Date: August 1, 2013 (Revised 12/31/2013)
Senate Committee on Homeland Security
and Governmental Affairs Reports S. 1360,
the Improper Payments Agency Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2013
On July 24, 2013, Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE) introduced S. 1360, the Improper Payments Agency Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2013, or IPACE. On December 12, 2013, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs reported out the bill as introduced. The bill would create a National Deaths Registry to be shared through the Do Not Pay portal 1 established by Executive Order M‑12-11 in June 2010, and codified by the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012 (IPERIA).
S. 1360 includes the following provisions of interest to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Increased Sharing of All Death Data
- Would require the Commissioner to establish and maintain a National Deaths Registry (Registry), which would include all death information maintained by SSA, and would add this Registry to the list of databases that IPERIA requires agencies to check before making payments.
- Would require the Commissioner to establish agreements to share the Registry with Federal agencies and Inspectors General for purposes of facilitating the prevention of improper payments; verification of decennial census data; and for other purposes deemed appropriate by the Commissioner, such as public health and safety, law enforcement, tax administration, health administration oversight, and debt collection.
- Would require the Commissioner, to the extent feasible, to establish agreements to share the Registry with State, local, and tribal governments for purposes of administering federally-funded benefits and facilitating the prevention of improper payments.
- Would authorize, but not require, the Commissioner to establish agreements with State, local, and tribal governments for purposes relating to programs wholly funded by State, local, or tribal governments.
- Would require any agreement under which the Commissioner shares the Registry to include reimbursement.
- Would exempt use of the Registry for the purposes described above from the restrictions in 205(r) of the Social Security Act.
- Would authorize the Commissioner to withhold information otherwise required to be disclosed under exceptional circumstances, such as safety or interference with investigations.
- Would provide that Registry information provided by the Commissioner, or by an individual to an agency that has an agreement with SSA, be considered strictly confidential and used only for the purposes described above.
- Would require the Commissioner to provide the Registry to contractors for carrying out the purposes described above if the Federal agency or State, local, or tribal government certifies the contractor meets privacy and security requirements.
National Deaths Registry Requirements
- Would require the Commissioner to:
- identify and correct errors identified by agencies; State, local, and tribal governments; and the public;
- use statistical sampling to determine the accuracy of death records; and,
- adhere to applicable laws and best practices related to privacy and security.
Reporting Additional Death Data to SSA
- Would require the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), not later than 90 days after enactment, to identify agencies that operate or maintain databases of beneficiaries, annuity recipients, or other matters that would benefit from matching with the Registry. Would require agencies identified to establish a matching program to compare their data to the Registry to improve the accuracy and completeness of their own records as well as the Registry.
- Would require, not later than 1 year after enactment, each agency identified to submit promptly and on a regular basis the deaths of Federal beneficiaries, Federal annuitant recipients, and other relevant individuals.
Implementation Guidance and Reports to Congress
- Would require OMB, not later than 6 months after enactment, to issue guidance:
- and in consultation with the Commissioner, to Federal agencies regarding implementation of the bill; and,
- to State, local, and tribal governments related to accessing and using the Registry.
- Would require OMB to develop a plan to assist these State, local, and tribal governments in providing death information to SSA electronically. Such plan would include recommendations to Congress for needed statutory changes and financial assistance to ensure these governments can provide electronic death records no later than January 1, 2015.
- Would require OMB, in consultation with the Commissioner and others and not later than 270 days after enactment, to submit to Congress a plan about how State, local, and tribal governments that administer Federally-funded benefits will improve matching with the Registry.
- Would require OMB, not later than 1 year after enactment and for each of the next 3 years, to submit to Congress a report regarding the implementation of this bill.
Consistency with the Social Security Act
- Would provide that, to the extent the bill duplicates the Commissioner’s duties under the Social Security Act, fulfillment of Social Security Act duties would satisfy this bill’s requirements.
- Would provide that the Commissioner may use any information in the Registry for any purpose authorized by the Social Security Act, regardless of whether the information was provided under this bill or the Social Security Act.
- Would amend IPERIA to require agencies that operate certain databases, including the National Deaths Registry, to provide all other agencies with access to those databases for purposes of determining payment eligibility.
- Would require OMB, not later than 60 days after enactment, to convene a taskforce to identify ways to improve sharing information related to, and best practices for identifying, deceased Federal retirement annuitants. The taskforce would include SSA, as well as the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, the Office of Personnel Management. The taskforce would be required:
- to establish a plan, not later than 270 days after enactment, to carry out the purposes described above;
- to report to Congress on the plan, not later than 1 year after enactment, and on implementation of the plan, not later than 2 years after enactment.
- Unless stated otherwise, would require all provisions to be effective upon enactment.
1 The Do Not Pay portal provides users a single entry point for multiple data sources online, and allows Federal agencies to check these sources before making payments or awards in order to prevent fraud and improper payments.