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6 Big Things Government Agency Heads Need To Know About MyUSA

Aug 24 2015

The U.S. General Services Administration will soon unveil MyUSA, a single-sign-on web site for U.S. citizens.

 The site will let end users (think taxpayers, small business owners, Social Security recipients, veterans, and anyone else who depends on government services) access government agency content using a single sign-on page.

What should agency officials know about MyUSA? Here’s the deal:

1. What is it?

Engineered by the U.S. General Services Administration, MyUSA is a single, all-encompassing gateway to all federal government websites. It allows users to log into all federal government agency websites using one password, with the ability to save and re-use data without having to sign in again and again.

“From the perspective of government as a whole, the duplication of effort required to implement the same account features over and over is wasteful,” the MyUSA team explains in their mission statement.

2. When is it scheduled to roll out?

According to a recent GSA blog post, the site may go live by mid-summer 2015.

3. What’s in it for government agencies?

According to Hillary Hartley, one of MyUSA's chief architects, Uncle Sam hopes that all government agencies learn as much as they can about the site and use it to connect with government constituents.

"We're hoping that it helps agencies build these new, effective tools to engage with the public," Hartley says. Government agency officials will be able to track who's accessed their sites, and see what questions they ask and what services they need.

4. What will be different for government agency heads?

With MyUSA, the GSA is turning the government web services model upside down. “Rather than organizing services around the agencies that deliver them, as most Federal websites do today, MyUSA organizes services around people and the specific tasks they need to complete,” the GSA explains in a statement.

5. How is the “one portal” access technology different?

Hartley and her team have re-engineered the government website access model, and will allow end users to use their existing passwords across the board — like Google or Yahoo. With one password, the end user can sign in through the MyUSA portal, navigate through different agencies and, in real time, get questions answered, research grants, loans and other sources of public funding, check government records, and more.

6. How does MyUSA make life easier for both taxpayers and agency managers and staffers?

MyUSA developers created the portal with a few problems (and a few simple solutions) in mind:


  • Historically, people have found it difficult to navigate individual government agency sites, and locate and use the information, tools and services they require.
  • Having to rely on numerous and separate channels, users also have no consistent user experience with online government agencies. Worse, they have no way to manage how government agencies respond to queries, or even know if an agency may respond at all.
  • The old way of accessing government agencies online, using different passwords and different forms for each agency, was “an antiquated and cumbersome process," the GSA reports.


  • MyUSA gives agencies access to the MyUSA Discovery Toolbar, which any government agency can add by contacting the GSA. The toolbar allows portal users to quickly scan government agency sites (via federal, state and local online channels) and get the information and services they need.
  • The MyUSA Account and MyUSA API allows users to log onto any government site, giving them more control, and the API gives agency analysts and managers insight and data on exactly how people are using the site, what services they prefer, and how they’re combining agency sites to build a common “citizen-centric online web experience.”
  • The GSA also offers government agencies MyUSA forms, an online tool that lets agencies create and publish their own forms online, via the MyUSA portal.

No doubt about it, MyUSA is an historic and ambitious online mission — one that's never been attempted before. For both government consumers and agencies, it could be a real game changer.


Brian O’Connell is a writer with 15 years' experience covering the intersection of government, business and technology. A former Wall Street bond trader, he has written for dozens of national publications, including TIME, MSN Money, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, The and CBS Marketwatch.

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