Expanded Identity Protection Still Under Consideration

Moves remain under consideration to expand the identity protection services for federal employees created in the wake of the cyber breaches of personnel records and security clearance records. In both cases, the free services include automatic identity restoration services and $1 million in identity theft insurance, with the option to enroll for monitoring of credit reports and certain other records–for 18 months for the former breach and for three years in the latter. In initially announcing those benefits, OPM said it would explore making identity protection a basic benefit for all federal employees, and a recent OMB cybersecurity memo ordered OPM to make a decision within three months. That could signal that such a proposal will be sent to Congress early in 2016, possibly as part of the annual budget submission. Meanwhile, Congress is working to craft a budget for the remainder of the current fiscal year that could take a slightly different approach. Under Senate language in one of the spending bills that will form the basis of such a measure, the services for those affected by the two breaches would apply for 10 years and the amount of insurance would be boosted to $5 million. Given the timing, that approach could be enacted first, but it also could be set aside in expectation of a broader proposal to come from the administration.