Lawmakers say outdated computer systems led to delays in people getting coronavirus relief aid

Lawmakers say outdated computer systems led to delays in people getting coronavirus relief aid
FILE - In this April 23, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump's name is seen on a stimulus check issued by the IRS to help combat the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, in San Antonio. There were just a few hundred coronavirus cases when Congress first started focusing on emergency spending in early March. By the end of that month, as Congress passed the massive $2.2 trillion Cares Act, cases skyrocketed above 100,000 and deaths climbed past 2,000. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) (Eric Gay)

WASHINGTON D.C. — Lawmakers on Capitol Hill Monday looked into how the coronavirus pandemic exposed outdated computer systems at federal agencies that have delayed people getting relief aid and critical services.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

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“Outdated and inefficient systems put American lives as well as livelihoods at risk,” said Rep.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

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 New America.

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