Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (05/09/2016)

Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act

(Sec. 2) This bill amends title II (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Benefits) (OASDI) of the Social Security Act (SSAct) to direct the Social Security Administration (SSA) to pay state or local governments for transcribing and transmitting to the SSA information on death records.

The SSA shall make cooperative arrangements with federal and state agencies for use of SSA information on all deceased individuals by federal or state agencies providing federally funded benefits or administering a federal program for such benefits.

The SSA shall make similar arrangements for the use of such information by federal agencies to:

  • operate the Do Not Pay working system (which uses specified federal agency databases to reduce improper payments or awards);
  • ensure proper payments under a federal program, including federally funded benefits;
  • conduct federal policing agency prevention activities, detection activities, crime investigation, or apprehension of alleged offenders; and
  • carry out tax administration or debt collection duties.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) shall analyze potential alternative sources of death data maintained by non-federal sources.

(Sec. 3) The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012 is amended to require the OMB to:

  • issue guidance to agencies that operate or maintain a database of information relating to beneficiaries, annuity recipients, or other purposes specified in Sec. 3 for which improved data matching with databases relating to an individual's death would be relevant and necessary;
  • develop a plan to assist state and local agencies, Indian Tribes, and tribal organizations to provide death information electronically to the federal government; and
  • submit to Congress a plan to improve state, local, and tribal data matching with the federal government on the death of federally funded benefit recipients.

(Sec. 4) The SSA shall submit a plan to improve the accuracy and completeness of death data (including data on individuals who are neither eligible for nor receiving OASDI or title XVI [Supplemental Security Income] benefits).

The plan shall include:

  • a procedure for identifying, and verifying information about, individuals who are still alive and are older than the oldest known living person;
  • improved policies and procedures for identifying and correcting erroneous records, especially about dead individuals listed as alive and living individuals listed as dead;
  • improved policies and procedures for identifying and correcting errors in Numerical Identification System records;
  • a process for employing statistical analysis of SSA death data to determine an estimate of the number of erroneous records; and
  • recommendations for legislation.
(Sec. 5) The SSA shall report to Congress on: (1) all SSA information systems containing sensitive information; and (2) the measures the SSA is taking to secure and protect these systems.