Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Jody Hice, R-Ga., have sent letters to the IRS, Social Security Administration (SSA), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) seeking feedback on how the agencies are implementing the CASES Act.

The Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services (CASES) for Constituents Act of 2019 modernized how Congress obtains permission from constituents before contacting Federal agencies for them.

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“Consistent implementation of the law is crucial to avoid putting additional burdens on constituents seeking assistance with Federal agencies and to fulfill congressional intent to simplify the casework process,” the representatives wrote. “Your input will inform future oversight efforts of CASES Act implementation.”

Further, the CASES Act requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issues guidance requiring each agency to accept electronic identity proofing and authentication processes to allow an individual to provide prior written consent for disclosing the individual’s records under the Privacy Act. The guidance also requires Federal agencies to implement their own remote identity-proofing and digital privacy request form solutions.

Reps. Connolly and Hice, the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the House Government Operations Subcommittee, are seeking responses to the following queries by Feb. 2:

  • Provide the status of the agency’s implementation of the requirement in the CASES Act and OMB guidance for agencies to accept “remote identity-proofing and authentication through digital processes,” including a final implementation date;
  • Describe how your agency is applying the minimization principle to the most common records requests from Congress;
  • Share the access and consent forms your agency will post on their Federal websites, as required by OMB guidance and list any alternatives that may have been explored if the agency uses Social Security numbers as personal identifiers; and
  • Describe your agency’s plan to communicate CASES Act policies and procedures to congressional liaisons in its Office of Legislative Affairs and to caseworkers in congressional offices.

Lastly, the representatives are requesting answers to the following questions:

  1. Does your agency plan to utilize, a shared service digital identity solution?
  2. If a constituent is unable or unwilling to use your agency’s remote identity-proofing solution, how will they be able to prove their identity?
  3. Does your agency plan to undertake user testing to ensure the remote identity-proofing solution your agency adopts is user-friendly, intuitive, and based in a customer-focused design?
  4. Are there any obstacles your agency is facing with its user-centric implementation of the CASES Act?
  5. How will one’s agency digital service option reduce administrative burden, address inequities, and streamline existing casework processes, in alignment with the Biden-Harris Management Agenda?
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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.