Lawmakers say outdated computer systems led to delays in COVID-19 relief aid

Lawmakers say outdated computer systems led to delays in COVID-19 relief aid

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, lawmakers on Capitol Hill looked into how the coronavirus pandemic exposed outdated computer systems at federal agencies that have delayed people getting relief aid and critical services.

People have had trouble getting their stimulus checks and unemployment benefits throughout the pandemic.

“Outdated and inefficient systems put American lives as well as livelihoods at risk,” said Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Virginia).

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The House Subcommittee on Government Operations said there is a computer system with the Social Security Administration that is 45 years old and one with the Department of Treasury that is 51 years old.

“It’s time for us to look at reform,” said Rep. Jody Hice (R-Georgia). “It’s time for us to look at changes.”

Tech experts outlined ways for the government to work towards modernization.

“There must be a very senior person at each federal agency who has a background in technology, who can bring that experience to bear on policy decisions,” said Hana Schank with Public Interest Technology for New America.

“Modernization is impossible without a highly skilled capable workforce,” said Matthew Cornelius, the executive director of the Alliance for Digital Innovation.

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