HEARING ADVISORY: Davis Announces Hearing on the Use of Data Matching to Improve Customer Service, Program Integrity, and Taxpayer Savings

March 4, 2011 — Hearing Advisory   

Congressman Geoff Davis (R-KY), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means, today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the use of data matching to improve the administration of government benefit programs.  The hearing will take place on Friday, March 11, 2011, in Room B-318 Rayburn House Office Building, beginning at 10:00 A.M.

In view of the limited time available to hear witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. Witnesses will include public and private sector experts on how data matching is currently used to effectively administer public sector benefits as well as efficiently provide private goods and services.  However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.


Data matching has long been employed in an effort to effectively administer public benefits such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Child Support Enforcement, Unemployment Insurance, and other programs in the Human Resources Subcommittee’s jurisdiction.  For example, the 1996 welfare reform law (P.L. 104-193) created the National Directory of New Hires to improve the effectiveness of child support and related programs through the use of a database of newly hired individuals and their wages, facilitating more immediate and reliable wage garnishment when necessary. Subsequent legislation gave States expanded access to this data to improve the administration of housing (P.L. 108-199), unemployment (P.L. 108-295), and food stamp (P.L. 109-250) benefits, achieving additional program savings and reducing administrative expense and complexity. 

Despite these advances, some public benefit programs continue to rely on program applicants or recipients to accurately report information that could affect their eligibility for and amount of benefits.  Reliance on such self-reports can undermine program integrity, increase program spending, and compromise public confidence in the effective administration of benefits.  By providing access to the latest information on an applicant, data matching can make eligibility determinations more timely and accurate, allowing individuals in need to more quickly access benefits while ensuring that those who do not satisfy eligibility criteria do not receive taxpayer-funded benefits for which they do not qualify.  And by reducing the manual burden on caseworkers, more effective data matching can free caseworkers to spend more time with applicants and beneficiaries whose cases are more complicated. 

Beyond better utilizing data to improve customer service, data matching can help achieve program savings both at the State and Federal levels.  For example, the Public Assistance Reporting Information System (PARIS) project is designed to match State enrollment data for the TANF, food stamps, Medicaid, and child care programs with data from other participating States and from a selected group of Federal databases.  In the State of Colorado, the return on investment for PARIS has been 40 to 1, while New York State annually saves an average of $62 million through its participation in PARIS.  At the Federal level, the Social Security Administration compares Supplemental Security Income and Social Security benefit rolls against a regularly updated list of State and local prisoners; from 1997 to 2009, this system identified over 720,000 incarcerated individuals who should not have been receiving program benefits, resulting in an average savings of $1.2 billion per year.

In announcing the hearing, Chairman Davis stated, “Firms in the private sector have learned to use data to deliver better products and services at lower costs for their customers.  This hearing will review how some public sector programs have also been able to effectively use data to administer benefits.  We will ask public and private sector experts how the use of such systems can be improved and expanded to provide even better services for benefit applicants and recipients and at a lower cost to taxpayers.”


The hearing will focus on the use of data matching to improve public benefit programs under the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction.


Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, https://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.”  Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.”  Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. ATTACH your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Friday, March 25, 2011.  Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.


The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.  As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee.  The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines.  Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below.  Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.

2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased.  All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.

3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears.  A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.

The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities.  If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested).  Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.

Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.


SUBCOMMITTEE: Human Resources    SUBCOMMITTEE: Full Committee