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View Diary: Data Grab? Experian now controls web access to Social Security Admin (322 comments)

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  •  No they are saving, and will save (0+ / 0-)

    Experian gets paid on a one time basis to authenticate you. After that you just log in.

    Social Security was spending $70 million or so to print social security statements. SSA is spending a fraction that to get you authenticated. Once you are authenticated you will have the ability in the future to do a lot more things online, which will save SSA money because they won't have to commit manual resources in their field offices, and it will spare millions of people a year a trip tot he office.

    Perhaps you should tell us which company can perform this service for SSA and is not toxic.

    •  the SSA. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, DRo, gooderservice, wonmug

      how about them, could they do it? yes, they could!

      I shave my legs with Occam's razor~

      by triv33 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:36:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  and BTW... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, DRo, gooderservice

      how are they saving any trips to the office if Experian is causing trips to the office with their fuck-ups?

      I shave my legs with Occam's razor~

      by triv33 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:40:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll try this slowly: (0+ / 0-)

        I agree there are too many verification fuckups at this stage, and clearly it will have to get better. The one fuckup that is not happening is that SSA is not giving any access to your social security records to Experian.

        SSA was spending $70 million a year mailing out 160 million or so Social Security Statements every year. About 30 million of the 160 million went into the trash because of bad address (including foreign addresses). That's not a small fuckup.

        Delivering those statements online to at least some people could be a big savings. More  important there are a whole host of services SSA provides in-person (read rather expensively) that they could save money on if they could deliver them on-line. Do you know how many millions of people come into their offices each year to replace a lost Social Security card?

        Experian is involved in getting you online the first time. Their involvment ends after that. So SSA is trading the relatively small cost of that authentication process (even with the second or third tries it is something like 20 cents a person--I can't remember) with the many hundreds of millions they will save every year over the future if they can gets the services online and running.

    •  Providing a profit to Experian is "saving"? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRo, triv33, nchristine, gooderservice

      Frankly - bullshit.

      You keep expecting everyone to just accept your premise the SSA cannot manage this in house.

      The IRS can manage to authenticate me.  At the State level, everyone from the EDD to the DMV can authenticate me on-line.

      But not the SSA?  

      I've been to local offices a few times.  The people seemed reasonably intelligent.

      "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

      by JesseCW on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:56:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your disapproval is blinding you (0+ / 0-)

        This is SSA's assessment, not mine. That's why it took them so long to do this.

        If you read my posts, I have been clear this is in no small part a function of their own standards for security. They know they have lousy address data. They are betting the credit industry has better data. They are not permitted, by law, to get the address information from your W2, even though IRS sends SSA the wage amounts from your W2 every year.  

        Authentication is a one-time cost, which if I am recalling correctly is much less than $1 a person. Let's just say total cost is $100 million. SSA was spending $70 million a year to mail out Social Security Statements. They have costs in the hundreds of millions  every year from traffic to their offices that could be much better done on-line (e.g. replacement SS cards; benefit verifications.)

        It is very possible that Experian makes a profit on one-time authentication, and that SSA saves by substituting online processes for paper and in-person processes over a very long time.

        By the way, the IRS does not authenticate you. It takes your signature, and your W2 as verification. It puts you in jail or takes your money if it can prove your are lying. And they take your money.  A major scandal right now is people using stolen SSNs and other personal info to file false returns that have refunds. IRS is not verifying your identity in those cases before paying a refund.

        DMV verifies you in person. Not on-line. SSA will do that as well.


        •  DMV happily verifies me On-Line. I can get all (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          triv33, Willa Rogers

          my records without going in.

          You're once again claiming that there is no alternative way to verify people without using a private corporation and giving them a profit.

          This is a nakedly pro-privatization argument.  

          "It's very possible that Experian makes a profit"???

          You can't just say "Of course they're taking a profit"?  You have to pretend it's just a possibility?

          The IRS is getting scammed on occasion. It's not perfect.  Neither is a "how many bedrooms is your house" system.

          Anyone closely related to you and knowledgeable about your finances could answer all those questions correctly anyway.

          Lastly, why the fuck is Experian getting a fat helping of our Social Security contributions to fail to verify people?

          You claim you're well informed (somehow) on all the details we peons don't have access too.  Ok.

          What's the false rejection rate?  Since your argument is that this scam is really a good thing that will benefit us all, and that as long as it gets people to use on-line services so that SSA can employ fewer people, isn't it all a waste if most people are being falsely rejected?

          "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

          by JesseCW on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:26:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Didn't DMV previously verify you in person? (0+ / 0-)

            I never claimed there was no alternate way, and I am a skeptic that SSA needs to use an outside service. What I said is that this is what SSA believes. And all that is beside the point that SSA is not giving access to their protected data.

            SSA contracts with plenty of people who do things more efficiently than they do. I don't expect SSA to invent their own phone system. They use ATT or Verizon's or whoever. Likewise, why should they employs hundreds of programmers, re-inventing the data base wheel.

            Lots of things only SSA can do. Private industry aggressively poaches SSA trained disability examiners, for example. Some things SSA should get help doing. I wish they would get some design pros to re-design their website for example.

            I don't disagree with you about the false rejection rate (although we both agree that errs on the side of not compromising your data and can be rectified). If SSA accepts too high a rate then they are wasting resources. That's why they have IG's offices, congressional staff, and other such nosey assholes. Of course the rejection rate before this was 0, and the online access was 0. Your willingness to balance false positives and false negatives has to do with your aversion to risk.

            You are assuming the equation is negative, without much data. Everything I have seen from the agency is they expect it to be a large positive. They are in big big trouble if they can't get online services working for them.

            As for the "fat helping of our Social Security contributions" my understanding is that the cost per person is measured in cents, not dollars. And once you are in, you are done with them.

    •  As I mentioned earlier (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      triv33, nchristine

      I have no problem with providing some Social Security services online.  But considering that fact that not everyone has personal (home) computer access, I do not agree with the policy of stopping the mailings.  

      The 60 million dollars in the AARP (or 70 million which you quote) are a drop in the bucket of the federal budget.  There are many other places they could have looked for savings.

      And because this recommendation came from the Catfood Commission (Bowles-Simpson), I like it even less.  Here's the excerpt and link to The Moment of Truth.

      1.10.5 Reduce federal travel, printing, and vehicle budgets. . . . Additionally, we recommend allowing certain documents to be released in electronic-only form, and capping total  government printing expenditures. . . .
      This is a very vital and necessary for most (not all) folks to have when they consider their retirement options.  The very idea that a vital service like this gets the hatchet, is ridiculous in the first place (IMO).


      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:39:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, they're really not. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nchristine, triv33
      SSA is spending a fraction that to get you authenticated.
      Because Experian is incompetent.  When you don't remember when you first got your credit card because who cares or how many bedrooms you actually have versus what they think you have, you still have to physically visit a SS office -- if you can drive, if you're physically capable of leaving your house, if you have someone to take you.

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