Date: December 14, 2015
House Passes S. 614,
the Federal Improper Payments Coordination Act of 2015
On December 7, 2015, the House passed S. 614, the Federal Improper Payments Coordination Act of 2015 by voice vote under suspension of the rules. The bill previously passed the Senate by unanimous consent on July 28, clearing the measure for the President’s signature. Among other things, the bill would provide that Federal agencies shall review, as appropriate, SSA’s death records through the Do Not Pay (DNP) Initiative.1 However, the bill does not amend section 205(r) of the Social Security Act, and thus does not permit the use of SSA’s full file of death information by the DNP system.
S. 614, as amended, includes the following provisions of interest to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Availability of the DNP Initiative to the Judicial and Legislative Branches and the State
- Would permit access to, and use of, the DNP system to the States, any contractor, subcontractor or agent of a State, and the judicial and legislative branches of the United States.
- Would require the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue guidance establishing privacy and other requirements to be incorporated into DNP access agreements with the States and the judicial and legislative branches of the United States.
Distribution of Death Data Furnished To or Maintained By the Commissioner2
- Would amend the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012 (IPERIA) to provide that Federal agencies shall review, as appropriate, (as one of several databases) the “death records maintained by the Commissioner” to verify eligibility of a Federal payment or award.3 (Prior to this amendment, IPERIA had included in the list of databases the “Death Master File,” i.e., the public file without State information.)
Improving the Sharing and Use of Data by Government Agencies to Curb Improper Payments
- Would provide that, not later than 1 year after enactment, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense would establish a procedure for promptly and regularly reporting deaths to each agency for which the Director of OMB determines receiving and using such information would be relevant and timely.
- Would require that, not later than 1 year after enactment, OMB, in consultation with the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, and heads of other relevant Federal, State and local agencies (including Indian tribes and tribal organizations), would issue guidance regarding the implementation of the DNP initiative.
- Such guidance would be issued to the Department of Treasury and each agency (or component of an agency) that operates or maintains a database of information described in section 5(a)(2) of IPERIA. Section 5(a)(2), as amended by this bill (and as mentioned above), would include the “death records maintained by the Commissioner.”
- Would require that the Secretary of the Treasury provide a report to Congress, no later than 180 days after enactment, which shall include a description of data analytics performed as part of the DNP system in order to prevent and recover improper and duplicate payments.
- Unless stated otherwise, would require all provisions to be effective upon enactment.
1The DNP 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.
2The DNP portal currently receives non-State death information. The Social Security Act, specifically section 205(r), limits the extent to which we are authorized to share the full file of death information, which includes State death information. Because of this limitation, we are prohibited from sharing the full file with DNP.
3This provision does not amend section 205(r), and without such an amendment, we continue to be prohibited from sharing the full file of death information with DNP. A related bill, S. 1073, reported out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on July 29, 2015, would amend section 205(r) of the Social Security Act to authorize the use of SSA’s full file of death information by the agency operating the DNP system.