Chairman Paul Ryan

H.R. 3475 Floor Statement by Chairman Sam Johnson

Johnson Floor Statement: H.R. 3475, the Keeping IDs Safe Act
Friday, November 18, 2011

(Remarks as Prepared)

Since 1980, Social Security has been required to publicly put deceased Americans’ personal information into a so-called Death Master File which was meant to help prevent payment and benefit fraud.  Nearly anyone can get this information – including identity thieves.

Identity theft affects not only swindled businesses and American taxpayers, but grieving families whose suffering is made worse when they learn that someone has been preying on the death of their loved ones.

Criminals are exploiting this information in order to profit off of deceased children by applying for tax refunds.

That’s plain wrong.  

Every year, Social Security puts about 14,000 Americans in this death file who aren’t dead.  Any of us could be put on that list by mistake- a mistake that can result in severe financial hardship and emotional heartache.

Americans deserve better.  So today I am introducing the Keeping IDs Safe Act to stop the sale of the Death Master File immediately.  I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.