Everyone will likely need to access a government website at some point in their life. The ability to ask for and receive essential government benefits and services online is convenient. However, to prevent identity theft and protect the personal information of constituents, agencies need a way to ensure that the users requesting access are actually who they say they are.
Government agencies have implemented various methods to identify individuals to grant access to online information and services, which often hinge on matching personally identifiable information (PII) to information held by data brokers and credit bureaus. These methods have secured PII to some extent, but have come at a cost: sometimes, an identity cannot be verified, keeping someone from accessing the information and services they need.
With an estimated 26 million credit-invisible Americans, and countless more whose information is recorded incorrectly, barriers to identity verification have an enormous impact on both affected individuals and the agencies that serve them. Even something as simple as a name change after marriage or a missed number in a birth date can keep someone from accessing healthcare, unemployment benefits, and other critical services.
These were the key insights of the first part of Government Technology Insider’s “No Identity Left Behind” podcast with Wes Turbeville, Senior Vice President of Federal, and Mere Work, Director of SLED Sales at ID.me, who joined us to discuss why security and access in identify verification is so important and what barriers some users currently face.
“…if somebody is unable to verify, it’s often not actually clear to the user why they might have failed,” said Turbeville. “They engage with an organization, but if they fail, they might be rejected from an application, and in some instances there’s no real recourse for the user to take. It’s not like they can follow up and say, ‘Hey, why did I fail? And is there something that I can do to fix it? Or clean up my record?’[…] There often isn’t a lot of transparency to the user about why they weren’t able to complete the process or what they can do about it.” Listen to the full podcast below: