Designing for Democracy: ExpertNet

Posted: December 10, 2010

The White House Open Government Initiative and the General Services Administration, working closely with the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Performance and Personnel Management, have launched a public consultation (through January 7, 2011) to obtain input on a design concept for a government-wide software tool and process to elicit expert public participation. In addition to making government more open and accountable to the public, this also advances the Administration's objective of strengthening problem-solving networks to improve outcomes and reduce costs, one of three key performance management strategies laid out in the President's FY2011 budget.

The proposed concept is intended to be complementary to two of the ways the Federal government currently obtains expertise to inform decision-making, namely by convening Federal Advisory Committees and announcing public comment opportunities in the Federal Register.

To provide feedback by January 7, 2011, please go to where you will find a draft description of ExpertNet. (ExpertNet is a working title. You'll find a page to suggest a better name.) Also, you can discuss the concept on a discussion forum or edit the document on the editable Wiki.

The Administration wants to hear from you about:

  1. Any refinements or suggestions to improve the process as described;
  2. Any issues (legal, policy, technical) raised by the features described;
  3. Information about any tools that perform the process described;
  4. Pointers to organizations (public or private) that have a similar platform or process in place.

If you prefer not to access the wiki, you can post your comments on the discussion forum or email them to OSTP at


Tuesday Talks: One-Year Anniversary Of The Open Government Directive

Posted: December 6, 2010

On December 8, 2009, the White House issued an unprecedented Open Government Directive requiring federal agencies to take steps to achieve key milestones in transparency, participation, and collaboration. On the one-year anniversary of the Directive, the White House is answering your questions on the Administration's progress and the ideas and practices that are being implemented at the White House and across the agencies in a live video chat on


You're Invited to the Future Systems Technology Advisory Panel Meeting

Posted: December 2, 2010

Commissioner of Social Security Michael J. Astrue established the Future Systems Technology Advisory Panel under the Federal Advisory Committee Act on February 8, 2008. The mission of the Panel is to provide independent advice and recommendations on the future of systems technology and electronic services at the Social Security Administration (SSA) five to ten years into the future. The recommendations of the Panel will provide SSA a roadmap of future systems technologies needed in carrying out its statutory mission. Advice and recommendations will relate to areas of future internet applications, customer service, privacy and other arenas vital to the SSA's ability to serve the American people.

The Future Systems Technology Advisory Panel will have its next meeting on December 13, 2010. This meeting is open to the public.

View the Event Details

View the Event Agenda

Comments Wanted! Self-Evaluation of Efforts to Provide Meaningful Access to the Disabled

Posted: November 18, 2010

Social Security is conducting a self-evaluation of policies and practices supporting section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires federal agencies to provide meaningful access to their programs and activities to qualified persons with disabilities.

Social Security is interested in any ideas and suggestions you have about how to conduct the self-evaluation. In particular, the agency wants to hear ideas and suggestions from persons with disabilities, their family members, and those who work with or advocate for persons with disabilities. The comment period closes on December 6, 2010.

Read the full Federal Register notice

Submit a comment at

Social Security Publishes Report on Fiscal Year 2010 Performance

Posted: November 16, 2010

Performance and Accountability Report CoverOn November 15, 2010, Social Security published its annual Performance and Accountability Report (PAR), which combines the agency's annual performance report with its audited financial statements to provide full disclosure of financial and programmatic operations.  The PAR describes Social Security's programs and organization, and how the agency benefits the public and achieves its mission.

Read the full report

Got Questions? Just Ask!

Posted: November 16, 2010

Innovation Award from RightNowSocial Security's Online Answers helps millions each month find answers to their questions about Social Security's programs. Online Answers' mobile interface is also optimized for the Android, Blackberry 9800 series and higher (i.e., the Torch), iPhone, and the Palm WebOS operating systems.

Last month, RightNow Technologies presented SSA with the 2010 RightNow Customer Innovation Award, during their October's Customer Conference, for being the first federal government customer to go live with a mobile interface to Online Answers.

Visit our Online Answers website

Impact of State Disability Determination Services (DDS) Furloughs

Posted: October 27, 2010

The Social Security Administration has unveiled a new website titled Impact of State Disability Determination Services (DDS) Furloughs. The website incorporates an interactive map and timeline to visually portray the damaging effect that furloughing state DDS employees has on the processing of disability claims and the payment of initial monthly disability payments to states' disabled citizens.

Social Security Publishes "Data Inventory and Plan for Releasing High-Value Data"

Social Security Publishes 'Data Inventory and Plan for Releasing High-Value Data' - Cover Opens PDFPosted: September 30, 2010

The Social Security Administration has published its Data Inventory and Plan for Releasing High-Value Data on the September 30, 2010.  The inventory identifies high-value data holdings and plans for releasing data that will improve public knowledge of our programs and operations.

Click here to review the inventory

Social Security Announces "How Social Security Has Made a Difference in My Life" Video Contest Winner

Updated: September 17, 2010

Congratulations to Erica Solway, Lindsay Trapnell, Laura Hunt, Alex Butterwick, and Kate Schriver, whose video, "Social Security: Real Stories," has won our "How Social Security Has Made a Difference in My Life" video contest!

The deadline to submit videos has now passed. The purpose of the contest was to document stories of how Social Security makes a difference in the lives of Americans. As Social Security turned 75 this year, we encouraged you to help share your story with us and the world.

Thank you to all who participated and enjoy the winning video!

View "Social Security: Real Stories" on YouTube

View the other video contest submissions

Social Security Posts Video Highlights from Open Government Employee Awareness Day

Posted: August 24, 2010

Video Highlights from Open Government Employee Awareness DayOn July 14 2010, the Chief Information Officer hosted an Open Government Employee Awareness Day Event at Social Security's Headquarters in Baltimore, MD. The purpose? To Increase employees' understanding of the principles of open government and how they can become involved in activities to help SSA become more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.

View speaker videos and presentations

Watchdog Group Praises Social Security for "Making Dramatic Improvements" in Open Government Planning

Posted: July 20, 2010

Watchdog Group Praises Social Security for 'Making Dramatic Improvements' in Open Government Planning"Open the Government", an independent open government watchdog group released a new audit of 39 Federal agencies' transparency plans. According to "Open the Government", Social Security moved up in ratings to be included in the 10 highest-scoring agencies.

Click here to read the full article from Federal Computer Week

Agency CIO Discusses Social Security in the Gov 2.0 Age

Posted: July 19, 2010

Social Security in the Gov 2.0 AgeLast week, O’Reilly Radar’s Gov 2.0 reporter, Alex Howard, visited the Social Security Administration headquarters outside of Baltimore to speak about social media and government at our Open Government Employee Awareness Day. Before his presentation, he sat down with Frank Baitman, the agency’s chief information officer, to talk about Gov 2.0, open government and technology.

Click here to view the full interview with video

Social Security Posts Updated Open Government Plan

Updated Open Government Plan Now Posted - Plan Cover opens PDFPosted: June 24, 2010

Today we posted our updated Open Government Plan. Your feedback and comments were very helpful throughout the plan development process.

We have also published:

Agency Gathers Open Government Plan Input Through Online Dialogue

Posted: May 19, 2010

IdeaScale LogoWe want to thank everyone who offered comments about our Open Government Plan. Your feedback has been very helpful to us. Soon, we will publish our final plan on this web page.

This dialogue has ended, but we will launch dialogues on other topics in the near future. Come back and share your ideas!