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Social Security Administration Considers Stronger Privacy Safeguards for SSNs of Children

The Social Security Administration seeks public comment on a proposal to assign new Social Security numbers to children age 13 and under. Currently, the agency may assign new SSNs only if it has evidence that "a third party has improperly used an adult's or child's SSN, the number holder was not at fault, and the number holders was recently disadvantaged by the misuse." Under the proposed policy, the agency would issue a new SSN to a child if: (1) the child's Social Security card is stolen in transit from the agency to the child's address; (2) the SSA erroneously discloses a child's SSN through the SSA's Death Master File; or (3) a third party misuses the child's SSN. The agency would no longer require evidence that the child was disadvantaged due to misuse in any of these situations. EPIC favors the proposed rule change. Public comments on the proposal are due April 12, 2013. EPIC has previously warned Congress about SSN fraud and the growing problem of identity theft. For more information, see EPIC: Social Security Numbers.

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