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Ways and Means Members Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Americans from Identity Theft

March 15, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A group of bipartisan Ways and Means Committee Members today introduced two pieces of legislation to help prevent identity theft by better protecting Social Security numbers (SSNs).

The Social Security MAIL Act (H.R. 1513), introduced by Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX), Subcommittee Ranking Member John Larson (D-CT), and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH), prevents the Social Security Administration (SSA) from mailing documents containing a full SSN unless it is necessary. In addition, the SSA must justify when it is necessary to include SSNs in a mailed document.

As Chairman Johnson, Ranking Member Larson, and Rep. Renacci said upon introducing the bill:

“Social Security makes a point of telling Americans how important it is to protect their Social Security numbers,” said Chairman Johnson. “Time and time again, people are warned about identity theft and the need to safeguard their Social Security cards or other documents. Our bill helps ensure that Social Security does its part to prevent stolen identities, just like we expect from individuals. Specifically, our bill prohibits Social Security from including a full SSN in the mail unless it’s absolutely necessary. This is a commonsense solution to a problem that simply shouldn’t exist.” 

“I am pleased to join with my friend Sam Johnson, the chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, in introducing this legislation to combat identity theft. Everyone must do their part to reduce the exposure of Social Security numbers, and I applaud the Social Security Administration for already being so proactive on this front,” said Ranking Member Larson. 

“I am concerned with the Social Security Administration unnecessarily placing full SSNs on millions of documents that are sent out each year. Since I was a personal victim of identity theft, I am pleased to join Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member Larson in reintroducing this commonsense bipartisan proposal to reduce the risk of Americans having their identity stolen by removing unnecessary SSNs from mailed documents,” said Rep. Renacci.

The Social Security Child Protection Act (H.R. 1512), introduced by Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), requires the SSA to issue a new SSN to children under 14 who have had their Social Security card stolen after it was mailed by the SSA.

Upon introducing the bill, Rep. Marchant and Rep. Doggett said:

“Child identity theft is a serious problem in our nation and current policy does not do enough to protect our children and grandchildren,” said Rep. Marchant. “A child’s identity is valuable to criminals because these crimes often go undiscovered until a child is old enough to work, drive, or establish credit. There can be serious consequences if a child’s Social Security number is stolen or falls into the wrong hands. The Social Security Child Protection Act is a proactive solution to this problem. That is exactly what’s needed to protect our children and bring relief to families whose lives have been upended by child identity theft.” 

“Protecting our children now from identity theft can prevent future financial heartache,” said Rep. Doggett. “This legislation takes an important step by working with the Social Security Administration to ensure our most vulnerable neighbors are kept safe from potential financial hardships.”