Social Security Administration FY 2023 Budget Request Highlights

Published: April 26, 2022

Federal Market AnalysisBudgetInformation TechnologySSA

The Social Security Administration has requested over $14B in discretionary budget for fiscal year 2023, with nearly $2.4B for information technology.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request late last month, after considerable delays while the Biden Administration waited for Congress to pass final FY 2022 omnibus appropriations. The new FY 2023 budget request provides spending plans and details for the Social Security Administration (SSA), including their IT portfolio investments posted to OMB’s IT Dashboard.

FY 2023 Discretionary Budget

The Social Security Administration has requested $14.8B for FY 2022, a $1.8B (+14%) increase from the 2021 enacted level. (Due to the nearness of finalized FY 2022 appropriations, investment levels in the FY 2023 budget are compared to 2021 funding, as agencies work to implement funding levels from the FY 2022 omnibus.)

Funding highlights include:

  • Includes $5.5B for payroll costs to fund the employees in frontline operations and $1.6B to fund other payroll costs for important functions including fraud detection and prevention, cybersecurity, systems development and support, finance, policy, communications, and maintenance and oversight of facilities.
  • Allots $1.8B in program integrity funding for program integrity reviews and expanding the cooperative disability investigations (CDI) program, $224M above the FY 2021 enacted level.
  • Provides $117.5M for the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), includes $2 million in no-year IT modernization funding.
  • 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 nearly $2.4B for IT spending for FY 2023, more than $349M (+17.2%) above the FY 2021 enacted level. (If the FY 2022 figures are accurate, the increase for FY 2023 would be $116M (+5.1%.) from the current FY.) SSA’s budget overview notes they are assigning over $1.5B of these top-line IT funds for IT services to maintain and modernize IT infrastructure and increase digital and automated services.

Within the total $2.4B top-line IT request the new SSA IT budget provides new development spending, known as Development, Modernization and Enhancement (DME), of more than $1B. This accounts for roughly 43% of their total FY 2023 IT budget – consistent with the FY 2022 budget and one percentage point higher than in FY 2021. The FY 2023 DME level is $169M (+20%) above FY 2021 (and nearly $43M (4%) more than FY 2022, again if DHS’s figures are accurate.) (See table below.)

Deducting the DME funding from the total IT budget reveals over $1.3B in Operations and Maintenance (O&M) funding for FY 2023, which is an increase of $181M from the FY 2021 O&M level and $73M above the FY 2022 O&M level. O&M funding accounts for just over 57% of the SSA IT budget in FY 2023, which is about one percentage point lower in proportion than 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 six largest IT budget lines that each garner $100M or more within SSA’s FY 2023 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 $220M increase for FY 2023 to reach $677M, up from $457M in FY 2021. This initiative contains 20% ($138M) 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 $374M for FY 2023, Network has $3.2M in total growth over the FY 2021 level and nearly 36% ($134M) 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 $192M requested for FY 2023 is almost $40M above the FY 2021 enacted level and is 68% 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 $186M requested for FY 2023 is $27M above the FY 2021 level. DME accounts for 23% of the FY 2023 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 $131M for FY 2023 IT Management sees an increase of $6.5M (+5%) from FY 2021. This investment line is 96% O&M funding with only 4% slated for DME.
  • Application Standard Investment – This investment builds enterprise wide software to support SSA’s IT operations, including the analysis, design, development, code, test and release services associated with application development projects. It receives $108M for FY 2023, a decrease of $18M (-15%) from FY 2021, and consist of 90% DME funding.

IT Modernization Initiatives

Looking past the above handful of large enterprise-level IT initiatives one will find that the majority of IT investments focus on specific systems or capabilities and receive program budgets in the $60M range and below. These smaller initiatives by comparison focus on maintaining or modernizing SSA mission applications like claims processing and financial management, but some are building greater capabilities in data analytics, electronic citizen services and others.

There is a collection of six programs with “IT Modernization” beginning their program names, followed by the specific areas the program addresses: Benefits, Cross Cutting, Cybersecurity, Disability, Earnings and Enumeration, and Service Delivery. Taken together, these six initiatives account for a combined $222M in FY 2023 budget, every one of which is categorized as 100% DME funding.