House approves Bishop bill to improve federal support for identity theft victims

The U.S. House of Representatives on July 24 unanimously passed a bipartisan bill from U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI) that is designed to lighten the load carried by Americans who are victims of identity theft.

The Improving Social Security’s Service to Victims of Identity Theft Act, H.R. 6084, would require the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide a single point of contact for individuals requesting a new Social Security Number due to identity theft, as well as for anyone who needs help resolving identity theft issues related to their Social Security benefits.

“This important reform will make the process of recovering from identity theft just a bit easier for those who find themselves in this unfortunate position,” said Rep. Bishop, who introduced H.R. 6084 on June 13.

Among the measure’s 10 cosponsors are U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Ryan Costello (R-PA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), and John Larson (D-CT).

“Americans who are victims of identity theft often face an uphill battle when they contact the Social Security Administration for help,” Rep. Bishop said. “All too often these individuals find themselves being transferred around a phone tree from person to person, requiring them to start back at square one each time they contact the agency.”

If enacted, the SSA’s single point of contact under H.R. 6084 would be required to track each individual’s case to completion and coordinate with other specialized units to resolve case issues as quickly as possible, according to the summary in the congressional record.

“Supporting victims of identity theft is something I’ve long championed,” said the congressman, who prior to being elected to Congress worked as a former local prosecutor. “I gained a real understanding of the plight many Americans face in recovering from identity theft and other forms of exploitation.”

H.R. 6084 also garnered support from the Association of Mature American Citizens, AARP, and the National Council of Social Security Management Associations.

“Streamlining the assistance that SSA offers an identity theft victim will be welcomed by individuals who are caught in an often overwhelming situation. AARP supports today’s continued bipartisan efforts to protect victims of identity theft,” said AARP Senior Vice President Joyce A. Rogers.

H.R. 6084 now heads to the U.S. Senate for deliberation.