JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Genealogy Community Under Attack--Heaing on SSDI and Genealogy Community Response #general

Jan Meisels Allen

I previously posted on this forum about the US House Ways and Means
Committee Subcommittee on Social Security hearing where the genealogical
community was not invited to testify. The hearing held on February 2nd
video was posted to the Subcommittee's website on February 7:
I suggest you watch the entire video as the questions and answer session is
very telling where everyone is on this issue. The most telling is the Social
Security Administrator answering questions on the genealogical community
starting at 28:00 minutes if you don't want to listen to the entire hearing.

The written statements of the five invited witnesses may be read at

The "Legal Genealogist" posted a summary of the hearing which may be read
at: scroll down to February 3

As a result of what happened at the hearing it is obvious that the
genealogical community is under attack and we are responding with:
"Stop Identity Theft NOW"- identity theft is the real culprit-not
In addition, IAJGS, FGS, NGS and RPAC will be submitting statements for
the record before the February 16 deadline for the record closure. Please
see for information on what the genealogical community
is doing and how you can participate and check it frequently for updates!

The House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Social Security is
proposing to completely shut down use of the SSDI by genealogists as well as
other industries such as banking and insurance that rely upon its
Such an attempt is short-sighted and runs counter to the original purpose of
the SSDI: to actually combat fraud.

Because of the negativity given the genealogical community at the hearing
the genealogical community, through the Records Preservation and Access
Committee (RPAC) [a joint committee whose voting members are the Federation
of Genealogical Societies, IAJGS and the National Genealogy Society with
participating members: APG, BCG, ASG, and ProQuest.] is
responding with "Stop Identity Theft NOW". The issue is that
the SSDI used appropriately is a mechanism to stop identity theft!

To learn who about the House Ways and Means Committee and the Social
Security Subcommittee go to:
To learn about who is a Member of the House or Senate go to the IAJGS
website: and scroll down to US Congress

The House Ways and Means Committee Social Security Subcommittee held a
hearing on the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), the commercial name of
the Death Master File (DMF) on February 2nd. The genealogical community was
told they were not invited to testify, unfortunately the Committee members
and those invited to testify made the genealogy community the scapegoat for
identity theft, by focusing on the public access to the SSDI on genealogical
websites. One of the witnesses was a grieving father whose deceased child's
social security number was stolen and used fraudulently for tax refunds by
the identity thieves. He was very concerned that his deceased daughter's
Social Security number could be seen on the internet by anyone. The Social
Security Administrator spoke on behalf of the Administration and during the
question and answer period stated, genealogists do not need the SSDI, they
can get their information in other ways, and can wait as they do for the
release of US census for "75 years".

The subcommittee members indicated that this is a bi-partisan issue and both
the Democrats and Republicans will be working together to address this in
upcoming legislation.

Please share this information with your genealogical associates and

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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