Cerner teams up with Social Security Administration on disability benefits

Cerner announced this week that it had formed a partnership with the U.S. Social Security Administration aimed at speeding up the disability benefits claims process.  

The agreement seeks to make the retrieval of secure, clinical electronic health records more seamless, said the vendor.  

“Cerner is proud to help the federal government better support those in need by getting them the benefits they are entitled to more quickly and efficiently,” said Sam Lambson, vice president of interoperability at Cerner, in a statement.  


Applying for disability benefits from Social Security is notoriously cumbersome, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made the situation more complicated for many would-be recipients.  

As part of its decision-making process, the SSA requests more than 15 million medical records from 500,000 providers every year – what it calls “the most frequent source of delay in the disability determination process.”  

Those records most frequently come in the form of faxed or scanned images.  

Through EHR retrieval partnerships with Cerner and other health IT organizations and systems, SSA says it hopes to make determinations in a more timely fashion, thereby getting funds into the hands of the people who need them more quickly.  

Cerner and SSA say their collaboration to automate data aims to ease administrative burdens, reduce costs and labor and eliminate the mailing of paper records, as well as potentially reducing uncompensated care, automating payments from SSA and improving patient satisfaction.  

Cerner will pilot the solution with three of its clients in the months ahead, says the vendor; it plans to expand the offering to additional clients who elect to participate.   


Representatives say that although Cerner’s interoperability solutions can connect to hundreds of different EHRs, the initial focus of this project is to support SSA’s connections to Cerner clients who choose to leverage the service.  

However, SSA has partnered with more than 200 other partner organizations, including the Regenstrief Institute, Kaiser Permanente, MedVirginia and Cedars-Sinai, as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.  


“SSA’s work with Cerner will help streamline the process and is an important example of how systems that connect to each other can help improve our health and quality of life,” said Cerner’s Lambson.

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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