COUNTY CLERK AND SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION SAFEGUARD RECORDS / IMPROVE SERVICE
The Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds and Social Security Administration District Manager William Seaman announced a first-in-the-nation security solution to prevent document fraud and improve customer service. Designated SSA staff may now verify a birth certificate’s authenticity via a secure Internet service. This program is estimated by the SSA to save $257,000 over the first five years. Congressman Sander Levin will present the Macomb County Clerk and Seaman with a copy of the official congressional record of his statements in support of the program on Wednesday.
"Social security is important and thanks to this innovative program, it is more efficient," said Levin, a leader in the recent fight to save Social Security from privatization attempts and also the Ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee. "This is another example of Michigan innovation."
"We found a way to use technology to prevent fraud and save money for taxpayers," said the Macomb County Clerk. "The Social Security Administration was open to the idea and acted quickly and efficiently to implement it."
"The Macomb County Clerk’s program could be a model for the nation," said Seaman. "This is an example of national and local government working together to solve a problem and save money."
The Immigration Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act, effective last December, requires the Social Security Administration to get third party verification of birth records. For example, when a person applies for a social security card they must present a birth certificate. Each birth certificate must now be individually verified as authentic by SSA staff, even if it is a certified copy.
The practice has been for Social Security Administration staff to make regular trips to the county clerk’s office with stacks of birth records. The clerk staff would then individually verify them. Under the new system, SSA staff may remain at their desks, enter the name and birth date from the birth certificate into a secure Internet page, and will receive instant confirmation by the system. Only employees of the Social Security Administration with federal security clearance may register for the clerk’s birth record verification system. The Macomb County Clerk’s supervisor of records tracks SSA employees who use the system and audits its use. No birth record images are on the Internet.
The Macomb County Clerk implemented a digital imaging system for vital records last year. She had already placed business registrations and a death records index on the Internet. She is one of the few clerks to put county and local campaign finance reports on the Internet, which has boosted compliance with campaign finance laws. Recently, she added a service to let concealed weapons permit applicants check their own status via Internet. The birth record verification service was a logical extension of those services.
"My staff may now spend more time at the counter providing individual service to the public and less time verifying birth records for the Social Security Administration," said the Macomb County Clerk.
"My staff may now spend more time at the counter providing individual service to the public and less time at the county clerk’s office verifying birth records," said Seaman.
The program had a one-time cost of $4,000 and was paid for by the Social Security Administration. No new computer equipment was needed because this solution was built on the Macomb County Clerk’s existing vital records system. The clerk’s vital records system is provided by Affiliated Computer Services, Inc.
Photo Editor’s Note: Congressman Sander Levin will present a copy of the official congressional record commending the program to the Macomb County Clerk and William Seaman on Wednesday, July 5, 2006 at 2:30 pm in the Macomb County Clerk’s office, First Floor of the Court Building, 40 North Main, Mount Clemens, MI 48043. the Macomb County Clerk and Seaman will demonstrate the birth record verification system
Out of State: 310-575-5035
Register of Deeds
32 Market Street
Mount Clemens, MI 48043