Social benefits are crucial government services, especially during downturns, helping families navigate uncertainty and survive.

Today, citizens interact with government services online, from applying for benefits to making appointments. This was particularly beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing services to remain accessible while maintaining social distance. However, going digital also introduced new risks, such as security breaches, fraud and malicious activities, exacerbated by advances in data and AI technologies.

In recognition of these challenges, we recently sat down with Carahsoft to discuss how government institutions can adapt to rapidly changing technology. Here are three takeaways from the webinar:

1. Closing the identity resolution gap with AI

The COVID-19 pandemic increased the number of databases local governments use to cross-check citizen information. The differences in technology created significant confusion, as databases contained information formatted differently, such as birth dates and identification numbers.

According to Carl Hammersburg, Senior Manager of Government and Health Care Risk and Fraud at SAS, the best way to close the identity resolution gap is through AI. AI can help decipher individual data across many different databases to see if the entry is the same person in question, making benefits available faster and reducing delays.

Hammersburg cited a case study with Dataprev, a Brazilian-based government organization dedicated to processing social benefits. They used SAS® Payment Integrity for Social Benefits to improve identity resolution, prevent waste and avoid fraud by organizing data across 22 different agencies, consisting of 673 million records, tracking 118 million citizens. In total, they saved $9 billion while distributing benefits to citizens who needed them most.

2. Pay attention to governance

Unfortunately, technology is not something an organization can set and forget. Regular evaluation through governance is necessary to ensure security, including tracking fraud.

Hammersburg emphasized placing the necessary controls, from detecting anomalies to creating best practices that prevent fraudsters from overwhelming the system. Having the systems in place, alongside the technology, is what brings peace of mind when serving constituents.

3. Use GenAI to find creative solutions

Finally, communicating with a local government can be an arduous process, whether getting a new driver’s license, renewing a passport or checking in on a case. One way to provide the right services creatively is using GenAI to streamline operations and answer common questions. Governments can deploy their vast library of resources into a large language model (LLM) for use, allowing representatives to focus on more complex and custom issues instead.

Governments are already deploying GenAI to help their citizens. The Ville de Laval in Quebec used GenAI for their 311 services to automate 20,000 calls. At the same time, the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet cut the number of steps for managing correspondence by 90%.

Social benefits programs remain an integral part of government services, and emerging technology can ensure that citizens get the support they need without delay. Microsoft and SAS understand this challenge and have partnered to help governments. Learn more in the links below:


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