While the name of the bill sounds like a good thing the effect of the bill is mainly to deny public access to the Social Security Death Index which is really used to DETER identity theft of deceased individuals' social security numbers because it is and was meant to be a public database to check for just that sort of fraud. It is also used by genealogists extensively for family history research as well as helping to research probate and identify next of kin in many volunteer MIA/KIA cases. Speaking as a former criminal investigator, it would be more beneficial to the identity thief to pull a living persons SSN or pull one out of thin air and they would be less likely to be caught as opposed to taking one off of the SSDI in which case they would be easily discovered as fraudulent.
I appreciate the good intentions of our public servants but to deny free public access to the Social Security Death Index would do considerably more harm than good.
As a compromise, I don't believe any legitimate researcher or family historian would mind if the historical information was still available (birth date, death date, etc.) and the social security numbers be blocked. However, that would take away its intended use as a tool to catch would be identity thieves who are attempting to use deceased individuals numbers. It would also negatively affect those that work with medical examiners and the military in helping to identify next of kin.
An excellent article written by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak give a great overview of the pros and cons of the issue and is very worth your time in reading.
So therefore we are urging you to oppose H.R. 3475 in its present form until all sides of the issue have been thoroughly considered.
Thank you so much for your attention
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