Date: October 30, 1998



In the closing days of the 105th Congress, several bills of interest were passed. Below are provision descriptions of interest to SSA.

H.R. 4151, Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998

On October 20, 1998, H.R. 4151 was presented to the President for his signature. The bill was passed in the Senate by unanimous consent on October 14 and by voice vote in the House on October 7, 1998. The bill:

  • Provides criminal penalties (to be determined by the U.S. Sentencing Commission) for any person who knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority the means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law or that constitutes a felony under any applicable Stale or local law;
  • Defines "means of identification" to include name, social security number, date of birth, official State or government issued driver 's license or identification number, alien registration number, government passport number, and employer or taxpayer identification number; and
  • Directs the Federal Trade Commission, no later than 1 year after enactment, to establish procedures to receive complaint, provide informational materials to victims, and refer complaints to appropriate entities, which may include credit bureaus or law enforcement agencies.

H.R. 1023, Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund Act of 1998

  • On October 21, 1998, the Senate passed this bill by unanimous consent. The House passed the bill by voice vote on May 19, 1998. Action by the President is pending. The bill prohibits payments made under the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund Act of 1998 from being considered income or resources in determining eligibility for, or the amount of, benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program or medical assistanceunder the Medicaid program.

S. 1733, State Agencies Ensurance That Food Stamp Coupons Are Not Issued To Deceased Individuals Requirement

On October 15, 1998, the House passed S.1733 by a vote of 386-1. The Senate cleared the measure by voice vote on October 14, 1998. Action by the President is pending. The bill:

  • Requires each State agency that administers a food stamp program to enter into a cooperative arrangement with the Commissioner of Social Security to verify whether food stamp recipients are deceased to ensure that benefits are not issued to deceased individuals; and
  • Provides that the Secretary of Agriculture is to report to Congress and to the Secretary of the Treasury on the progress and effectiveness of the cooperative arrangements established.

S. 2206, Human Services Reauthorization Act of 1998

On October 27, 1998, S. 2206 was signed into law by the President. The bill was cleared by unanimous consent in the Senate and by voice vote in the House on October 18, 1998. The bill:

  • Establishes the Individual Development Account (IDA) demonstration under which low-income individuals, including recipients of SSI, may establish dedicated savings accounts that can be used for purchasing a first home. meeting the costs of postsecondary education. capitalizing a business, or addressing certain defined hardship cases. An individual's deposits into the IDA are matched by a sponsoring non-profit organization, or State or local government participating in the demonstration.
  • For purposes of determining eligibility and benefit amounts under Federal or federally assisted programs based on need, including SSI, only the deposits made by the individual and interest accrued on those funds may be considered to be the income, assets, or resources of the individual. The matching funds are excluded.