On March 27, 2020, the President signed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, into law. Earlier in the day, the House passed the legislation by voice vote. The bill previously passed the Senate on March 25, by a vote of 96-0. The new law includes numerous provisions that provide relief to people and businesses affected by the novel coronavirus, including expanding unemployment benefits, creating a small business loan program, providing funding to hospitals, and issuing special recovery tax rebates to most individuals. See Legislative Bulletin 116 -16 for provisions of interest to SSA.
On March 2, 2020, the President signed S.375, the Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019, which became Public Law 116-117. The House previously passed the bill on February 5, 2020 The Senate passed the bill on July 16, 2019. This law changes government-wide improper payment reporting requirements by repealing and replacing the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 (IPIA), the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010 (IPERA), the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2012 (IPERIA), and the Fraud Reduction and Data Analytics Act of 2015 (FRDAA).See Legislative Bulletin 116-14 for a summary of the provisions of interest to SSA.
On December 30, 2019, the President signed H.R. 150, the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act of , which became Public Law 116-103. The House previously passed the bill on December 16, 2019, on motion to suspend the rules and agree to the Senate version of the bill by voice vote. In general, the law establishes data standard requirements for Federal grant reporting and requires agencies to report audit-related information for Federal awards in an electronic format. Previous Action 12/30/2019
- On December 30, 2019, the President signed S. 151, the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (Pallone-Thune TRACED Act), which became Public Law 116-105. The law, among other things, establishes monetary penalties for robocalls, and requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to mandate telecommunications providers implement call authentication and traceback technology. The FCC is also required to issue rules, policies, or procedures to protect individuals from robocalls and spoofing, including texts, from an unauthenticated number. While the law does not require the Social Security Administration to take any action, the agency may be asked to take part in an interagency workgroup to study and report to Congress on the prevention and prosecution of robocall violations.
- On December 20, 2019, the President signed S.1790, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA), which became Public Law 116-92. The Senate passed the bill on December 17, 2019 in a recorded vote of 86-8. The bill previously passed the House with an amendment on December 11, 2019 by voice vote, 377-48. The law includes several significant personnel provisions – most notably granting 12 weeks of paid parental leave and restricting agencies from requesting criminal history information before extending a conditional offer of employment – as well as a number of changes to general contracting authorities and procedures.
- On December 11, 2019, the House passed H.R. 5038, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019, as amended by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill would, among other things, create a new certified agricultural worker (CAW) status that provides temporary work authorization, requires SSA, as practicable, to assign CAWs Social Security numbers (SSN) through an automated system, and offers CAWs the ability to adjust to lawful permanent resident status. In addition, the bill would make permanent an employment eligibility verification system (i.e., E-Verify), mandate use of the system by agricultural employers, and allow the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist agricultural employees contesting tentative nonconfirmations (TNC). The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
- On December 11, 2019, the House Ways and Means Committee held a mark-up of H.R. 5306, the Know Your Social Security Act of 2019. The bill would require us to automatically mail a Social Security Statement every year to all eligible individuals, except for those who, in response to an SSA inquiry, elect not to receive it in the mail. The bill would be effective with respect to Statements required to be provided after the date of enactment. The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.
- On August 22, 2019, the President signed H.R. 1079, the Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services (CASES) for Constituents Act, which became Public Law 116-50. The bill previously passed the House unanimously on February 11, 2019, and the Senate unanimously without amendment on July 31, 2019. In general, the law requires OMB to issue guidance requiring agencies, including SSA, to accept electronic forms that allow an individual to provide consent to disclose information from or access to their records.
- On July 25, 2019, the Senate passed S. 1275, the Federal Agency Customer Experience (FACE) Act of 2019, as amended by voice vote. The House introduced an identical bill, H.R. 2586, on May 8, 2019 and it awaits further action. The bill, among other things, would require Federal agencies, including SSA, to collect voluntary feedback from the public and certain entities regarding customer experience and service delivery. It also includes provisions related to the Paperwork Reduction Act and employee appraisals.
- On July 17, 2019, the House passed H.R. 736, the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act. The bill would require GPO to establish and maintain an online portal that allows the public to obtain electronic copies of congressionally mandated reports.
- On June 26, 2019, the Ways and Means Committee favorably reported the BETTER Act of 2019 and the HEARTS and Rural Relief Act. These bills would require SSA to provide certain Medicare outreach notices, make Medicare coverage take effect sooner for people who enroll during the GEP or during certain months of their IEP, and exempt certain veterans from having to enroll in Part B in order to be eligible for TRICARE. The bills now await consideration by the House of Representatives.
- On July 1, 2019, the President signed H.R. 3151, the Taxpayer First Act. The Senate passed the bill on June 13, 2019 without amendment by voice vote, and it passed the House on June 10, 2019, by voice vote, under suspension of the rules. The bill, among other things, requires the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to notify individuals of employment-related identity theft, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) as necessary, to request annually such IRS employment-based identity theft information. Additionally, it authorizes IRS to lower the electronic wage reporting threshold. Previous Action 06/19/19. Became Public Law 116-25.
- On April 9, 2019, the House amended and passed, H.R. 1957, the Taxpayers First Act of 2019, by voice vote, under suspension of the rules. The bill, among other things, would require the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to notify individuals of employment-related identity theft, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) as necessary, to request annually such IRS employment-based identity theft information. Additionally, it would authorize IRS to lower the electronic wage reporting threshold. This bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
- January 29, 2020 -- Statement of Andrew Saul, Commissioner, before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, on Social Security Phone Scams.
- April 10, 2019 -- Statement of Stephen C. Goss, Chief Actuary, before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, on the Comprehensive Legislative Proposals to enhance the agency.