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Regulation and Compliance > Legislation

Social Security Identity Theft Bill Reintroduced

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What You Need to Know

  • The bill provides identity theft victims with a single point of contact to resolve issues.
  • Using the internet or phone to interact with SSA is where identity theft occurs, says Nancy Altman of Social Security Works.
  • Bill is co-sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden.

Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have reintroduced the Improving Social Security’s Service to Victims of Identity Theft Act, which would require the Social Security Administration to provide identity theft victims with a single point of contact to resolve issues.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, ranking minority member on the committee.

“This bill would take an important step toward helping victims of identity theft by giving them a single point of contact at the Social Security Administration,” Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, told ThinkAdvisor Wednesday in an email.

“For over a decade, SSA field offices have been starved of resources. Then, field offices were shuttered for two years as a result of the pandemic,” Altman said. “This has left people no choice but to use the internet or phone to interact with SSA, when applying for benefits and dealing with SSA for other purposes. This is where identity theft occurs.”

In addition to passing the bill, “Congress should ensure that SSA has sufficient funding to fully reopen and staff field offices this spring,” Altman said. “Contributors and beneficiaries are safest from identity theft and other scams when they deal with SSA in person.”

The bill is endorsed by AARP, Social Security Works, the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), the National Council of Social Security Management Associations (NCSSMA), and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR).

Wyden, along with Aging Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and 15 other senators, recently called on the Social Security Administration to provide an update on its efforts to improve field office services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“SSA has a responsibility and a duty to provide timely and quality service to the public, whether it is provided online, via telephone or in-person,” the senators told Kilolo Kijakazi, acting commissioner at the Social Security Administration, in a letter. “COVID-19 has amplified and exacerbated gaps in service for all. We write to request an update on the Social Security Administration’s efforts to improve service delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, and efforts to modernize its business processes going forward.”