees about Open Government initiatives in July 2010. In addition, we hold frequent meetings (internally and externally) to further educate individuals about our Open Government goals.
Conduct an inventory of high value information and datasets 9/30/2010 Completed: Ongoing effort began in 2009. Target date for completion was September 30, 2010. We completed and posted "Data Inventory and Plan for Releasing High-Value Data on that date.
Migrate to a new grants management system, which includes Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) reporting capabilities and, thereby, report via the Data Submission and Validation Tool (DSVT), which is the required delivery process. 10/31/2010 Completed. We migrated to a new grants management system (GrantSolutions) in October 2010 and completed the migration in March 2011; it includes FFATA reporting capabilities submitted via the DSVT.
Evaluate the requirements to migrate from the quarterly Federal Assistance Award Data System (FAADS) reporting to Census to monthly reporting in the FAADS Plus format per the requirements of M-09-19. The due date had been changed from 9/30/10 to 12/31/10. 5/2011 Completed. We completed the FAADS Plus project with the first monthly report produced in May 2011 displaying April 2011’s program activity as required by the Federal Funding Accountability Transparency Act (FFATA).
Post at least five new high value datasets/information holdings to in 2010 12/31/2010
Review publicly available information to assure appropriate format 12/31/2010 Completed on December 21, 2010. As part of Social Security’s annual certification and review, we verified that our publicly available information is in the appropriate format.
Release new datasets for 2011
  1. Update data
  2. Inform key audiences of the available information via electronic messages
09/30/2011 We have released several new datasets during FY 2011. There are currently 35 datasets available.
Produce new statistical datasets to enable users to generate their own custom statistical information 09/30/2011 In progress: Delayed, new projected completion date is CY 2012
Meet and consult with research firms and academia to benchmark best practices and to understand research needs. 12/31/2011

In 2010 we met with:

  1. Retirement Research Consortium, August, 2010
  2. Financial Literacy Consortium, November, 2010

In 2011, we used research firm meetings to meet with peers (e.g., military, private, not-for-profit) to continue our benchmarking of best practices, while fostering the use of Social Security data and information at those same meetings. We met with academia to understand research needs and learn about their impressions of Open Government implementation.

Evaluate satisfaction levels and use (of published info)   Completed. We continue to use Webtrends, and began using Google Analytics in November 2011.
Monitor outcomes related to new applications and uses   Completed. We are using Webtrends and began using Google Analytics in November 2011. We use the ACSI surveys to measure eService customer satisfaction.
Name focal point for agency OG sharing, share materials, and collaborate extensively with public and private partners   Completed. Lead executive for Open Government was named and contact information can be found at the Open Government Homepage.
Implement enhancements to IT Dashboard   Completed. SSA is in full compliance with requirements.
Field Office Waiting Time Datasets   Not completed. The agency is pursuing other high-value data for release at this time.
Goal II: Expand Participation and Collaboration
Milestone Projected Completion Date Status
Continue portal and idea sharing opportunities for employees 04/2010 + ongoing
  • In progress: Employee and Public dialogue about original Open Government Plan April 7, 2010 through May 19, 2010.
  • We also hosted an employee dialogue soliciting potential content for the next Agency Strategic Plan from December 6-17, 2010.
  • Most recently, we hosted another employee and public dialogue about our refreshed Open Government Plan, March 8, 2012 through April 5, 2012. We will explore future opportunities for the idea sharing for employees.
Inform public and employees about ideas received and adopted 04/2010 + ongoing

Completed: posted first idea report on April 29, 2010 and we update this report on an ongoing basis.

We have also highlighted difficult-to-find information under our Requested Info section.

  • Requested Info
Provide information about other means to provide feedback 04/2010 Completed: We created an Open Government email at, an account dedicated to providing employees and the public another means to provide feedback.
Post information about Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) groups online 05/2010

Completed: Posted new links to FACA groups

Make decision on posting list of national public meetings held by agency 06/2010

Completed August 31, 2010. We posted on our Open Government web portal a list of certain national public events held by Social Security.

On April 5, 2012, we revised this page to reflect information about various opportunities for public participation.

Make decision on hosting Open Government education webcasts for colleges and universities 06/2010 Completed: We hosted a webcast for a college or university on March 10, 2011. We will apply lessons from that experience towards planning for future webcasts.
Investigate the use of innovative tools for the public to provide input into the agency decision–making processes 07/2010 + ongoing Completed: We researched and determined additional tools for use in future public engagements and are working on implementing them.
Create internal hosting capacity based on Drupal platform and share experience with Federal community 7/2010 + ongoing In progress: Several components are currently hosting both internal and external sites using the Drupal platform. In addition, the Office of Open Government is creating a prototype development server that will initially run Drupal and Wordpress but will also serve as a method to test other open-source applications for internal hosting. We ultimately will use this server as a “sandbox” for other components to internally host open source content management and other collaboration tools.
Post list of national public meetings held by agency 08/31/2010 + ongoing

Completed: We posted a list of national public meetings held by Social Security in August 2010. We have continued to update our calendar as appropriate.

On April 5, 2012, we revised this page to reflect information about various opportunities for public participation.

Explore competitions and offer prizes to the public for creating beneficial tools and applications using our public datasets 09/30/2010 + ongoing Completed: We launched our first-ever YouTube video contest, “How Social Security Has Made a Difference In My Life” in September 2010. We plan to hold future challenges.
Use social media tools to capture public input and feedback during development of the Agency Strategic Plan(ASP) in FY 2011 Spring 2011 Completed. Hosted Idea Scale engagement to collect public input and feedback for the development of the Agency Strategic Plan (ASP) from December 6-17, 2010.
Host Open Government education webcasts for colleges and universities 12/31/2010 + ongoing Completed. Hosted webinar for college students and young workers on March 10, 2011. At least 66 colleges/universities participated. We posted the recorded webinar video on open government portal and YouTube to allow for continued viewing.
Increase use of webinars 12/31/2011 Completed: We have hosted over 25 webinars, including such topics as retirement planning, applying online for disability benefits, online business services, benefits for young workers, and online services available in Spanish.
Work with other agencies to jointly release data, when appropriate   Completed (and ongoing). For example, we work with DHHS/CMS to release data about Low Income Subsidy for Medicare Part D.
Develop social media policies   Ongoing. Policy is pending approval. Working groups have moved ahead in a collegial way to launch some “use cases” for social media in the agency. The draft policy language helped identify issues and pitfalls for undertaking these first uses by various offices.
Hold town hall meetings - input for policy development   Completed. For example, we solicit input for new online services prior to final design and for development of Compassionate Allowances conditions.
Link OG to achieving agency results; monitor and measure   Completed. OG participation and collaboration efforts are cheaper and more effective while producing better results for policy and software development.
Launch new platforms using cloud environment   Underway. In an effort to foster collaboration, avoid duplication, and retain organizational knowledge, we are initiating a partnership with NTIS to provide an integrated cloud based collaboration platform for select SSA knowledge workers as part of our Shared Service strategy. We expect to have the collaboration platform operational by December 2012.
Explore competitions regarding development of tools based on our data   Not completed. The agency decided not to pursue this item.
Goal III: Implement Open Government Flagship Initiatives
Milestone Projected Completion Date Status
Initiative 1: Implement Spanish Retirement Estimator
  • Create architecture for Spanish Retirement Estimator – 06/30/2010
  • Develop and test Spanish Retirement Estimator – 09/30/2010
  • Implement Spanish Retirement Estimator – 12/31/2010

Completed ahead of schedule: posted on December 13, 2010.

Spanish Retirement Estimator

Initiative 2: Implement Online Service Enhancement
  • Conduct planning, analysis and group testing – 03/31/2010
  • Develop Online Service Enhancement mechanism – 06/30/2010
  • Test and integrate Online Service Enhancement mechanism – 09/30/2010
  • Train our employees and deploying Online Service Enhancement mechanism – 12/31/2010
  • Use surveys and web analytics to evaluate Online Service Enhancement – 12/31/2010

Completed. On November 15, 2010, we unveiled our newly redesigned SSA Homepage, which helps users more quickly and easily find information and services they need. One of the key features is a service channeling guide linking visitors directly to the pages they most likely want to use.

On November 24, 2010, the Appointment Scheduler (iAppointment) launched. It is an online appointment-scheduling tool that allows a subset of the public to schedule a phone or in-office appointment with a field office to discuss filing for benefits.

Initiative 3: Implement online life expectancy calculator
  • Implement by 12/2010

Completed ahead of schedule: posted on July 9, 2010.

Life Expectancy Calculator

Goal IV: Make Open Government Sustainable
Milestone Projected Completion Date Status
Participate in cross–government workgroups and share best practices 04/2010 + ongoing In progress: We have participated in various cross-government workgroups and serve as a leader in Section 508. We have shared our experiences, including those on Section 508 with other government workgroups. We plan to continue collaborating with these workgroups in 2012 and beyond.
Post Open Government materials on agency Intranet 04/2010 Completed: We established an internal webpage specifically on Open Government for employees. We also posted a link on our intranet site to our Open Government portal on April 7, 2010.
Issue Draft Open Government Plan (containing Communications Plan Summary) and share it with public and employees 04/2010

Completed: We developed the Open Government Plan from input we solicited from the public and our employees on April 7, 2010. Based on additional input we received from the public and our employees, we revised the Open Government Plan June 24, 2010.

Post Open Government Scores on Website As soon as available

Completed on June 25, 2010. We posted the scoring rubric from our initial self-assessment of our Open Government Plan in June 2010.

In addition, an external group has evaluated agencies' implementation of the open government initiative and posted scores on their website. Social Security Administration ranked sixth place among government agencies evaluated.

Announce new employee honor award for open government Summer 2010 + ongoing Completed. We developed an employee honor award for open government.
Align Information Resources Management Plan and Open Government Plan 07/01/2011 In progress.
Incorporate our Open Government plans and activities in Agency Strategic Plan (ASP) 2011 02/2012 Completed. We included activities related to OG principles in the ASP for FYs 2013-2016.
Share Open Government updates with employees and distribute them periodically 12/31/2011 In progress: We have sent out periodic Open Government Updates and will continue to send out regular updates.
Incorporate disclosure review process into agency planning   Completed. Executive Steering Committee provides oversight and ensures integration of Open Government initiatives with agency planning.
Incorporate Open Government principles into appropriate training; monitor and collect feedback   Completed. Education of employees was primary focus of Open Government Employee Awareness Day held in July 2010. Social Security sponsors a National Privacy Day focusing on the Privacy Act requirements. The OG intranet site contains a vast array of information and background about Open Government principles and activities supporting their adoption and use.
OG communication plan - include specific actions to involve employees   Completed. We conduct brown bag lunches, presentations, and broadcast messages.