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Created

February 2, 2009

Driving citizen adoption of online services

When government agencies move services online, they sometimes face the challenge of adoption among citizens. Some citizens just prefer in-person or phone channels. But many citizens may not be aware that they can apply for benefits, file taxes or renew licenses online. Some agencies are getting creative with how they communicate availability of services to citizens.

A great example is the US Social Security Administration.

There are 78 million baby boomers who will soon be eligible for retirement benefits. There are plenty of articles warning us of the financial strain the aging American population will put on our Social Security system. But the lesser covered story is the challenge of enrolling millions of Americans for retirement benefits. SSA officials estimate that 10,000 boomers a day will apply for benefits over the next 20 years. Similar to other agencies who have adopted best practices, applicants can enroll in person, by phone or online – with online being the most cost efficient for the SSA. But many retirees eligible for benefits may never have thought to apply online.

Enter Patty Duke.


For our Gen X and Y readers who are not avid watchers of TVLand, Patty Duke starred in a 60’s sitcom called the Patty Duke Show. She is also a baby boomer nearing retirement age. The SSA has produced a series of television public service announcements , starring Patty Duke, encouraging retirees to enroll for benefits online. All clips have made their way onto YouTube and are also showing up on various retirement community websites.

Who thought retirement would go viral?

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