07 February 2012

The Legal Genealogist & SSDI Hearings: OUCH!

Efforts are underway to erode the access to the SSDI enjoyed by genealogists.  The SSDI has been a vital and critical tool to genealogical research.

The Legal Genealogist,  Judy G Russell, tells us how dire the current threat is.

Public access to SSDI took it on the chin in Thursday’s House hearings

Hooboy. Talk about a stacked deck. Yesterday’s hearings on the future of public access to Social Security death information before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security were Not Good for public access. Not Good At All.

The Subcommittee chair, Sam Johnson (R-Texas), started things off. After talking about how Social Security death information first became public after a lawsuit in 1980, he charged in:

But what made sense thirty years ago, no longer makes sense today. Identity thieves who get their hands on a Social Security number can reap instant rewards, while the rightful owner has no idea what has happened.

With 84 million listed individuals and 1.5 million new individuals added each year, it appears that this File has become a resource for criminals seeking to capitalize on Americans’ identities, particularly the identities of deceased children.
And it went downhill from there.

Read the full post.

Have you or your local genealogy society responded to this threat?  If so, please share with us how?

Editor’s Note: As mentioned previously, keep abreast of any legislative threats that affect genealogists via the RPAC website. The site states that there were plans to launch a significant petition drive starting today!

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  1. The petition drive has started!


  2. I understand that a video of the Ways and Means Hearing has been posted and is available at: http://waysandmeans.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=133

  3. Best bet is to snailmail or FAX your concerns to your congressional representatives (Senate & Representatives from your state) with your concerns and opposition. Be sure to give them VALID reasons for keeping the SSDI lists available online ie: SS#s are NOT REUSED therefore DEAD people have no privacy rights.