Date: March 29, 2018
Senate Passes S. 2155, the
"Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act"
On March 14, 2018, the Senate amended and passed S. 2155, the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act,” by a vote of 67-31. Section 215 would require SSA to accept the electronic consent of an individual who consents to allow a financial institution to verify his or her name, date of birth, and Social Security number using SSA’s Consent Based Social Security Number Verification Service (CBSV). The House is expected to take up the bill shortly in connection with a number of banking bills already under consideration.
The bill includes the following provisions of interest to SSA.
Section 215 – Reducing Identify Fraud
- Would require the Commissioner to ensure that CBSV can:
- compare names, SSNs, and dates of births to confirm their validity;
- accommodate reasonably anticipated volumes of verification requests with commercially reasonable uptime and availability; and,
- sallow entities to submit 1 or more individual electronic requests, as well as multiple electronic requests (such as requests in a batch format), to be answered in no more than 24 hours.
Users and Electronic Consent
- Would allow “permitted entities”—defined as financial institutions or service providers, subsidiaries, affiliates, agents, subcontractors, or assignees of a financial institution—to use the system. (“Financial institution” would have the same meaning given the term in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.)
- Would require the Commissioner, prior to providing any verification, to obtain certifications from permitted entities every 2 years. A certification would assert that the entity meets the definition of “permitted entity” under the bill; remains in compliance with privacy and security requirements in Gramm-Leach-Bliley; and retains evidence to demonstrate compliance for at least 2 years.
- Would require permitted entities to obtain written consent, with either a wet or electronic signature, of individuals subject to verification requests, for use solely in connection with credit transactions and other consumer commerce needs described in the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Auditing and Enforcement
- Would allow the Commissioner to conduct audits and monitoring to ensure proper use of CBSV and deter fraud and abuse. Would also allow the Commissioner to terminate services for permitted entities that prevent or refuse to allow auditing and monitoring.
- Would authorize enforcement under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and would require the Commissioner to provide information regarding violations of the bill or certification process, discovered through auditing, to the appropriate federal agency tasked with enforcement of such violations.
- Would provide that amounts obligated to carry out these provisions be fully recovered from users through advances, reimbursements, user fees, or other recoveries as determined by the Commissioner. Such funds would be deposited as an offsetting collection to SSA’s administrative budget, without fiscal year limitation.
- Would require the Commissioner to establish, and periodically adjust, the amount paid by permitted entities to fully offset the cost of administration of these provisions. Such costs would include any upgrades, maintenance, and direct and indirect administrative costs, and would be paid by reimbursement or in advance, as determined by the Commissioner.
- Would prohibit the Commissioner from beginning development of the verification system until at least 50 percent of program start-up costs are collected.
- Would allow the Commissioner to use IT modernization funds to carry out these provisions.
- Would require the Commissioner to submit an annual report on the amount of indirect costs associated with implementation of these provisions to the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance.
Section 301 - Protecting Consumers’ Credit
Proof of Identification for “Protected Consumers” to obtain a Security Freeze
- Would provide certain individuals the ability to place a free security freeze on their credit report, which restricts a credit bureau from disclosing the contents of such report.
- Would establish that a copy of an SSN card—among other documents—would be sufficient proof of identification for placing such security freeze.