Dec 13, 2021 - Technology

Biden signs order aimed at upgrading online government services

Illustration of the White House with a WiFi symbol above the building.

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

President Biden signed an executive order on Monday calling for agencies within the government to improve their websites to deliver a better customer experience.

Why it matters: Navigating government websites or services can be a fraught and frustrating process for people, especially in moments of need.

Driving the news: The executive order, details of which were released ahead of the signing, identifies 36 customer improvement commitments to be made across 17 federal agencies, with a focus on key milestones for government interaction, such as turning 65 years old or having a child. The changes include:

  • Giving tax filers the option to schedule a call-back from IRS customer support.
  • Allowing Americans to renew passports online.
  • Allowing retirees to claim benefits online.

What they're saying: "We looked at the points of greatest friction for people with their government — filing taxes, applying for Social Security benefits, waiting in TSA lines, and focused on ways to reduce that friction," Neera Tanden, senior advisor to the president, said in a call with reporters.

What's next: The White House expects the agencies to make the changes in the coming months, with all of them implemented within one year, Jason Miller, deputy director for management at OMB said.

  • Miller said the upgrades were designed with agencies' capabilities in mind, but the U.S. Digital Service, the government's tech specialist task force, will also play a role.
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