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Earnings Corrections System Redesign

PORTFOLIO: Project 4

The goal of the Earnings Correction project was to modernize the current green screen system and replace it with a web-based application. Social Security Administration Technicians use the Earnings Corrections system to correct number holder earnings including: adding missing earnings, correcting discrepant earnings, removing earnings that don’t belong to the number holder, etc. 


This was an Agile project that included the Product Owner, SSA Team Lead, 2 UX specialists, analysts, developers, testers and a scrum master.

My Role


Lead UX Designer


UX Process


I was assigned another project before design could begin but I lead the initial stages of UX research which included: 

  • Product Discovery

  • User Interviews 

The Problem


The UX team conducted two rounds of interviews with users (SSA Technicians) involved with the internal earnings corrections process in a one-to-one setting to learn details about the current process, pain points, needs, and visions for a redesigned application. 


Goals of user interviews were to:

  • Validate and learn more about the “as is” process 

  • Identify steps in the current process to resolve earnings discrepancies

  • Inform future decisions regarding the new Earnings Correction application


Common pain points, challenges or limitations with the current system that we identified included:

  • No visual appeal (green screen)

  • It's not intuitive (if not used regularly, cheat sheets and user guides must be referred to)

  • Complicated process with multiple steps involved

  • Lots of going back and forth between screens

  • Number holder information must be manually typed in instead of auto-populating from SSA data

  • Updating a number holder’s earnings record is a batch process that runs overnight instead of an immediate update


A few notable quotes from our interviews include:

  • “Earnings is the cornerstone of the agency as a whole. If earnings are adjusted, it could mean the person is entitled to more, or less, money. It’s important to be accurate because it’s someone’s livelihood on the line.” 

  • “The [current] system is antiquated and hard to use. I’d like to see something that when you come in it asks, what do you want to do? Do you want to add earning, change earnings, remove earnings. Start there.”

  • "Multiple places where info is being controlled in order to do things. Would like more of a one-stop shop so no matter who needs to make an adjustment for their particular workload that it’s taking place in one location.”

UX Deliverables


  • User Personas: We were able to utilize one persona, John, from the Earnings Queries project. The team also created a second persona, Julie, using data obtained during user interviews. Earnings Corrections Personas

  • Journey Maps: We also mapped out the Corrections process to visually show the multiple steps and systems that are utilized during the Earnings Corrections process. I then designed journey maps depicting both a happy and unhappy paths to share with the team. Happy and Unhappy Journey Maps

UX Team Recommendations 


The UX team made the final recommendations to the project team and stakeholders following user interviews:

  • Determine the scope and MVP for first release

  • Streamline the new application (one-stop shop with less steps)

  • Intuitively display appropriate screens in the path

  • Propagation of NH’s PI from SSA databases

  • Design and develop a web-based, user-friendly application

  • Update policy and procedure to match new application

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