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News Release

U.S. Labor Department and Social Security Administration share technology to provide more efficient access to online benefits information to power SSA's screening tool

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

"We are excited about this re-launch of SSA BEST and believe it represents a prime example of effective interagency collaboration," said Patrick Pizzella, the Labor Department'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.

"This was the perfect opportunity to integrate two benefit screening tools, thus reducing the time for citizens to locate and learn about programs that they may be eligible for. This customized connection is a win — win situation," said Jo Armstrong, associate commissioner for the Office of Electronic Services at the U.S. Social Security Administration.

"The launch of the benefit eligibility screening tool for the Social Security Administration demonstrates yet another success in e-government to use common tools to service the needs of multiple agencies and citizens," said Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget's administrator of e-government and information technology.

Visitors can access the new screening tool at — is a Bush Administration e-gov initiative designed to make government more accessible to citizens. The Web site has attracted more than 26 million visitors since it went online in April 2002.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration & Management
April 2, 2008
Release Number