OPM to Pitch Free Credit and Identity Theft Monitoring for All Feds, Hacked or Not

Blazej Lyjak/Shutterstock.com

All federal employees could soon receive a new automatic perk for doing their jobs: free credit and identity theft monitoring services.

The Office of Personnel Management said on Thursday it will put forward a proposal to provide the benefit to all federal workers, whether or not they were affected by the two recent breaches that together affected more than 22 million employees, contractors and other individuals. OPM made the announcement as it disclosed the total impact of the second breach of personal information taken from background investigations. 

OPM said it will “work with federal employee representatives and other stakeholders” to develop the plan. OPM did not immediately respond to a question about whether the services could be offered without congressional approval.

Credit and identity theft monitoring services “should be provided to all federal employees in the future -- regardless of whether they have been affected by this incident -- to ensure their personal information is always protected,” OPM said.

Lawmakers and federal employee groups have called for better protections for those affected by the hack since the initial breach of 4.2 million personnel records was announced in June, but the same groundswell calling for protections for all federal workers going forward has not yet materialized. As part of its lawsuit against OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, however, the National Treasury Employees Union called for all of its members to receive lifetime credit monitoring.

Several Democratic lawmakers unveiled the Reducing the Effects of the Cyberattack on OPM Victims Emergency Response (RECOVER) Act, which would provide lifetime credit monitoring to just those affected by the hacks and up to $5 million in identity theft protection. Sens. Barbara Mikulski, Md., Tim Kaine, Va., and Mark Warner, Va., joined Ben Cardin, Md., in introducing the bill.

(Image via Blazej Lyjak/Shutterstock.com)

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