Legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) on Wednesday would prevent identity theft by requiring the Social Security Administration (SSA) to remove Social Security numbers from mailed documents whenever possible.
The Social Security MAIL Act, H.R. 5320, introduced by Renacci and U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), would require the SSA to remove unnecessary Social Security numbers from mailings, and it would also require SSA to justify when it is necessary to include them.
“As a personal victim of identity theft and after hearing many similar stories from American taxpayers, I am concerned with the fact that the Social Security Administration placed full SSNs on more than 233 million documents in 2015,” Renacci, a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, said. “In response, I am pleased to join (Social Security Subcommittee Chairman) Johnson in introducing this commonsense proposal to reduce the risk of Americans having their identity stolen by removing unnecessary SSNs from mailed documents.”
Under the bill, SSA would be required to provide biannual reports to Congress that track the administration’s progress in removing or justifying the use of Social Security numbers of mailed documents.
“Despite telling Americans countless times about the need to protect their Social Security Numbers, Social Security fails to take its own advice,” Johnson said. “The SSA makes too many Americans vulnerable to identity loss by mailing documents that include a Social Security Number when it’s just not necessary. Americans rightly expect that Social Security isn’t putting their identities at risk when a letter is lost or stolen. Our bill is a commonsense solution to a problem that simply shouldn’t exist.”