Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Save the SSDI: Sign the RPAC Petition - and then write letters

I’ve signed the SSDI petition — have you?  I'm number 388.  The goal is 25,000 signatures, so there is a long way to go.

The petition of the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) is now up at the website.  You need to register (email address and name), receive an email, and then click the link in the email to get your name on the list.  Note - your full name is not used - mine says "Randy S. Chula Vista, CA."

The petition says:

"Take steps to stop fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from recently deceased infants & adults NOW.

"We have all been outraged by reports of identity thieves filing fraudulent tax refund claims using the SSNs of recently deceased infants & adults.
"The IRS could curtail such claims almost immediately if tax refund claims were screened against the SSA's Death Master File & matching cases identified for special processing.
"This filter, together with other viable and easily implemented safeguards, could actually EXPEDITE the processing of such claims.
"The National Taxpayer Advocate has also endorsed the use of IRS- issued Identity Protection PINs and allowing taxpayers to turn OFF the ability to file tax returns electronically using specified SSNs.
"There's no need to wait for legislation to stop this travesty and protect families of deceased infants and adults. Stop Identity Theft NOW!"
Judy G. Russell, at The Legal Genealogist blog says:

"This isn’t all the genealogical community needs to do. We still need to tell the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Social Security that we strongly oppose all legislation to close the Social Security Death Index. Find out how exactly to speak up on that in SSDI Call to Action. And then each of us needs to write letters (and/or emails and/or faxes) to both Senators from the state we live in (get the names and address of your Senators here) and to the member of the House of Representatives for the District where we live (get the name and address of your House member here) explaining where we stand and asking for their support.

"We need to tell them, clearly and simply, in our own language, using our own experience, that the answer to identity theft is not closing public records, but rather using them. And that freedom of information should never be a casualty in the war on identity thieves."

You can find out more at RPAC’s website,

My view is that the White House petition is too difficult to use and the goal of 25,000 signatures will be difficult to achieve.  More effective will be personal letters (not form letters!) to your Representatives and Senators.  I think it's too late to influence the House Ways and Means Sub-Committee members - they've already made up their minds.  

The petition has it exactly right - the problem is with the bureaucracy in Washington DC - they do not use the SSA Death Master File to screen Social Security Numbers at the Internal Revenue Service.  

Commercial businesses and agencies (banks, credit companies, insurance companies, etc.) use it routinely to prevent identity fraud - that is the purpose of it!  Do any government agencies use the SSA Death Master File to prevent identity fraud?  If not, why not?  

Surely, the United States government has smart programmers who can write a routine or app for the IRS to easily compare taxpayer return SSNs to the SSA Death Master Index.  Or do they?  If not, perhaps they could hold a contest for programmers to provide one to the government.  It's probably a trivial exercise for a computer science student.  

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Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012


Trish said...

I have tried a half-dozen times to sign this petition. I created an account. Logged out. Back into the website. Signed In. I went to the petition. The Sign Petition button was not highlighted, so it would not respond when I clicked on it. I responded to the prompt to sign in (again!). Each time I responded to the prompt, it took me right back to my account information page. Back to the petition. Repeat. Repeat.

Any suggestions or tips?

PattyA said...

1) Create your account but do not sign out
2) Log in to your email account
3) Open the email message from
4) Click on link to confirm your email address is a working account
5) Go back to site and just click "sign petition"
6) Also, in your profile, create a password for yourself
7) Log out of

I was number 969 this morning.

Trish, since the "sign petition" button is not highlighted for you, perhaps you have already(unknowingly) signed the petition. Just a thought.