The United States will digitize a multitude of government services and place them in the “digital gateway”

The US government will seek to make basic government services available online after President Joe Biden signed an executive order earlier this week to make them more accessible to citizens.

“Bureaucracies assume people understand how they work, but it’s really a very complicated web for the vast majority of people, whether they have a PhD or a high school diploma,” Biden said.

“And so today, I’m signing an executive order to ensure that the federal government puts you, the American people, on the front lines.”

The executive order includes 36 customer experience improvement commitments across 17 federal agencies, all of which aim to improve the delivery of government services to citizens, according to a fact sheet on the executive order.

“Too often, people have to navigate a tangled web of government websites, offices and phone numbers to access the services they depend on,” the fact sheet says.

These commitments will allow people to access more government services online, such as passport renewal, name change, access to social safety net benefits and access to benefits for retirees.

The order will also aim to make existing digital services more accessible, which will see the creation of a single online repayment portal for student loan repayment, shorter wait times when applying for small business loans , streamlining applications for disaster relief, making it easier to access telehealth and health record services, and new online tools for filing taxes and managing Medicare benefits.

At a press conference, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the delivery time for those pledges would be between six and 12 months.

“It’s a priority for the agencies, so it will depend — it’s going to be — the implementation component will be a little different — right? — depending. And the agencies will have a more direct and specific about how long it will take, but part of that is getting programs or systems up and running online so they can be implemented,” Psaki said.

The US government will also make a centralized “digital federal gateway”, similar to Australia’s myGov online services portal, which it hopes will allow the public to access benefits, services and aforementioned government programs with “just one to three clicks, taps or commands”.

The United States is not alone in wanting to move more government services online, as other governments like Australia strive to make all their services digitally available by 2025.

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Ashley C. Reynolds