Under intense pressure from industry and Congress, the Department of Commerce (DOC) plans to publish an interim rule Wednesday that will ensure seamless access to the Social Security Death Master File (DMF) for legitimate users.
The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) is establishing a temporary certification program for subscribers to the DMF.
The program is being established through an interim final rule (IFR) that will be published in the Federal Register Wednesday, March 26, 2014, and will be effective that day, according to an industry official.
“The DMF Coalition is grateful to NTIS and the Department of Commerce for their efforts to maintain access to the Death Master File for legitimate users,” said Michael Freedman, founder of Sentinel Solutions in Philadelphia and spokesman for a broad group of businesses in the U.S. that use the DMF regularly.
Freedman said that once this initial self-certification process is completed, “we look forward to working with the agencies and other interested parties in the development of the regulation. We’re definitely off to a good start.”
The IFR invites public comments on the temporary certification program, and sets a 30-day comment period, Freedman said. He said the IFR may be reviewed at the NTIS website, and added that, “If there are any inconsistencies between this document and the version published in the Federal Register, the version published in the Federal Register governs.”
The issue stems from an obscure provision of the recent Budget Act which limits public access to the DMF effective March 26. It requires DOC through NTIS to develop a certification program to allow persons meeting certain criteria to have continued access to the DMF.