The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC, or the Strategy), through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), selected the states of Pennsylvania and Michigan as pilot projects focused on ways to offer citizens improved methods for accessing a variety of government services.
The Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation provided additional funding for the projects. Administered by the Office of Management and Budget in consultation with the Collaborative Forum of states and other stakeholders, the Partnership Fund enables federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to pilot innovative ideas for improving assistance programs in a controlled environment.
Michigan Department of Human Services
The Michigan Department of Human Services will pilot the use of secure, privacy-enhancing online identity verification and authentication solutions with Bridges, Michigan's integrated eligibility system that supports online enrollment and registration for citizens seeking public assistance. The program will aim to help eliminate barriers citizens face in accessing benefits and services by streamlining the applications process, while also reducing fraud and improper payments. Today in Michigan, all applicants for public assistance and other services must appear in person to have their identity verified—an expensive process for the state and a burdensome one for citizens—which often results in delays to benefits. The pilot project will also evaluate how residents can more securely access their private information using multi-factor authentication solutions in lieu of passwords.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania pilot will offer residents the opportunity to obtain a secure, privacy-enhancing credential to conduct online transactions with a number of participating agencies including the departments of Public Welfare and Health. Citizens will be able to register just once to access a variety of services, eliminating the need to create multiple accounts and to validate their identity multiple times. If successful, these higher security accounts will allow new types of online transactions, increasing convenience while also helping the state reduce fraud.
Research Triangle Institute
The Research Triangle Institute will evaluate the benefits and impacts of identity solutions deployed in the Michigan and Pennsylvania pilots. By advancing the knowledge gained from the pilot projects and disseminating it broadly to policymakers, state agencies, and the public, the evaluation will assist in moving forward the objectives of both the NSTIC and the Partnership Fund.
Read the NIST September 2013 announcement on the state pilot awards