Bipartisan legislation (S-2550) has been introduced to provide agencies with fuller access to the SSA’s database of deaths and requiring that they use it to reduce improper payments.
Under current law, only agencies that directly manage programs making beneficiary payments have access to complete death data, sponsors said in a statement, while others have access only to a less complete and less timely version. The bill would allow “all appropriate federal agencies to have access to the complete death data for program integrity purposes, as well as other needs such as public safety and health.”
The measure also would set new requirements to ensure accuracy of death data, for example requiring the SSA to screen for “extremely elderly” individuals. That is a response to an IG report finding that SSA records list 6.5 million persons who would be older than 112 as still alive.