Congress is Plugging the Wrong Hole

Section 203 of the budget bill passed by Congress restricts access to a Social Security Administration database known as the Death Master File. The misguided passage of this restriction will carry negative side effects and fail to achieve its purpose. Section 203 embargos the release of the DMF for three years. To be sure, early access to the DMF is provided to individuals having "a legitimate fraud prevention interest" or "a legitimate business purpose," but such individuals would need to run the gauntlet to achieve clearance under a not-yet-established Department of Commerce certification program. This would be unduly burdensome for, say, an estate executor who, on a one-time basis, needs to ascertain the heirs of a decedent. The passage of this provision has been sold to the Congress as a miracle cure for a multi-billion dollar fraud scheme which collectively inflicts untold economic and psychological harm upon the victims: Tax fraud through identity theft. For many years,...(Read Full Article)

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