Legislation to protect children from identity misuse will be heard by the Committee on Health and Human Services this session. The bill aims to prevent parents from using their child’s Social Security number to secure temporary financial assistance.
“Lower-income families can easily fall on hard times — often through no fault of their own,” said Rep. Mark Bryant, D-Windham, the bill’s primary sponsor. “Under pressure, some turn to drastic measures in order to support the ones they love.”
Since the recession, a national trend has emerged of caretakers using the name, address and Social Security number of an entrusted minor in order to secure finances, such as mortgages and private student loans. The loans are not paid back and the child’s credit is ruined. Often, these minors do not know their identity has been misused until they request a credit check years later.
Bryant’s bill, LD 219, would establish a process by which the Department of Health and Human Services can inquire as to whether or not a family is misusing the identity of a child when applying for cash or health assistance.
“My bill is not intended as an attack on those parents who would go to such extreme measures to get by,” said Bryant. “They are not criminals with malicious intent. They are people who are simply trying to stay afloat through incredibly challenging times.”
For more information on the bill, which will receive a public hearing in the coming weeks, visit: http://legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280054374
Bryant is serving his fifth non-consecutive term in the Maine House and represents part of Windham.