S. 1073 would expand the use of data on deaths by federal and state agencies to limit improper federal payments. The bill would require the Social Security Administration (SSA) to share all such information with more agencies and for a broader range of purposes.
CBO estimates that implementing S. 1073 would have an insignificant net effect on discretionary spending. Because enacting S. 1073 could reduce direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that such effects would probably be insignificant for each year over the next 10 years. The bill would not affect revenues. CBO estimates that enacting S. 1073 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
Under current law, the Social Security Administration collects information on deaths and maintains a record of all deaths reported to the agency dating to 1936. SSA has about 105 million death records, which include the deceased person’s name, social security number, date of birth, and date of death. SSA uses those data to administer its own programs and shares the information with other agencies that administer federal benefit programs.
SSA provides the entire death file to some federal agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service. SSA also has agreements with other agencies, such as state agencies administering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, so that those agencies can periodically verify that program applicants and recipients are not included in those death records. The Department of Commerce makes the Death Master File (DMF), a subset of those data, available to nongovernmental organizations after the department certifies that they have a legitimate purpose for use of the data, for example to prevent fraud. The DMF, which has information on about 90 million deceased individuals, excludes death data reported by states, because SSA may share data on deaths reported by states only in limited circumstances, such as to agencies that pay federal benefits. (A subset of the DMF, which is available to the general public through the Department of Commerce, excludes both death data reported by states and data on deaths within the past three years.)