April 15, 2024 — Comments

Justice in Aging and NCLC filed comments regarding the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) proposed rule regarding its use of Equifax’s The Work Number. The comments discuss nine concerns related to how The Work Number reports may impact the due process rights of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, and the ability to prevent benefits disruptions based on inaccurate information. The comments make specific recommendations to address these concerns and thereby strengthen the proposed rules.

In summary, the comments discuss how:

  1. SSA’s “usual procedures,” including the appeals process, are inadequate to protect the due process rights of SSI recipients who disagree with the information obtained from The Work Number
  2. The study on The Work Number accuracy that SSA relies upon study is flawed and may underestimate errors
  3. SSA and The Work Number must follow reasonable procedures for maximum possible accuracy, including matching files based on all nine digits of a recipient’s SSN and requiring procedures to check for logical inconsistencies
  4. Beneficiaries and recipients should not be required to prove a negative.
  5. SSA must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act adverse action notice requirements and should do so before a Notice of Planned Action (NOPA) is sent
  6. NOPAs and Work Number wage and employment reports should be translated for Limited English Proficient recipients.
  7. Authorizations are misleading if recipients are not informed that they are not required to give consent for Work Number access and can revoke the authorization at any time.
  8. SSA must ensure that recipients can easily obtain file disclosures (i.e. a copy of their own report) from The Work Number and/or provide recipients with the copy that SSA obtained to make an adverse action
  9. Monthly adjustment of benefits and monthly NOPAs will cause confusion and distress for many SSI recipients