A-80522, OCTOBER 6, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 341

A-80522: Oct 6, 1936

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REPLY POSTAGE - PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO THE USE OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD MADE BY THE DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT OF JUNE 22. 1936: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 9. WILL THEREAFTER CONSTITUTE CURRENT TOTAL INDIVIDUAL WAGE RECORDS AND A BASIS FOR THE IDENTIFICATION OF EMPLOYEES INCIDENTAL TO. TO CARRY OUT A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN IN WHICH IDENTIFICATION AND OTHER VITAL DATA WILL BE OBTAINED FROM EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES PRELIMINARY TO THE ASSIGNMENT OF BENEFIT ACCOUNT NUMBERS. BLANKS WILL BE FILLED IN BY EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES. IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT SUCH BLANKS MAY BE MAILED TO THE VARIOUS FIELD OFFICES. THIS DATA WILL BE FURNISHED UPON A VOLUNTARY BASIS AND IT IS THEREFORE VITAL THAT EVERY POSSIBLE MEANS BE USED TO FACILITATE THE RETURN OF THE COMPLETED BLANKS.

A-80522, OCTOBER 6, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 341

REPLY POSTAGE - PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO THE USE OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD MADE BY THE DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT OF JUNE 22, 1936, 49 STAT. 1606, WHICH SPECIFICALLY INCLUDES POSTAGE, FOR THE PAYMENT OF RETURN POSTAGE FOR DATA FOUND NECESSARY BY SAID BOARD TO BE PROCURED FROM EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES FOR THE EFFICIENT MAKING OF CONTEMPLATED BENEFIT PAYMENTS UNDER TITLE II OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1935, PROVIDED THE POSTAGE BE AFFIXED IN SUCH FORM AS TO BE AVAILABLE FOR NO OTHER USE THAN THE RETURN OF THE DATA REQUIRED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE CHAIRMAN, SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD, OCTOBER 6, 1936:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

PUBLIC, NO. 739, 74TH CONGRESS, INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING PROVISION:

"WAGE RECORDS, SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD: FOR ALL EXPENDITURES NECESSARY TO ENABLE THE SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD TO COLLECT AND RECORD INITIAL BASIC DATA CONCERNING EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES, WHICH, TOGETHER WITH CURRENT INDIVIDUAL WAGE RECORDS SUBSEQUENTLY TO BE MAINTAINED, WILL THEREAFTER CONSTITUTE CURRENT TOTAL INDIVIDUAL WAGE RECORDS AND A BASIS FOR THE IDENTIFICATION OF EMPLOYEES INCIDENTAL TO, AND NECESSARY FOR, BENEFIT PAYMENTS UNDER TITLE II OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT, APPROVED AUGUST 14, 1935, INCLUDING FURNISHING IDENTIFICATION CARDS AND EMBLEMS TO EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES; PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND ELSEWHERE; * * * POSTAGE, * * * AND MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS, INCLUDING THOSE FOR PUBLIC INSTRUCTION AND INFORMATION DEEMED NECESSARY BY THE BOARD, $12,400,000 TO REMAIN AVAILABLE UNTIL JUNE 30, 1937 * * *.'

AS INDICATED BY THE ABOVE LANGUAGE, THE SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD HAS FOUND IT NECESSARY FOR THE EFFICIENT MAKING OF CONTEMPLATED BENEFIT PAYMENTS UNDER TITLE II OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT, APPROVED AUGUST 14, 1935, TO CARRY OUT A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN IN WHICH IDENTIFICATION AND OTHER VITAL DATA WILL BE OBTAINED FROM EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES PRELIMINARY TO THE ASSIGNMENT OF BENEFIT ACCOUNT NUMBERS. BLANKS WILL BE FILLED IN BY EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES, AND IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT SUCH BLANKS MAY BE MAILED TO THE VARIOUS FIELD OFFICES.

THIS DATA WILL BE FURNISHED UPON A VOLUNTARY BASIS AND IT IS THEREFORE VITAL THAT EVERY POSSIBLE MEANS BE USED TO FACILITATE THE RETURN OF THE COMPLETED BLANKS.

THE BOARD HAS BEEN ADVISED BY THE POST OFFICE "THAT IF THE MAILS ARE TO BE USED TO TRANSMIT SUCH INFORMATION FROM EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD, ITS OFFICES, OR POSTMASTERS COOPERATING IN THE WORK, POSTAGE WILL BE PROPERLY CHARGEABLE ON THE MATTER SO MAILED, REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT THE SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD DEEMS THE INFORMATION AS "A MATTER OF NECESSITY AND OF DEFINITE BENEFIT TO THE BOARD.'"

THE BOARD FEELS THAT IT IS ESSENTIAL TO THE SUCCESS OF ITS OPERATIONS THAT EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES SHOULD NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE TROUBLE AND EXPENSE OF AFFIXING POSTAGE ON MAILING COMPLETED FORMS. THE CHIEF ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT, OF COURSE, LIES IN THE FACT THAT THE DATA OBTAINED WILL FACILITATE THE COLLECTION OF TAXES AS WELL AS THE EXAMINATION AND ADJUSTMENT OF CLAIMS FOR BENEFITS. OTHER ADVANTAGES TO THE GOVERNMENT ARE THAT SUCH DATA WOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR THE ACTUARIAL CALCULATIONS REQUIRED IN SECTION 201 (A), THE STUDIES AND RECOMMENDATIONS REQUIRED UNDER SECTION 702, AND THE PAYMENTS REQUIRED UNDER SECTION 302 (A). THE BOARD ACCORDINGLY REQUESTS YOUR OPINION AS TO WHETHER UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC, 739, 74TH CONGRESS, ABOVE QUOTED, IT HAS THE AUTHORITY TO PURCHASE POSTAGE STAMPS OR TO CONTRACT WITH THE POSTMASTER GENERAL UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF U.S.C.A., TITLE 39, SECTION 273 (41STAT. 583), OR OTHER PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF LAW, WITH RESPECT TO THE PAYMENT OF POSTAGE ON RETURNS OF EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES.

THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION IS CONTAINED IN THE DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT OF JUNE 22, 1936, 49 STAT. 1597, 1606, AND, AS QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, PROVIDES:

* * * FOR ALL EXPENDITURES NECESSARY TO ENABLE THE SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD TO COLLECT AND RECORD INITIAL BASIC DATA CONCERNING EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES, * * * INCLUDING * * * POSTAGE, * * *.

YOU STATE THAT THE DESIRED DATA ARE TO BE FURNISHED BY EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES UPON A VOLUNTARY BASIS AND THAT THE BOARD FEELS IT IS ESSENTIAL TO THE SUCCESS OF ITS OPERATIONS THAT SUCH EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES SHOULD NOT BE PUT TO THE TROUBLE AND EXPENSE OF FURNISHING POSTAGE FOR THE RETURN OF THE COMPLETED FORMS. IT IS COMMON EXPERIENCE THAT OBTAINING VOLUNTARY INFORMATION BY MAIL IS GREATLY FACILITATED BY THE PAYMENT OF REPLY POSTAGE, AND IN VIEW OF THE REPORTED RULING OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT TO THE EFFECT THAT THE RETURN MATTER HERE INVOLVED MAY NOT BE TRANSMITTED POSTAGE FREE THERE APPEARS NO OBJECTION TO THE USE OF THE APPROPRIATION REFERRED TO FOR THAT PURPOSE; IT BEING UNDERSTOOD THAT THE REQUIRED RETURN POSTAGE WILL BE AFFIXED IN SUCH FORM AS TO BE AVAILABLE FOR NO OTHER USE THAN RETURN OF THE REQUIRED FORMS. SEE 24 COMP. DEC. 111.