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December 28, 1998

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I am pleased to announce that on New Year's Day, 2000, and every day that follows, older Americans can rest assured. The millennium bug will not delay our payment of a single Social Security check by even a single day. The Social Security system is now 100 percent compliant with our standards and safeguards for the year 2000. To make absolutely certain, the system has been tested --and validated --by a team of independent experts. The system works. It is secure. So, as a result, older Americans can feel more secure.

President Bill Clinton
December 28, 1998

Today at the White House, President Clinton will announce that the Social Security Administration (SSA) payment systems are ready for the year 2000 and are Y2K compliant. Today's announcement builds on a record the Clinton Administration is forging to ensure that the federal government is ready for the Year 2000.

The Challenge Of Making Computer Systems Y2K Complaint. The Year 2000 problem (Y2K) is a threat to information technology systems worldwide. It stems from the use in many computer systems of a two-digit dating method that assumes 1 and 9 are the first two digits of the year. Without programming changes, the systems will recognize 00 not as the Year 2000 but as the Year 1900, which could cause them either to shut down or to malfunction on January 1, 2000. Many federal government systems play a key role in providing to millions of Americans key services such as veterans benefits, Medicare, student and small business loans, and Social Security. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have challenged every Cabinet official to make fixing the Year 2000 problem in critical Federal systems and ensuring that key services continue without interruption their top management priority. The Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Treasury Department's Financial Management Service (FMS) have responded to the challenge.

Social Security Is Y2K Ok. SSA provides benefits to more than 48 million Americans under the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. As of September 1998, all of SSA's benefits payments systems had been renovated, tested, implemented, and certified as Y2K compliant. In October 1998, FMS, which maintains payment systems that each year make 860 million payments with a dollar value of more than $1 trillion on behalf of SSA, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Internal Revenue Service, and other agencies, began to issue monthly Social Security payments on systems that had been fixed and tested while it awaited independent verification of its testing, test results, and documentation to ensure that these systems were, in fact, Year 2000 compliant. Less than two weeks ago, the independent contractor informed FMS that monthly Social Security payment systems are indeed ready for the Year 2000 date change. Now, critical Federal systems supporting the Social Security program at both SSA and FMS are ready for the 21st century and will be able to provide benefits without interruption to the Nation's seniors throughout 1999 and into the Year 2000.

A Record Of Progress On Y2K. While much work remains, the Clinton Administration is leading the effort to prepare critical systems for the century date change:

  • 61 percent of all critical Federal systems are now Y2K compliant, up from 27 percent a year ago;
  • 90 percent of all critical Federal systems requiring repair work have been renovated, or fixed, and are being tested;
  • The Small Business Administration was the first agency have completed Year 2000 work on all of its critical systems, ensuring that loans and other assistance to the Nation's 24 million small businesses will not be interrupted in January 2000;
  • The Federal Aviation Administration has fixed more than 90 percent of its critical systems requiring repair work. Many of these systems are crucial to the Nation's air traffic control system;
  • The number of Department of Education systems deemed Y2K compliant increased by more than one-third compared to the last quarter.

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