Date: September 19, 2014
Senate Passes S. 1360, the Improper Payments
Agency Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2014 (IPACE)
On September 18, 2014, S. 1360, the Improper Payments Agency Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2014, or IPACE, as amended, passed the Senate by unanimous consent. Among other things, the bill would permit the Social Security Administration (SSA) to share the full file of death information through the Do Not Pay portal1 established by the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012 (IPERIA). The bill now moves to the House for its consideration.
S. 1360, as amended, includes the following provisions of interest to SSA.
Distribution of All Death Data Furnished To or Maintained By the Commissioner2
- Would require the Commissioner, when reimbursing States for death information, to include not only the costs of transmitting the data, but also the costs of ensuring the “completeness, timeliness and accuracy” of the data.
- Would require the Commissioner be reimbursed for the reasonable costs of sharing death information, including the costs of collecting and maintaining the information, by Federal and State agencies. Would also provide that the Commissioner may share this death information only if doing so does not conflict with other duties of the Commissioner.
- Would require the Commissioner to share death information with Federal and State agencies (and those agencies’ Inspectors General), including the agency responsible for administering the Do Not Pay system (currently the Department of Treasury), for purposes of preventing improper payments.
- Would require the Commissioner to share death information with Federal agencies for the following purposes:
- To operate the Do Not Pay system;
- To ensure proper payments under a Federal program or the proper payment of federally funded benefits, including payment certification, payment disbursement, and the prevention, identification and recoupment of improper payments;
- To carry out tax administration or debt collection duties; and,
- To be used by Federal policing agencies whose principle function is preventing, detecting or investigating crime or apprehending offenders.
- Would permit the Commissioner to share death information with the States for their use in the administration of State pension plans, as well as for the purposes listed in the preceding bullet.
- Would permit the Commissioner to share death information with Federal and State agencies for statistical and research activities3
- Would sunset all these provisions 5 years after enactment and reestablish the current law provisions of section 205(r). Congress would have to act in order to extend these provisions.
Reporting on Alternative Sources of Death Data
- Would require the Director of the Office of Management and Budget not later than 4 years after enactment, to report to Congress on potential alternative sources of death data maintained by non-Federal sources for use by Federal agencies and programs.
- This report would include a review of, for example, the extent to which there is efficient accessibility to the information by Federal agencies; the cost, accuracy, completeness, and reliability of such data; and, a comparison of the data to the death information aintained by the Commissioner. The report would also include recommendations as to whether the sun setting of the provisions mentioned above should occur.
Improving the Sharing and Use of Data to Curb Improper Payments
- Would amend IPERIA to require SSA to provide the “death records maintained by the Commissioner” to the Do Not Pay portal. (IPERIA had required SSA to provide only the “Death Master File,” i.e., the public file without State information.)
- Would provide that the Commissioner, and any other head of agency that obtains death and prisoner information directly from the Commissioner, shall be considered to have satisfied the Do Not Pay requirements of IPERIA related to identifying, preventing, or recovering improper payments.
- Would provide that, no later than 1 year after enactment, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Commissioner, would establish a procedure for promptly and regularly reporting deaths to the Commissioner.
- Would require that the Office of Management and Budget:
- Within 6 months of enactment, issue guidance for each agency that operates or maintains a database of information on beneficiaries, annuitants, or others for which improved matching of death information would be relevant and necessary regarding access to death databases;
- Within 1 year of enactment, issue a plan to assist State and local agencies and Indian tribes and tribal organization in providing death records to the Federal governments;
- Not later than 270 days after enactment, submit to Congress a plan to improve how State and local agencies and Indian tribes and tribal organizations that provide benefits under a federally-funded program will improve data matching with the Federal government with respect to the deaths of beneficiaries of those programs; and,- Not later than 1 year after enactment, and for each of the 4 succeeding years, submit to Congress a report on the implementation of the requirements above.
Availability of the Do Not Pay System to the States, and Legislative and Judicial Branches
- Would permit access to, and use of, the Do Not Pay system to the States, any contractor, subcontractor or agent of a State, and the judicial and legislative branches of the United States.
- Would require that the Secretary of the Treasury provide a report to Congress, no later than 180 days after enactment, that includes a description of data analytics performed as part of the Do Not Pay system in order to prevent and recover improper and duplicate payments.
- Unless stated otherwise, all provisions would be effective upon enactment.
1 The Do Not Pay portal provides users a single entry point for multiple data sources online, and allows Federal agencies to check these sources before making payments or awards in order to prevent fraud and improper payments.
3 For purposes of this paragraph, “statistical purposes” means the “description, estimation, or analysis of the characteristics of groups, without identifying the individuals or organizations that comprise such groups; and includes the development, implementation, or maintenance of methods, technical or administrative procedures, or information resources that support those purposes,” as defined in section 502 of the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002.