Agencies Ease Social Security Benefits Determinations

A newly designed version of the U.S. Social Security Administration's online Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (SSA BEST) application, powered by the U.S. Department of Labor-managed GovBenefits.gov, has been launched to make it easier for individuals to determine their eligibility for 17 different Social Security programs.

GovBenefits.gov is the federal government's official source for information about more than 1,000 benefit programs available through 16 agencies. BEST is SSA's Web-based tool for information about benefits administered by that agency. Previously, the two applications represented separate screening tools that citizens could access to learn about programs in which they might participate. A new customized connection links the content of these sites and eliminates the redundancy of having two distinct portals, DOL says.

"We are excited about this re-launch of SSA BEST and believe it represents a prime example of effective interagency collaboration," said Patrick Pizzella, DOL's assistant secretary for administration and management, and chief information officer. "Our goal now is to leverage this success in developing additional partnerships with agencies that provide benefit information to the public. We believe that customized connections can enhance the value of agency Web sites."

Replacing the former SSA BEST tool with a customized connection means that the agency will realize efficiency and cost savings by not having to maintain content on two sites.

Visitors can access the new screening tool at http://best.ssa.gov.

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