After the initial articles and blog posts, nothing much has been said recently about the removal from public view of the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). With no hearings recently on Capitol Hill recently, one might wonder what they’ve been doing. Not much, unless it’s covert.
Are we losing ground on SSDI? The recent article Judy Russell on The Legal Genealogist gives readers an update on the subject that indicates, no news is not necessarily good news.
We haven’t been overtly attacked recently because we believe actually fighting fraud is a better idea than keeping records from public view—In this case, family historians and genealogists. I also enjoyed the comment, “… because we think that having the IRS actually use the records to check the validity of tax returns before sending out billions of dollars in fraudulent refunds is better than throwing out the public’s right to records access.”
No news is certainly not good news in this case. According to Ms. Russell the signs clearly indicate that our message on SSDI is not registering with the law makers.
In addition to pointing you to The Legal Genealogist so that you can read the entire article, I’m first going to list some important points:
- National Taxpayer Advocate issued its Report to Congress: Fiscal Year 2013 Objectives and proclaimed: “we strongly support legislation to restrict public access to the DMF. However, we believe the SSA has at least a reasonable basis for seeking to limit public access to the DMF. By waiting for legislation that may or may not pass, we unnecessarily expose taxpayers to potential harm. For this reason, in FY 2013 we will continue to encourage the SSA to act on its own to restrict public access to the DMF.1”
- Two weeks ago Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) shot off a letter to the Social Security Administration calling for restrictions on access to the SSDI.2
- Two more bills were introduced in Congress just in the last 10 days to limit access to the SSDI. One, S. 3234, introduced on July 25th, would bar disclosure of SSDI information “with respect to any individual who has died at any time during the calendar year in which the request for disclosure is made or the succeeding 2 calendar years.”4 The other, H.R. 6205, introduced just last week, calls for a ban on public access to the SSDI “with respect to any individual who has died at any time during the previous two calendar years in which the request for disclosure is made or the succeeding calendar year.”5
Please click on The Legal Genealogist for a well-written detailed explanation of what all of this means going forward.