Sunday, March 18, 2012

Senate Finance Committee Subcommittee Hearing on Social Security Death Index (SSDI)

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The Senate Committee on Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, March 20, at 10:00 AM (EDT). The title of the hearing is : "Tax Fraud by Identity Theft, Part 2: Status, Progress, and Potential Solutions." Part of the hearing involves SB 1534, one of the four bills introduced in Congress (reported on this forum in December) which if enacted, would limit access to the SSDI. (The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is the commercial version of the Death Master File (DMF). See this website for information and for watching the hearing live on video streaming: http://tinyurl.com/7gvb8jm
original url:
http://finance.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=8c908260-5056-a032-525c-4f663b8d35f8

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is the subcommittee chairman, main author of SB 1534 (co-sponsor is Senator Richard Durbin D-IL) and will be giving a member statement. To read the bill go to: http://tinyurl.com/75de8o9
original url:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112s1534is/pdf/BILLS-112s1534is.pdf

Once again the genealogical community has not been invited to testify. Those testifying include Chairman Nelson, Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) and representatives from the Internal Revenue Service, Treasury Department, National Taxpayer Advocate, Tampa Police Department, Intuit and National Branded Credit Card Association.

The hearing is a fact-finding hearing, and it is not expected that any action will be taken at this time. Briefly, the bill addresses tax fraud and establishes penalties, and user id numbers for those who file about identity fraud . Section 9 (page 6) restricts access to the Death Master File for the calendar year of the person's death and the calendar year following, disclosure of information on a deceased person listed in the DMF is prohibited unless they are certified. Certification would be done through the Secretary of Commerce and only to those who have a legitimate fraud prevention interest. The Social Security Administration would not be compelled to disclose any person in the DMF that is not certified. (The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is the commercial version of the Death Master File (DMF).

IAJGS is in contact with the Senator Nelson's staff who also are the subcommittee staff, and has offered our assistance and shared the IAJGS statement on SSDI that was submitted in February to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security.

When more information is available it will be posted to this forum.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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