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New Business Coalition For Implementation & Reform Of The Death Master File Announced

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The creation of a new coalition to address the implementation of a new law governing the access to and use of the Social Security Death Master File (DMF) was announced yesterday.  The Coalition for Implementation and Reform of the Death Master File will be comprised primarily of financial services companies, including insurance companies, annuity companies, pensions, credit rating agencies, charitable organizations and others that utilize the DMF in the course of their business and to provide consumer financial services, as well as third-party vendors that access the DMF on behalf of these legitimate users of the DMF.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (Pub. L. No. 113-67) directed the U.S. Department of Commerce to implement the new law governing access and use of the DMF, which has existed since the 1930's and provides basic information about the deaths of American citizens, including Social Security number, name and dates of birth and death.

Responding to abuses of the DMF that resulted in identity theft and fraud, Congress established a new program to limit such abuses by restricting immediate access to the DMF by the general public.  Recognizing, however, that the DMF is lawfully used extensively by business financial and charitable communities, and that the DMF drives or protects trillions of dollars in the U.S. economy, the new law will permit immediate access to the DMF to legitimate users, who must be certified pursuant to a program established by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Department of Commerce has announced it will be holding a public meeting on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 for interested parties to submit comments on the implementation and parameters of the certification program.  The Department's notice includes a comprehensive list of suggested questions for interested parties to address in order to help the Department in implementing the new law.

The Coalition was established to efficiently and effectively communicate and advocate the common interests of legitimate users of the DMF in order to ensure their continued access to quality information from the DMF.  Recognizing the benefits of speaking in a unified and coordinated voice, the Coalition has released its draft Statement of Principles as follows:

The Coalition seeks to work effectively with Congress and the U.S. Department Commerce to effectuate the new law, Title II of Section 203 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, governing access to the Death Master File (DMF) to:

  • ensure continuity of access to the DMF to certified users during the process of developing and adopting regulations;
  • specifically define in regulations certified users to include all those who meet the requirements for such designation, including third-party vendors servicing legitimate users;
  • ensure protection of DMF data against identity theft and fraud;
  • ensure reasonable operational criteria for certified users; and
  • ensure the highest quality of DMF data for certified users.

The Coalition will be managed by the American Continental Group (ACG), a leading, bipartisan public policy advocacy firm in Washington, D.C. that has worked to help businesses, trade associations, public institutions and nonprofit organizations navigate the federal legislative and regulatory processes for 20 years. ACG has been engaged for the past two and half years in Congress' consideration of legislation to restrict access to the Death Master File, including assisting in the development of needed legislative history when the DMF provisions were prematurely added to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.

For more information regarding ACG, please visit their website at http://www.acg-consultants.com/.To join the Coalition or to obtain more information regarding the Coalition's activities, please contact Brian Fitzgerald at ACG at fitzgerald@acg-consultants.com or (202) 327-8107.

SOURCE The Coalition for Implementation and Reform of the Death Master File

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