WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today introduced a bipartisan reform to protect veterans from potential identity theft. The Veterans’ Identity Theft Protection Act, cosponsored by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to stop using Social Security account numbers to identify individuals in all information systems used by the VA.
A news investigation in Wisconsin revealed that the Social Security numbers of hundreds of Wisconsin veterans were sent to an unauthorized person last year. This unintended disclosure of personal information put veterans and their families at risk for fraud and identity theft.
“This can’t happen. Our veterans should never be put at risk of identity theft with information that they have entrusted to the VA,” said Senator Baldwin. “That is why I am bringing this bipartisan solution forward to make certain that the VA stops using Social Security numbers to identify our veterans.”
Senator Baldwin’s Veterans’ Identity Theft Protection Act would require the VA to discontinue using Social Security account numbers to identify individuals in all information systems used by the VA. This would be applied to veterans with new claims for benefits within two years, and for all other veterans already in VA systems within five years. The VA would still be allowed to use SSNs if it needs to transfer information to or from another system outside of the VA that requires the use of those identifiers.