NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Government Checks May Not Be In The Mail

June 16, 1999

Government computers that spew out more than $200 billion worth of federal benefits to individuals and states remain vulnerable to the Y2K bug, according to a House Government Reform subcommittee.

  • The problem involves 41 "high impact" federal-state computer networks -- including a Department of Health and Human Services system that processes $165 billion a year in grants and payments for programs such as Medicare.
  • Also affected could be food stamps, child nutrition assistance, government retirement checks, federal student aid, housing subsidies and a host of other benefits.
  • At the same time, the government's 6,175 mission critical systems are 94 percent compliant -- up from 79 percent in February.
  • The Pentagon -- with 88 percent compliance -- has about 250 of 371 mission-critical systems not yet fixed and is most vulnerable to year-end crashes, according to the subcommittee's report.

The Agency for International Development has the worst record with only 29 percent compliance. The Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control system is not in compliance now and it is not known when the system will be ready.

Among 43 computer networks on the high impact list, only the Social Security Administration payment system and the National Weather Service are fully year-2000 compliant right now.

Source: George Archibald, "2000 Bug May Disrupt $200 Billion in Benefits," Washington Times, June 16, 1999.


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