The Social Security Administration needs a new National Computer Center. The existing one near Baltimore is more than 30 years old and in perilous shape — so much so that the Social Security Advisory Board said it’s in danger of catastrophic failure, which could delay disability and seniors’ benefits from being paid on time.
Now Congress wants to know why SSA only let them know last fall that the building needs replaced as soon as possible. And that explanation is a simple one, said Mary Glenn-Croft, deputy commissioner for budget, finance and management for SSA.
By 2006, the SSA had converted much of its claims processing from paper to digital, creating a need to buy many more servers to store data, she told the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security Tuesday.
“Servers now come with two plugs, not one as they used to, because of (power source) redundancy. What happened was we realized we were running out of electronic capacity … we’re adding 25 servers a month. By 2012 we’ll run out of the ability to plug servers in.”
A replacement NCC is scheduled for completion by 2016. A supplemental computing center, which could act as a backup should a crisis ensue at the NCC, is scheduled for completion in North Carolina by 2012.