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115th Congress   }                                   {   Rept. 115-150
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session     }                                   {          Part 1

======================================================================



 
              SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD PREVENTION ACT OF 2017

                                _______
                                

  May 23, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Chaffetz, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 624]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 624) to restrict the inclusion of 
social security account numbers on documents sent by mail by 
the Federal Government, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment 
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................     2
Section-by-Section...............................................     3
Explanation of Amendments........................................     4
Committee Consideration..........................................     4
Roll Call Votes..................................................     4
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     4
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     4
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     4
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     5
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     5
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     5
Unfunded Mandate Statement.......................................     5
Earmark Identification...........................................     5
Committee Estimate...............................................     5
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...     5

    The amendment is as follows:
    Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Social Security Fraud Prevention Act 
of 2017''.

SEC. 2. RESTRICTIONS OF SSNS ON DOCUMENTS SENT BY MAIL.

  (a) In General.--No department or agency of the Federal Government 
may include the social security account number of any individual on any 
document sent by mail unless the head of such department or agency 
determines that the inclusion of such social security number on such 
document is necessary.
  (b) Regulations.--Not later than 5 years after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the head of each department and agency of the 
Federal Government shall issue regulations specifying the circumstances 
under which inclusion of a social security account number on a document 
sent by mail is necessary. Such regulations shall include--
          (1) instructions for the partial redaction of social security 
        account numbers whenever feasible; and
          (2) a requirement that social security account numbers not be 
        visible on the outside of any package sent by mail.
  (c) Effective Date.--This Act shall apply with respect to documents 
sent by mail on or after the date that is 5 years after the date of the 
enactment of this Act.

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 624, the Social Security Fraud Prevention Act of 2017, 
as amended, prohibits federal agencies from including an 
individual's Social Security number (SSN) on any document sent 
through the mail unless the head of the agency determines 
including an SSN is necessary and the agency takes precautions 
outlined in the bill to protect the SSN.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Identity theft is a major concern for all Americans. 
According to the Federal Trade Commission, instances of 
identity theft have steadily risen from a reported 290,102 
cases in 2013, to a reported 490,220 cases in 2015.\1\ A 
primary cause of identity theft is the fraudulent acquisition 
of an SSN. SSNs are widely used to collect Social Security 
benefits, receive government services, and apply for services 
in the private sector, including bank accounts and credit 
cards.\2\ The theft and misuse of an SSN can cause significant 
disruptions for an individual, and the Social Security 
Administration recommends that individuals treat the SSN as 
confidential.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Fed. Trade Comm'n, Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for 
January-December 2015, at 79 (February 2016).
    \2\Social Sec. Admin., Your Social Security Number and Card, at 2 
(January 2016--Publication No. EN-05-10002).
    \3\Id., at 11.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Many federal agencies,\4\ including the 24 agencies subject 
to the Chief Financial Officers Act,\5\ require SSNs for 
various purposes, including to verify the identity of 
individuals requesting services.\6\ In 2007, the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) sent a memorandum to federal 
agencies ordering them to review and eliminate the unnecessary 
use of SSNs.\7\ Further, a majority staff report by the House 
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Committee) on 
data breaches at the Office of Personnel Management recommended 
that all agencies reduce the use of SSNs to mitigate the risk 
of identity theft.\8\ The U.S. Government Accountability Office 
(GAO) is studying the extent to which agencies have complied 
with the OMB memorandum. GAO's preliminary review revealed that 
agencies' plans to reduce the use of SSNs vary widely across 
the government.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\The term federal agency in this bill applies only to those found 
at title 40, United States Code, Section 102(5) and does not apply to 
any agency of any state or territory.
    \5\The 24 agencies are as follows: the Departments of Agric., 
Commerce, Def., Educ., Energy, Health & Human Serv., Homeland Sec., 
Hous. & Urban Dev., the Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transp., the 
Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, in addition to the U.S. Agency for 
Int'l Dev., EPA, General Serv. Admin., Nat'l Aeronautics & Space 
Admin., Nat'l Science Foundation, Nuclear Regulatory Comm'n, Office of 
Personnel Mgmt., SBA, & the Social Sec. Admin.
    \6\Briefing by John de Ferrari, et. al., Gov't Accountability 
Office, to H. Comm. on Oversight & Gov't Reform and H. Comm. on Ways & 
Means Majority Staff (Sept. 7, 2016 and April 27, 2017).
    \7\Memorandum from Clay Johnson III, Deputy Director for Mgmt., 
Office of Mgmt. & Budget, to Heads of Exec. Dep'ts & Agencies, 
Safeguarding Against and Responding to the Breach of Personally 
Identifiable Information (May 22, 2007).
    \8\H. Comm. on Oversight & Gov't Reform, Staff Report: The OPM Data 
Breach: How the Gov't Jeopardized Our National Security for More than a 
Generation, at 21 (Sept. 7, 2016).
    \9\John de Ferrari, et. al., supra note 6.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Currently, agencies are not barred from including SSNs in 
correspondence sent to individuals by mail. Including SSNs in 
printed correspondence can increase the risk that an SSN will 
be stolen, and this risk is amplified by the high volume of 
SSNs collected by federal departments and agencies. H.R. 624, 
as amended, prohibits sending an SSN by mail unless the agency 
head determines it is necessary. If the agency head determines 
that including an SSN is necessary, then the agency must 
consider using partial redactions and ensure that the SSN is 
not visible on the outside of any package sent by mail.
    Under certain circumstances, federal agencies must include 
SSNs in mailed items, including correspondence with states and 
private employers regarding unemployment insurance adjudication 
for employees. In such instances, the heads of agencies may 
continue sending SSNs through the mail with the requirement 
that they consider partial redactions and ensure the SSN is not 
visible on the outside of any package.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 624 was introduced on January 24, 2017, by 
Representative David Valadao (R-CA) and referred to the 
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. On February 14, 
2017, the Committee ordered H.R. 624, as amended, favorably 
reported by voice vote.
    A substantially similar bill, H.R. 3779, was ordered 
favorably reported by unanimous consent from the Committee 
during the 114th Congress. It passed the House of 
Representatives by voice vote.

                           Section-by-Section


Section 1. Short title

    This section designates the short title of the bill as the 
``Social Security Fraud Prevention Act of 2017.''

Section 2. Restriction of SSNs on documents sent by mail

    Subsection (a) prohibits departments and agencies of the 
federal government from including the Social Security number 
(SSN) of any individual on any document sent by mail unless the 
head of such department or agency determines that the inclusion 
of the SSN is necessary.
    Subsection (b), as amended, requires the head of each 
federal department or agency to issue regulations within five 
years of the bill's enactment that specify the circumstances 
under which it is necessary to send SSNs by mail. The 
regulations must provide instructions for the partial redaction 
of SSNs whenever feasible and a prohibition on including SSNs 
visible from the outside of any package sent by mail. It is not 
the intention of the Committee that agencies which have already 
promulgated regulations that meet the criteria for those 
required by the bill to have to reissue new regulations.
    Subsection (c), as amended, provides that the prohibition 
on federal agencies mailing documents with SSNs take effect 
five years after the bill's enactment.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    During Full Committee consideration of the bill, Chairman 
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) offered an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute (ANS) to the bill that would extend the 
implementation date from one year to five years after 
enactment. It would also give agencies five years, instead of 
one, to promulgate regulations specifying the circumstances 
under which it is necessary to send SSNs by mail. The ANS was 
adopted by voice vote.

                        Committee Consideration

    On February 14, 2017, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered favorably reported H.R. 624, as amended, by voice vote, 
a quorum being present.

                            Roll Call Votes

    No roll call votes were requested or conducted during Full 
Committee consideration of the bill.

              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill prohibits federal agencies from sending an 
individual's Social Security number (SSN) on any document 
through the mail unless the head of the agency determines that 
including an SSN is necessary and the agency takes precautions 
outlined in the bill to protect the SSN. As such, this bill 
does not relate to employment or access to public services and 
accommodations.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goals or objective of this bill is to restrict the inclusion of 
Social Security numbers on documents sent by mail by the 
Federal Government, and for other purposes.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of this bill establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the federal government known to be duplicative of 
another federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that enacting this bill does direct 
the completion of specific rule makings within the meaning of 5 
U.S.C. 551. H.R. 624, as amended, directs all federal agencies 
and departments to issue regulations within five years of the 
enacting date specifying the circumstances under which 
inclusion of a Social Security number (SSN) on a document sent 
by mail is necessary. Such regulations must include 
instructions for the partial redaction of SSNs whenever 
feasible and a requirement that SSNs not be visible on the 
outside of any package sent by mail.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., Section 5(b).

                       Unfunded Mandate Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandate Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to 
whether the provisions of the reported include unfunded 
mandates. In compliance with this requirement, the Committee 
has received a letter from the Congressional Budget Office 
included herein.

                         Earmark Identification

    This bill does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

                           Committee Estimate

    Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out 
this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) of that rule provides 
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has 
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the 
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received 
the following cost estimate for this bill from the Director of 
Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 624--Social Security Fraud Prevention Act of 2017

    H.R. 624 would prohibit federal agencies from including 
social security account numbers on any documents sent by mail 
unless the agency determines that inclusion of the number is 
necessary. There are many federal laws and regulations that 
deal with the protection of sensitive information including the 
Federal Information Security Management Act, the Privacy Act of 
1974, and a 2007 memorandum from the Office of Management and 
Budget on safeguarding against and responding to the breach of 
personally identifiable information. Because of those laws and 
rules, CBO expects that most agencies are working to limit the 
amount of personally identifiable information that they collect 
and disseminate. As a consequence, CBO estimates that 
implementing H.R. 624 would have no significant cost over the 
next five years.
    Enacting the legislation could affect direct spending by 
agencies not funded through annual appropriations; therefore, 
pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates, however, that 
any net increase in spending by those agencies would be 
negligible. Enacting H.R. 624 would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 624 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 624 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                                  [all]