Social Security Administration FY 2022 Discretionary and IT Budget Request Observations

Published: July 06, 2021

Federal Market AnalysisBudgetInformation TechnologySSA

The Social Security Administration has requested over $14B in discretionary budget for fiscal year 2022, with more than $2.1B for information technology.

After considerable delays, the Biden Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget request at the end of May, including full budget details for the Social Security Administration (SSA). A detailed IT budget for the SSA was also made available on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) IT Dashboard.

FY 2022 Discretionary Budget

The Social Security Administration has requested $14.2B for FY 2022, a $1.3B (+9.7%) increase from the 2021 enacted level.

Funding highlights include:

  • Includes over $5 billion for payroll costs to fund the employees in frontline operations and strengthen critical positions, which include Information Systems Developers, Cybersecurity and Policy.
  • Allots $1.7B in program integrity funding for program integrity reviews and expanding the cooperative disability investigations (CDI) program.
  • Provides $112M for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), $6.5M more than FY 2021.
  • Requests $86M for research activities, equal to the FY 2021 enacted level, fund continued data development and dissemination, modeling efforts, administrative research and retirement and disability policy research.

Information Technology – Total IT and New Development Budgets

The SSA is requesting over $2.1B for IT spending for FY 2022, almost $167M (+8.4%) above the FY 2021 enacted level but $237M (-10%) below the final FY 2020 level.

Within the total $2.1B request the new SSA IT budget provides new development spending, known as Development, Modernization and Enhancement (DME), of $879M, which accounts for roughly 41% of the total FY 2022 IT budget – consistent with the FY 2021 budget and two points higher than in FY 2020. The FY 2022 DME level is $58M (+7%) above FY 2021 but $51M (-5.5%) below the FY 2020 level. (See table below.)

Deducting the DME funding from the total IT budget reveals nearly $1.3B in Operations and Maintenance (O&M) funding for FY 2022, which is an increase of $109M from the FY 2021 O&M enacted level, but $186M below the FY 2020 final O&M level. O&M accounts for nearly 60% of the SSA IT budget in FY 2022, which is about the same proportion as it was in FY 2021.

Noteworthy IT Programs

SSA continues to pursue IT modernization efforts to meet its mission objectives and support larger agency priorities. Below are the top five largest IT budget lines within SSA’s FY 2022 request.

  • Data Center and Cloud Standard Investment – The Data Center and Cloud standard investment provides the IT Infrastructure for SSA's data center facilities. This investment received a $118M increase for FY 2022 to reach $599M, up from $482M in FY 2021. This initiative contains about 20% ($120M) in DME funding.
  • Network Standard Investment – The Network standard investment provides data, voice, services, equipment, access arrangements, cable and wiring to manage network and telecommunications activities. At $382M for FY 2022, Network has $24M in total growth over the FY 2020 level and more than 33% ($128M) is for Development, Modernization and Enhancement (DME) efforts.
  • IT Security & Compliance – This investment captures the costs associated with IT Security resources setting policy, establishing process and means, and measuring compliance and responding to security breaches. The $165M requested for FY 2022 is $9M above the FY 2021 enacted level and is 65% DME funding.
  • End User Standard Investment – The End User standard investment provides IT resources such as workstations, mobile devices, end user software, and helpdesk support which SSA requires to meet its workload demands. The $156M requested for FY 2022 is $11M above the FY 2021 level. DME accounts for 21% of the FY 2022 funding request.
  • IT Management – This budget line covers IT Management, Strategic Planning, Enterprise Architecture, Capital Planning, Project Management Offices, IT Budget/Finance, IT Vendor Management, 508 Compliance, General IT policy/reporting, and IT Governance. At $125M for FY 2021 IT Management sees an increase of $6.68M (+6%) from FY 2021. This investment line is 91% O&M funding with only 9% slated for DME.

Honorable mention goes to the Application Standard Investment initiative that consistently receives about $115M to support the agency's IT operations in their development of enterprise wide software applications. Once we move past the large enterprise-level IT initiatives the majority of IT investments focus on specific systems or capabilities that receive budgets in the $50M range and below. These smaller initiatives focus on maintaining SSA mission applications like claims processing and financial management.

FY 2022 Outlook

SSA’s IT budget request focuses on IT services to maintain and continue modernizing it large IT infrastructure, as well as increase digital and automated services. SSA’s 2020-updated IT Modernization Plan (the fifth and final year of this plan) focuses on replacing older legacy systems and technologies and infrastructure with updated technology that will make service faster, easier and more customer-focused. According to its IT budget submission to OMB, in FY 2022 SSA plans IT acquisitions for 19 programs representing $1.8B (81%) of its total IT budget request.