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Notice

Privacy Act of 1974; Notice of Matching Program: Matching Tenant Data in Assisted Housing Programs

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Office of the Chief Information Officer, (HUD).

ACTION:

Notice of a computer matching program between HUD and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

SUMMARY:

Pursuant to the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988, as amended, HUD is providing notice of a matching program involving comparisons of information provided by applicants or participants in any HUD rental housing assistance program authorized under the following statutes and independent sources of income information available through the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH) maintained by HHS:

i. The United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437 et seq.);

ii. Section 202 of the Housing Act of 1959 (12 U.S.C. 1701q);

iii. Section 221(d)(3), 221(d)(5), or 236 of the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 17151(d) and 1715z-1);

iv. Section 811 of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 8013); or

v. Section 101 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965 (12 U.S.C. 1701s).

The matching program will be carried out only to the extent necessary to: (1) Verify the employment and income of individuals participating in the above identified programs to correctly determine the amount of their rent and assistance, and (2) after removal of personal identifiers, to conduct analyses of the employment and income reporting of individuals participating in HUD's rental housing assistance programs. HUD will make the results of the computer match available to public housing agencies (PHAs) administering HUD rental assistance programs to enable them to verify employment and income and correctly determine the rent and assistance levels for individuals participating in those programs This information also may be disclosed to the HUD Inspector General (HUD/IG), and the Attorney General in connection with the administration of the above named programs. Further, based on (1) an evaluation of the costs and benefits of disclosures made to PHAs, and (2) the adequacy of measures used to safeguard the security and confidentiality of information so disclosed, HUD may expand the use of this computer matching program to disclose employment and income information of tenants to private housing owners, management agents, and contract administrators that administer HUD rental assistance programs under agreements with HUD. HUD and its third party administrators will use this matching authority to reduce or eliminate improper assistance payments in the housing programs listed above.

DATES:

Effective Date: Computer matching is expected to begin on December 29, 2004 unless comments are received which result in a contrary determination, or 40 days from the date a computer matching agreement is signed, whichever is later.

Comments Due Date: December 29, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this notice to the Rules Docket Clerk, Office of General Counsel, Room 10276, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20410-0500. Communications should refer to the above docket number and title. Facsimile (FAX) comments are not acceptable. A copy of each communication submitted will be available for public inspection and copying between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. weekdays at the above address.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For Privacy Act: Jeanette Smith, Departmental Privacy Act Officer, Room P8001, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20410-3000, telephone number (202) 708-2374. A telecommunications device for hearing- and speech-impaired individuals (TTY) is available at 800-877-8339 (Federal Information Relay Service). For program information: De W. Ritchie, Senior Advisor, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street, SW., Room 4228, Washington, DC 20410-5000, telephone number (202) 708-0614 ext. 2481.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act (CMPPA) of 1988, an amendment to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a), OMB's guidance on this statute entitled “Final Guidance Interpreting the Provisions of Public Law 100-503,” and OMB Circular No. A-130 requires publication of notices of computer matching programs.

Appendix I to OMB's Revision of Circular No. A-130, “Transmittal Memorandum No. 4, Management of Federal Information Resources,” prescribes Federal agency responsibilities for maintaining records about individuals. In accordance with the CMPPA and Appendix I to OMB Circular No. A-130, copies of this notice are being provided to the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate, and OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

I. Authority

This matching program is being conducted pursuant to sections 3003 and 13403 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (Pub. L. 103-66, approved August 10, 1993); section 542(b) of the 1998 Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 105-65); section 904 of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Amendments Act of 1988 (42 U.S.C. 3544); section 165 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1987 (42 U.S.C. 3543); the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 1701-1750g); the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437-1437z); section 101 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1965 (12 U.S.C. 1701s); the Native American Housing Start Printed Page 69384Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (25 U.S.C. 4101 et seq.); and the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 (42 U.S.C. 1437a(f)).

The Housing and Community Development Act of 1987 authorizes HUD to require applicants and participants (as well as members of their household six years of age and older) in HUD-administered programs involving rental housing assistance to disclose to HUD their social security numbers (SSNs) as a condition of initial or continuing eligibility for participation in the programs.

Section 217 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-199) authorizes HUD to provide to HHS information on persons participating in any programs authorized by:

(i) The United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437 et seq.);

(ii) Section 202 of the Housing Act of 1959 (12 U.S.C. 1701q);

(iii) Section 221(d)(3), 221(d)(5) or 236 of the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 17151(d) and 1715z-1);

(iv) Section 811 of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 8013); or

(v) Section 101 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965 (12 U.S.C. 1701s).

HHS shall then compare this information provided by HUD with data contained in the National Directory of New Hires and report the results of the data match to HUD. The Act gives HUD the authority to disclose this information to PHAs, the HUD/IG, and the Attorney General for the purpose of verifying the employment and income of individuals receiving benefits in the above programs. Further, based on (1) an evaluation of the costs and benefits of disclosures made to PHAs, and (2) the adequacy of measures used to safeguard the security and confidentiality of information so disclosed, HUD may expand the use of the computer matching program to disclose employment and income information of participating tenants to private owners, management agents, and contract administrators that administer HUD rental assistance programs under agreements with HUD. HUD shall not seek, use or disclose information relating to an individual without the prior written consent of that individual, and HUD has the authority to require consent as a condition of participating in these programs.

HHS's disclosure of data from the National Directory of New Hires is authorized by Section 217 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004. The disclosures from the HHS system of records, “Location and Collection System of Records,” No. 09-90-0074, will be made pursuant to routine use (17) identified in the Federal Register on June 3, 2004 (69 FR 31399). This routine use authorizes HHS to “disclose to the Department of Housing and Urban Development information in the NDNH portion of this system for purposes of verifying employment and income of individuals participating in specified programs and, after removal of personal identifiers, to conduct analyses of the employment and income reporting of these individuals.”

II. Objectives To Be Met by the Matching Program

HUD's primary objective in implementing the computer matching program is to verify the employment and income of individuals participating in the housing programs identified in paragraph I above to determine the appropriate level of rental assistance, and to deter and correct abuse in rental housing assistance programs. In meeting these objectives HUD also is carrying out a responsibility under 42 U.S.C. § 1437f(K) to ensure that income data provided to PHAs by household members is complete and accurate. HUD's various rental housing assistance programs require that applicants meet certain income and other criteria to be eligible for rental assistance. In addition, tenants generally are required to report and recertify the amounts and sources of their income at least annually. However, under the QHWRA of 1998, PHAs operating Public Housing programs may now offer tenants the option to pay a flat rent, or an income-based rent. Those tenants who select a flat rent will be required to recertify income at least every three years. In addition, the changes to the Admissions and Occupancy final rule (March 29, 2000 (65 FR 16692)) specified that household composition must be recertified annually for tenants who select a flat rent or income-based rent.

Tribes and TDHEs set admission and eligibility requirements pursuant to the requirements contained in the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996. They are not required to provide tenant data to the Department. Therefore, their participation in the computer match program is discretionary.

III. Program Description

In this computer matching program, tenant-provided information included in HUD's automated systems of records known as Tenant Housing Assistance and Contract Verification Data (HUD/H-11) and Public and Indian Housing Information Center (HUD/PIH-4) will be compared to data from the NDNH database. The notices for these systems were published at 65 FR 52777 and 67 FR 20986 respectively. HUD will disclose to HHS only tenant personal identifiers, i.e., full name, Social Security Number, and date of birth. HHS will match the HUD-provided personal identifiers to personal identifiers included in their systems of records known as “Location and Collection System of Records,” No. 09-90-0074. HHS will provide income data to HUD only for individuals with matching personal identifiers.

A. Income Verification

Any match (i.e., a “hit”) will be further reviewed by HUD, the program administrator, or the HUD Office of Inspector General (OIG) to determine whether the income reported by tenants to the program administrator is correct and complies with HUD and program administrator requirements. Specifically, current or prior wage information and other data will be sought directly from employers.

B. Administrative or Legal Actions

Regarding the matching described in this notice, HUD anticipates that program administrators will take appropriate action in consultation with tenants to: (1) Resolve income disparities between tenant-reported and independent income source data, and (2) use correct income amounts in determining housing rental assistance.

Program administrators must compute the rent in full compliance with all applicable occupancy regulations. Program administrators must ensure that they use the correct income and correctly compute the rent.

The program administrator may not suspend, terminate, reduce, or make a final denial of any housing assistance to any tenant as the result of information produced by this matching program until: (a) The tenant has received notice from the program administrators of its findings and informing the tenant of the opportunity to contest such findings and (b) either the notice period provided in applicable regulations of the program, or 30 days, whichever is later, has expired. In most cases, program administrators will resolve income discrepancies in consultation with tenants.

Additionally, serious violations, which program administrators, HUD Program staff, or HUD/IG verify, should be referred for full investigation and Start Printed Page 69385appropriate civil and/or criminal proceedings.

IV. Records To Be Matched

HHS will conduct the matching of tenant SSNs and additional identifiers (such as surnames and dates of birth) to tenant data that HUD supplies from its Tenant Housing Assistance and Contract Verification Data (HUD/H-11) and Public and Indian Housing Information Center (HUD/PIH-4) Program administrators utilize the Form-50058 module within the PIC system and the Form 50059 module within the TRACS to provide HUD with the tenant data.

HHS will match the tenant records included in HUD/H-11 and HUD/PIH-4 to NDNH records contained in HHS's “Location and Collection System of Records,” No. 09-90-0074. HUD will place matching data into its system of records known as the Tenant Eligibility Verification Files (HUD/REAC-1).

The tenant records (one record for each family member) include these data elements: full name, Social Security Number, and date of birth.

V. Period of the Match

The computer matching program will be conducted according to agreements between HUD and HHS. The computer matching agreement for the planned match will terminate either when the purpose of the computer matching program is accomplished, or 18 months from the date the agreement is signed, whichever comes first.

The agreements may be extended for one 12-month period, with the mutual agreement of all involved parties, if the following conditions are met:

(1) Within 3 months of the expiration date, all Data Integrity Boards review the agreement, find that the program will be conducted without change, and find a continued favorable examination of benefit/cost results; and (2) All parties certify that the program has been conducted in compliance with the agreement.

The agreement may be terminated, prior to accomplishment of the computer matching purpose or 18 months from the date the agreement is signed (whichever comes first), by the mutual agreement of all involved parties within 30 days of written notice.

Start Signature

Dated: November 10, 2004.

Carolyn H. Cockrell,

Acting Chief Technology Officer.

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[FR Doc. E4-3343 Filed 11-26-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4210-72-P