Number:  113-15
Date:  December 27, 2013

President Signs H. J. Res. 59,
the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014

On December 26, 2013, the President signed H. J. Res. 59, the “Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014.” The House amended and passed the resolution on December 12, 2013 by a vote of 332-94.  The Senate agreed to the amendment by a vote of 64-36 on December 18, 2013.  The bill sets overall discretionary spending limits for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 and provides $63 billion in sequester relief. The enacted bill has been designated Public Law 113-67.

Following are provisions of interest to SSA:

Section 203 - Restriction on Access to the Death Master File (DMF)

  • Prevents the Secretary of Commerce from disclosing any information contained in the publicly available DMF (i.e., the non-State death data) for 3 years after the death of an individual to any person, unless that person is certified under the program described below.
  • Requires the Secretary of Commerce to establish a certification program, under which Commerce may immediately release a deceased individual’s information.  Under this program, the person requesting the information must have a legitimate need for the information to prevent fraud or a legitimate business purpose pursuant to a law, governmental rule, regulation, or fiduciary duty, and must be able to adequately safeguard the information.  Allows the Secretary of Commerce to charge fees sufficient to cover the costs of the certification, auditing, inspection and monitoring of these entities and must report, on an annual basis, on the total fees collected and cost of administering the certification program.
  • Imposes penalties for persons that disclose or use the information for any purpose not listed above.
  • Defines the DMF as the name, Social Security account number, date of birth, and date of death maintained by the Commissioner of Social Security, other than information provided under section 205(r) of the Social Security Act (i.e., State information).
  • Provides that no Federal agency may be compelled to disclose death information to a non-certified person during the 3-year delay, and exempts this death data from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) disclosures.
  • Becomes effective 90 days after the date of enactment, except that the FOIA exemption is effective upon enactment.

Section 204 - Identification of Inmates Requesting or Receiving Improper Payments

  • Requires the Commissioner of Social Security to enter into agreements with interested Federal, State and local prison institutions.  Requires the institution to provide the following additional prisoner data:
    • the first, middle and last names;
    • taxpayer identification numbers (TIN);
    • prisoner assigned inmate numbers;
    • last known addresses;
    • dates of release or anticipated dates of release; and,
    • dates of work release.
  • Expands the entities with which the Commissioner must enter into a reimbursable agreement to disclose prisoner data to include Federal and State agencies for the purpose of statistical and research activities and the Secretary of the Treasury for the purpose of tax administration, debt collection, and identifying, preventing and recovering improper payments under federally funded programs.
  • Authorizes the Commissioner to release prisoner information to certain employees of the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) for purposes of the Do Not Pay Initiative, and allows Treasury to compare and redisclose such prisoner information with the records of other Federal entities (contractors, grantees benefit paying agencies) based on the determination that an improper payment may have been made or facilitated. 
  • Amends the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012 (IPERIA) to add SSA’s prisoner data to the list of sources that agencies must check prior to making an award or issuing a payment.

Section 401 - Increase in Contributions to Federal Employees Retirement System for New Employees

  • Increases contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System for new employees hired after 12/31/13 by 1.3 percentage points.

Section 403 - Annual Adjustment of Retired Pay and Retainer Pay Amounts for Retired Members of the Armed Forces Under Age 62

  • Provides for a reduced annual adjustment of retired pay and retainer pay amounts for retired members of the Armed Forces under age 62.

Section 702 - Limitation on Allowable Government Contractor Compensation Costs

  • Limits how much a contractor could charge for an employee’s compensation to $487,000, adjusted annually to the Employment Cost Index.

Section 706 - Self Plus One Coverage

  • Allows OPM to offer a self-plus-one coverage option in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program.