Daily Death Audits: Time is Money

September 24, 2018

From the desk of David F. Wiley, Director of IT:

Time Is Money. Now, more than ever before with the changes made by the Social Security Administration and the pressures put on by the DOL, IRS and PGBC – time is money, and time lost is money lost.

Money is the primary and most important consideration.  As fiduciaries, plan sponsors are charged with shielding and preserving the assets, resources and monies of the plan for all participants of that plan. time is money

Have you ever been in a situation where your plan has made payments to a deceased participant?  When payments are made after the death of a participant, and if these payments continue for weeks, months, and, in some cases, years, that overpayment is hard to recuperate. This becomes an even larger issue when the death remains unreported unknown or unidentified, when the overpayment increases and it becomes even more difficult to recover.

It’s simple: Time is Money.

For the plan sponsor community, speed is of the essence. The faster you are made aware of a death, the faster you can react and do those things you need to do: shield and preserve the assets, resources and monies of the plan for all participants of that plan.

How LifeStatus360 Approaches Death Audits

Our approach is a simple one: technology. We have gathered all the death sources we can get our hands on (and are continuously looking for more!). When the Death Master File (DMF) became the Limited Death Master File (LDMF), LifeStatus360 rushed to plug that hole and fill in the blanks. To do so, we added obituary records and our proprietary records (LifeStatus360). We went from weekly results to producing daily results!

Why wait to sign up and start saving money?

We provide the advantage of a daily death audit for our subscription users. If a daily death audit is not required, you can control the frequency to a schedule that is more suitable to your timeframe.

We’ve also added more Life Audit Services to help our customers clean their data and fill in any gaps. The better your data, the better the monitoring. Additionally, our free data analysis is included as part of our services because good data matters! Our Life Audit Services help you clean your data and fill in the holes.

In a nutshell, that is what we do: Death Audit and Life Audit monitoring. We monitor and report back to you, as fast as we can detect changes in the force.

The Benefits of a Daily Death Audit Solution

Overall, the cost of a Daily Death Audit is far less that the cost of a single overpayment, and far less expensive than trying to recuperate that overpayment.

  • The benefit is money
  • The benefit are savings
  • The benefit is less administrative costs
  • The benefit is less legal costs
  • The benefit is clean data
  • The benefit is getting to know your data (demographics analysis, metrics analysis, data analysis)

If you recognize the benefits of using this daily death audit approach, give us a call. Let us help you save money.

What Happens When You Don’t Use LifeStatus360?

September 12, 2018

From the desk of David F. Wiley, Director of IT:

An audit released on September 6, 2018 by the Massachusetts Office of State Auditor Suzanne Bump found that 1905 driver’s licenses were issued to deceased individuals. Most of these licenses were issued to people who died between 1988 and 2010. Now here’s the kicker: 97% of the licenses issued to deceased individuals were still ACTIVE as of January 2018. Cost?Unknown. Dead people using a driver’s license can’t be good.

The Massachusetts’s Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) processed over 10,000 requests for disability parking cards – again, from deceased people in the Death Master file. Cost?Loss of parking meter revenue.

In their defense, the RMV stated the license audit was incorrect. RMV spokesperson Jacquelyn Goddard and Gov. Charlie Baker rejected the findings, stating 1900 individuals on the list were verified as alive. However, in the case of the disability parking cards, the RMV, stated it would be a burden for individuals to reapply every five years. While that may be true, what prevents the RMV from checking for deaths every day, month, year?

The list of tax dollars lost for Massachusetts continues:

  • In 2010, 11,000+ deceased people applied for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
  • In 2013 an audit of the Department of Transitional Assistance paid over $2,000,000.00 in benefits to deceased individuals.
  • In 2016 an audit by the Massachusetts State of Recruitment Board paid more than $687,000.00 in pension payments to deceased individuals.

Recommendations for Massachusetts

We’d like to make some recommendations to the Massachusetts Office of State Auditor Suzanne Bump. We have a system in place that can check for deaths daily. If you need an on-demand (AdHoc) check, we can do that as well. In the case of the disability placards, the State of Massachusetts can also check daily, weekly or monthly for deceased people. If found, cancel the placards and request its return. This is a more cost-effective option than losing all that parking revenue. It’s faster too, with no burden to the individual.

LifeStatus360 has the (Death Audit) Solution

We know the State of Massachusetts could save taxpayer monies by contracting with us to audit their roles, applicants and pensioners using a modern, fast and efficient solution. There is no need for cumbersome manual checks; we have automated the entire process for you. Current technology, contemporary speed, up-to-the-minute results.

We encourage the Office of the State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump to give us a call. We can save your state hard-earned taxpayer dollars.

 

The Limited Death Master File (LDMF): More Records Coming Home to Roost

August 20, 2018

From the desk of Director of IT David Wiley:

The Death Master File (DMF) is a fundamental record of deaths across the United States that’s compiled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and distributed via the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). The DMF is used for pension funds, financial and insurance professionals (as well as genealogists, medical researches and in other various fields). The NTIS distributed SSADMF is the primary means to verify deaths.

By now, it’s likely that you’ve heard of the changes made to the public Death Master File (DMF). On November 1, 2011, the DMF no longer contains protected state records, which translates to the loss of 4.2 million records, and addsapproximately 1 million fewer records annually. Bottom line, since this change, everyone has less access to the deaths on the DMF.

Following this change, the DMF became the Limited Access DMF. What does this mean? Well, the official definition of the Limited Access DMF is:

“The DMF product made available by NTIS which includes DMF with respect to any deceased individual at any time during the three-calendar-year period beginning on the date of the individual’s death. As used in this part, Limited Access DMF does not include an individual element of information (name, social security number, date of birth, or date of death) in the possession of a Person, whether certified, but obtained by such Person through a source independent of the Limited Access DMF. If a Person obtains, or a third party subsequently provides to such Person, death information (i.e., the name, social security account number, date of birth, or date of death) independently, such information in the possession of such Person is not part of the Limited Access DMF or subject to this part.” Source: CFR › Title 15 › Subtitle B › Chapter XI › Part 1110 › Subpart A › Section 1110.2

Everyone had to scramble to obtain new death sources to fill the gap left by this change. LifeStatus360 did just that (have you heard of Obit360?).

Positive Changes to the Limited Death Master File in 2018

The key term in the Limited Access DMF is “the three-calendar-year period beginning on the date of the individual’s death.” What does that mean for you, the institutions that need the information in the DMF for compliance, anti-fraud, anti-waste and anti-abuse programsas required by law?

More records are the answer, and SSA and NTIS have heard the call from industry professionals (Make sure to take a look at our previous article). Since April, close to 7 million records have been added to the Limited Access DMF (6,953,522 to be precise). In the month of August, 742,511 records have been added – the older records are coming home to roost, and we’ll have those available for our customers.

Contact LifeStatus360 for Enhanced Death Audit Results

As more and more records are becoming available on the Limited Access DMF, you can bet that LifeStatus360 will be at the forefront of delivering those results to our customers. We understand the importance of keeping your records accurate and up-to-date, which is why we are always working to bring new technology into our business model.

Stay tuned for more updates about the technology we’re integrating in 2019 to help fill the gaps left by the Limited Access DMF. Until then, take a look at our nextgen technology solution for finding missing participants and/or their beneficiaries: Pinpoint360.

SSA & NTIS to Increase Reported Deaths for Death Audit Services

April 2, 2018

Good News – Good News – Good News!

This weekend’s DMF update was approximately 1 million records! With dates of death ranging from 1919 to 2018, with the majority of death dates ranging from 1938 to 1976. Next weekend,  the SSA/NTIS should release an additional 2 million previously unreported records.

The new records, combined with our Obit360 database of obituaries (updated daily) and the data from state a vital records organizations and other sources, will help us help you and meaningfully fill the gap of missing deaths.

What Changed for Death Audits?

The SSA (Social Security Administration) and the NTIS (National Technical Information Service) have been actively engaged in an initiative to improve the quality of available death data following several investigations where funds have been under and overpaid. As part of this initiative, we’ve learned that in FY2018 the SSA will be adding over 8 million death records to the full and Limited Death Master File (LDMF)!

So – what does this mean for our industry and our customers? Glad you asked!

Sharing the new death records will increase the accuracy, integrity and the completeness of the SSA records and to the Death Master File (DMF). Many leaders in our industry have been pushing for increased death reporting because it encourages accurate and complete files and reduces the risk of fiduciary impropriety.

More Deaths Reported Mean More Deaths Found

We’ve been reporting on many of these improprieties, and are more than willing to discuss how our proprietary system reduces these risks. Our team is regularly searching for new ways to reach more customers and increase the chances of allocating funds as necessary, whether it’s locating a pension fund beneficiary or verifying that someone is who they say they are and that they’re receiving only the monies allotted. In 2017 alone, we added 2.8M obituary records and 1.3M records to the Limited DMF.

We’re looking forward to seeing the new records on the DMF and will keep our customers apprised of the ongoing efforts of the SSA and NTIS.

Thank you to both of these organizations – SSA and NTIS – for your due diligence and effort in this initiative. By increasing the death count, our customers will have more accurate accounting. Our team will continue to assist our customers in their efforts to detect, correct and prevent fraud, waste and abuse to encourage compliance (FWAC) with federal and state rules and regulations.

If you have questions about how this initiative affects your death audits, let our team clear the smoke! We’re available online or via telephone at 888-LIFE-360, or feel free to reach out on our social media handles and start the conversation. We know the power of death audits and how these key compliance tools can make or break a company (need examples? Just ask us!).

 

Data Quality, Data Quality, Data Quality

March 2, 2018

From the desk of Mr. David Wiley, IT Information Services at LifeStatus360:

In our industry, data quality is paramount, and your data should be the very best it can be: all missing data elements filled in and correct.  According to a Gartner, the average organization loses 8.2 million dollars annually because of poor data quality.

The reason behind providing us with the highest quality data is simple: missing data equates to missing deaths and to loss of contact with your plans’ participants. Both results turn into loss of monies due to overpayments or fines from the Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). As you’ve likely seen:

  • The DOL is actively auditing pension plans with “large lists of unpaid participants.”
  • The IRS is challenging plans for Required Minimum Distribution (RMD).
  • The PBGC is asking if a sponsor has “tried” to pay all benefits prior to transferring the assets to PDBC and looking for documented proof of the process.

These new focuses from governmental agencies create an even more critical need to ensure your data quality is the best it can be.

How to Improve Your Data Quality and Your Results

Want to save some monies? Improve your data quality! Here’s how:

  • Missing city, states or zip codes: You are not only missing obituary matching, but you may also be receiving too many “false positives.” The more data you provide, the tighter and more accurate the reporting.
  • Missing DOB: This is a required field for Obituary Matching, and without it we will not return an obituary match because there will be too many “false positives.” Additionally, you’ll need a date of birth to conduct proper future pension fund liabilities, which is information your actuarial person should be requesting. What do your demographics look like? How can you be sure? Demographic-related projects could be incorrect.
  • What is the date of the last address update? You could lose contact with your participants, leading to uncashed checks and unsigned documents.
  • Missing contact information: Don’t lose contact! In today’s digital world, there are multiple methods to maintain contact.
  • Missing relatives: Who are the backup contacts just in case you lose contact with your participants?

Let LifeStatus360 Help You Improve Your Data Quality

At LifeStatus360, we can help you clean up your data, fill in the blanks, give you the missing data and apply all those efforts into monitoring your population for deaths or helping you stay in contact with your current population. We understand that at the very least, you’re going to need a yearly check-up on your plan participants; we recommend that you do, at a minimum, a yearly check-up on your data. Just as ignoring your health can later cost you more money, the same can be said of your data – the longer you ignore it, the more money you’re costing your company. Ignore your data at your own peril.

Here are a few ways to ensure your data is clean, current and complete (C3™):

  • Call LifeStatus360 at 888-LIFE-360 for a data quality checkup report.
  • Modern methods with modern technologies and highest security = a winning combination!
  • Ask us about Pinpoint360™, our new comprehensive DOL/IRS/PBGC pre-audit service

Locate Missing Participants w/ Pinpoint360 & C3™

tracking the digital footprint

January 18, 2018

What do a United States Department of Labor (USDOL) audit, missing participants, digital footprints and LifeStatus360 all have in common?

Pinpoint360!

Pinpoint360 is our exciting, new compliance solution that utilizes our C3™ process to help you locate your plans’ missing participants and maintain your compliance with the new USDOL audit requirements.  Compliance Made Faster.

The USDOL is ramping up its audits of retirement systems with lost, missing or incomplete data on participants. The new requirements are putting a new sense of urgency on plan administrators to locate (or pinpoint) former employees and/or their beneficiaries, allowing them to receive the benefits they are owed.

New vs. Old: Transforming Data Compliance Solutions

In the past, locating a missing participant involved the USPS and the IRS – you can see where that would get dicey. A more recent method (and one that is used by some of our competitors) is another paper-based “solution” that averages a 20% success rate. These are what we like to call the “brick-and-mortar” methods that are paper-oriented, non-green, slow and ineffective.

The new century needs a new method. This new time has a new environment and we’ve seen phenomenal social change in recent years, as our society has transitioned almost entirely from paper to digital. As leaders in the death audit industry (and huge tech enthusiasts – don’t believe us, just ask!), we focus on the tech and on how we can apply the latest technologies to new data compliance solutions.

We cast our digital net and provide our customers with the most up-to-date digital footprints of your participants to help you connect and communicate with those participants as required by the DOL rules and regulations. We assist with the regulatory compliance requirements and provide you with a detailed Statement of Completion that you can then pass along to the DOL for verification and validation of the “Reasonable Search Steps” you pursued to fulfill your regulatory requirements.

What is a Digital Footprint & How Do We Use It?

A digital footprint is a trail of a person’s digital identity in today’s modern digital environment. It can include websites you visit, emails you’ve sent, and information you’ve submitted or has been collected by online services. Essentially, our normal day-to-day activities, as well as major and minor events in our lives.

Let’s break this down a little further though:

  • Passive Digital Footprint: personal data made accessible online with no deliberate intervention from an individual. This is a data trail that’s left unintentionally online.
  • Active Digital Footprint: personal data made accessible by deliberate posting or sharing of information by an individual. This is a data trail that’s left intentionally online.

An online data trail is very different from a paper trail, as a paper trail can be destroyed, altered or lost. A personal digital footprint can follow an individual for life! Every time an account is opened for a service, a person’s data is capture.

Every day, participants contribute to their digital footprint – some public, and some not. Whether deliberate or not, the digital footprint is there and creates a trail, a unique set of traceable and redeemable digital activities, actions, contributions and communications that are established on the internet or on a digital database.

That’s where Pinpoint360 comes in!

Our NextGen solution – Pinpoint360 – and our specialized C3™ process help you to fulfill the new USDOL requirements, allowing you to reconnect and communication with your participants.

Fast, easy and effective. Pinpoint360. Clean data, current data, complete data. C3™.

Contact us at 888-LIFE-360 or email compliance@lifestatus360.com to learn how Pinpoint360 and C3™ can help you locate your missing participants as part of a regulatory compliance audit.

Lifestatus360 – 2018 – Evolution in Action.

Digital Innovation in a World of Death (Audits!)

December 29, 2017

Change is constant, and digital disruptions are now omnipresent as digital revolution quickly transforms the central nature of many companies and industries. At LifeStatus360, we strive to understand the technology paradigms, process and economics innovating digital-centric businesses and the change it can and will bring.

We recently discussed Digital Transformation – when a business and the way it operates moves from a “traditional” operation model, processes, procedures management culture and thought to a modern and technologically-focused method of operation. Digital transformation lowers operational costs, enhance customer experience, improve time-to-market or deliverables, and provide constant feedback to management to continually improve: Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA).

The flipside of the Digital Transformation coin is Digital Innovation.

Digital innovation at LifeStatus360

What is Digital Innovation?

Digital Innovation is something new, something original, something innovative. For us, it’s the application of better solutions that meet the needs of our customers and their business requirements, unspoken needs and existing and upcoming compliance, industry and market needs. We’re creating solutions through more effective products, processes, services and technologies. Innovation!

Our Digital Innovation begins by predicting new opportunities, implementing in an agile way, and presenting them to our customers to provide personalized experiences and real-time solutions.

Evolution in Action: Digital Innovation Leads to Digital Transformation

There’s a tendency to regard software as something can be “finished,” so to speak, but at LifeStatus360, we know better. Market forces, compliance requirements, new laws and standards, and customer requirements prove that point. There is no end to eliminate solutions, there is no end, there is no ONE solution, and to that end, software is never finished. If the environment is changing, you must change, and so do we. Adapt or die!

We are always looking at the latest technology, the best in DevOps, more sources and innovations that encourage transformation. We are always looking for any successful new way of thinking or doing things that assist us in delivering faster and better. Digital Innovation is the best strategy.

We have exciting new technologies coming in 2018! Stay tuned and don’t forget to pass on your ideas and requirements! We’re listening.

LifeStatus360 Receives Re-Certification for SSA LADMF from NTIS Final Rule

December 5, 2017

Lifestatus360 is proud to announce that it has met the certification program requirements to access the Limited Access Death Master File (LADMF) Certification under the new National Technical Information Service (NTIS) DMF Final Rule. As one of the first organizations to have received re-certification under the final rule, we demonstrate that the appropriate information security systems, facilities, and procedures are in place to protect the security of the DMF and our customers.

Our proprietary SaaS platform provides the industry’s leading Death Audit and Data Compliance Solutions with the fastest results – as fast as daily! We are also the only company in the industry focused on cutting-edge technology and cybersecurity, attaining our AltiusIT Security Certification earlier this year. Our team is currently working with several agencies to increase our certifications to provide our customers with the highest quality results at the fastest speeds in the industry.

Contact LifeStatus360 to Learn More about Our Certifications

Following the updated NTIS DMF Final Rule, many companies are losing their certification, and are thus, losing their ability to provide customers with accurate results. Additionally, many companies are facing data breaches and hacks, compromising their data and their customers’ data. We are the only company in our industry providing our customers with the latest in cybersecurity protocols – from the front door of the building to the back door of our system – to ensure the security of not only our data, but also our customers.

Compare the certifications of your current provider with our certifications, and then let us show you why we’re the leader in our industry. Contact us online or via telephone at 888-LIFE-360 to learn more about our current certifications and how those enable us to provide our customers with accurate data at quick speeds.

Digital Transformation: Lifestatus360’s Strategic View

November 8, 2017

We view Digital Transformation as the integration of digital technology into all areas of our business. That will result in essential and fundamental changes to how Lifestatus360 operates and how we will deliver value to our customers and our industry.

For us, Digital Transformation is a cultural change that requires Lifestatus360 to continually challenge the old status quo and the old, outdated de facto standards.

Let’s take a look at a few definitions:

  • Business futurist Greg Verdino: “Digital transformation closes the gap between what digital customers already expect and what analog businesses actually deliver.”
  • The Agile Elephant: “Digital transformation involves a change in leadership, different thinking, the encouragement of innovation and new business models, incorporating digitization of assets and an increased use of technology to improve the experience of your organization’s employees, customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders.”
  • The Wikipedia: “Digital transformation is the changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society,” it states.

Digital Transformation is the business model of this decade! While we’ve seen the explosion of technology with the growth of Silicon Valley, Seattle and other tech hubs across the country, it’s becoming even more important to integrate the latest technologies into every business model – and we’re doing just that at LifeStatus360.

Since our inception, we’ve believed in using the latest technologies to ensure the fastest, most reliable Death Audit and data compliance solutions for our customers. These technologies include:

  • Our proprietary SaaS platform where our customers input their data, run their reports and maintain their compliance
  • LifeStatus360 Proprietary, our proprietary data sources, provides our customers with the largest data pool available on the market
  • Obit360 offers our customers a way to bridge the gap left by the Limited Access Death Master File (LADMF)
  • Advanced certifications to ensure complete security of our data and our customers’ data

But that’s not where we’re stopping! Oh no, there’s much more that we’re doing with our system and the digital transformation of the Death and Life Audit industry!

Confirmed Locate Transformation: We’re Continuing the Digital Trend!

We’re excited to announce the introduction of our latest product, Compliance Locate Service, which is transforming how our customers perform their confirmed locates! From the old, de facto standard confirmed locate to the new Compliance Locate Service. Exciting! This new product is coming out in 2018 and is a more eco-friendly way to locate missing participants in your pension fund, union, retirement fund and other fiduciaries.

Maintaining accurate records for all of your participants ensures that your federal and state obligations are met and that your funds aren’t being overpaid. This is an ongoing issue, and our new Compliance Locate service will help you to reduce errors caused by missing participants. Contact our team at LifeStatus360 to learn more about this new product, when you can expect to try it out, and any other questions that you may have. We’re available online or via telephone at 888-LIFE-360.

Opportunities Between the SSA Limited Death Master File (LMDF), Additional Sources for Unreported Deaths & Locating Missing Participants

October 27, 2017

Recently at the 14th Annual Public Pension Financial Forum Conference, there was a discussion group on the topic of “The dilemma between the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF) and unreported deaths and missing participants”. As a leader in our industry, we would also like to provide our perspective, as we are regrettably unable to attend the conference.

First and foremost, we would like to rename this topic “Opportunities Between the SSA Limited Death Master File (LMDF), Additional Sources for Unreported Deaths & Locating Missing Participants. We feel this is a more positive title and attitude working toward solutions rather than reporting on the issues.

A little history

Effective November 1, 2011, the DMF data provided by the SSA no longer contains protected State death records per Section 205(r) of the Act, which prohibits the SSA from disclosing State death records the administration receives through contracts with the states, except in limited cirumstances (e.g. Section 205(r)). This change has resulted in a reduction of over 40% of the records provided in prior years. Additionally, current SSADMF records added since November 1, 2011 do NOT include City and State of residence, increasing the challenge of locating participants. These occurrences have caused the DMF to become the Limited Access DMF (LADMF).

The Limited Access DMF (LADMF) from the Social Security Administration contains over 86 million records created from SSA payment records. The LADMF file includes the information on each decedent as its available to the SSA: Social Security number (SSN), Name, Date of Birth, Date of Death. Following the changes in November 2011, the SSA does not have a death record for all persons and does not guarantee the reliability of the file. Thus, the absence of a person is not proof that this person is alive, which creates gaps for fiduciary organizations.

Herein lies the dilemma. The Limited Access DMF (LADMF) caused the issue of unreported deaths and missing participants (Make sure to write your representatives and let them know that we need access to the full DMF to combat these costly issues)!

LifeStatus360 looked at the dilemma and turned it into an opportunity and a solution. We have integrated the latest technologies, algorithms, proprietary data sources (LSP) and obituary data (Obit360) to fill the gaps left by the LADMF.

Obituary Collection Data Chart

To assist in the location of missing participants, we have created a new set of LifeStatus tools, techniques and processes to help our customers find, locate and pinpoint lost, missing or misplaced participants. We provide a set of meta data (a set of data that describes and provides information about your participants’ data) to help customers locate and correct data in their files, which includes: Address Location, Email, DOB, Phone, Relative, SSN Verification (batch and real-time serach). Additionally, we provide a death check as part of our solutions to ensure accuracy of our reports.

In 2018 we will introduce our new and improved Confirmed Locate service for our customers’ use on participant population. This new method will save time, money and the environment while we reconnect you with your participants.

LifeStatus360 – Innovative Technology for the Death Audit Industry. Contact us to learn more about our Life Audit and Death Audit Solutions.