July 28, 2000
House Ways And Means Committee Subcommittee On Social Security Marks Up H.R. 4857 "The Privacy And Identity Protection Act Of 2000"
On July 20, 2000, the House Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Social Security marked up H.R. 4857, the "The Privacy and Identity Protection Act of 2000," and reported it out of the subcommittee by a unanimous vote. The markup by the full committee will not take place until after the August Congressional Recess. Chairman Shaw did urge the other committees--Judiciary, Labor and Commerce--to complete their work so the bill can move forward. Below are descriptions of the SSA-related provisions in H.R. 4857 as marked up by the Ways and Means Committee, Social Security Subcommittee.
PROVISIONS RELATING TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (SSN)
Section 101: Governmental Use and Treatment of Social Security Numbers:
- Prohibits the sale of the SSN by Federal, State and local governments
- Prohibits public access to SSNs possessed by Federal, State or local governments by prohibiting their display on public documents. "Display to the general public" is defined as the intentional placing of the SSN or a derivative on an internet site or material made available to the general public.
- Requires the General Accounting Office to study the use of the SSN as a personal identification number by Federal, State or local governments and how such use may be minimized.
- Prohibits Federal, State or local governments from using the SSN on checks issued for payment.
- Provides that the Commissioner shall require independent verification of birth records provided in support of non-enumeration-at-birth applications for SSNs.
- Provides that the Commissioner and the Attorney General will submit a report detailing the progress of the SSA and Immigration and Naturalization Service in implementing a process for enumeration at entry for aliens.
- Prohibits the appearance of SSNs on driver's licenses, motor vehicle registrations or identification documents provided by State Departments of Motor Vehicles.
- Prohibits the display of SSNs on an employee or military identification card or tag as a personal identification number.
Section 102: Prohibiting the Sale of the Social Security Number in the Private Sector (Jurisdiction of the Commerce Committee)
- Prohibits the sale or purchase of an SSN by any private person that violates regulations promulgated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Violations of the regulations shall be enforced under the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57a(a)(I)(B)) regarding unfair or deceptive acts or practices.
Section 103: Refusal to do Business Without Receipt of Social Security Number Considered Unfair or Deceptive Act or Practice (Jurisdiction of the Commerce Committee)
- Provides that it shall be an unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act for any person to refuse to do business with an individual because the individual will not provide his or her SSN.
Section 104: New Criminal Penalties for Misuse of the Social Security Numbers
- Provides for criminal penalties of up to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for the sale of SSNs in violation of any other Federal law.
- Provides for criminal penalties to offer, for a fee, to acquire an additional SSN for an individual.
- Provides for criminal penalties for the violation of section 101 of this Act by an officer or employee of any Federal, State or local agency.
SECTION 105: Extension of Civil Monetary Penalty Authority
- Amends section 1129 of the Act to include the: (1) omission of a statement that the individual should have made to SSA, (2) fraudulent application for, or misuse of, an SSN or Social Security card, (3) counterfeiting of a Social Security card, (4) use, disclosure or one who compels the disclosure of, or knowingly sells or purchases the SSN of any person in violation of any federal law, and (5) improper sale of SSNs by an officer or employee of the Federal, State or local government. Provides for civil money penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation.
SECTION 108: LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY FOR THE OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
- Codifies the current MOU between the Department of Justice and the SSA/OIG. Would also allow the SSA/OIG Inspector General to cross-designate State and local law enforcement officers to assist SSA/OIG Special Agents in investigations as needed.
TITLE II - PROVISION RELATING TO REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES
SECTION 201: AUTHORITY TO REISSUE BENEFITS MISUSED BY ORGANIZATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES
- Deletes the requirement that there be a finding of negligent failure to investigate/monitor the representative payee and requires the Commissioner to re-issue title II and title XVI benefit payments whenever an individual payee representing 15 or more beneficiaries, or an organizational payee, is found to have misused a beneficiary's funds.
SECTION 202: OVERSIGHT OF NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES
- Requires non-governmental organizational representative payees to be bonded and licensed, provided that licensing is available in the State. Proof of bonding and licensing, as well as available independent audits of the non-governmental organizational representative payee must be submitted yearly. Requires the Commissioner to provide for periodic onsite reviews for all nongovernmental organizational representative payees and for individual representative payees representing 15 or more beneficiaries.
SECTION 203: DISQUALIFICATION FROM SERVICE AS REPRESENTATIVE PAYEE UPON CONVICTION OF OFFENSES PUNISHABLE BY IMPRISONMENT FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR
- Expands the disqualification to include all individuals who have been convicted of an offense punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year, unless the Commissioner determines that such certification would be appropriate notwithstanding such a conviction.
SECTION 204: FEE FORFEITURE IN CASE OF BENEFIT MISUSE BY REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES.
- Require representative payees to forfeit the fee from the beneficiary's benefits for the months during which the representative payee misused the funds, as determined by the Commissioner or a court of jurisdiction.
SECTION 205: LIABILITY OF REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES FOR MISUSE OF BENEFITS
- Treats as an overpayment to the payee and subjects to current overpayment recovery authorities any misused benefits by a non-governmental representative payee. Any recovered benefits not reissued to the beneficiary pursuant to section 201 of this legislation would be reissued to the beneficiary or their alternate representative payee.
SECTION 206: EXTENSION OF CIVIL MONETARY PENALTY AUTHORITY WITH RESPECT TO REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES
- Expands section 1129 to include the imposition of civil monetary penalties to offenses involving misuse of Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits received by a representative payee on behalf of another individual. Provides for a civil money penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation.