TN 3 (11-98)

GN 03301.025 Confidentiality and Disclosure - Authority of SSA Officials and Employees

A. POLICY

1. FOI Officer

a. General

The Director of the Office of Disclosure Policy is the FOI Officer. Only the FOI Officer or his/her designee may determine whether to release or withhold records in response to FOI requests.

b. Authority to Disclose

The following disclosures are provided by regulation or policy and do not require a determination by the FOI Officer. These disclosures may be made by any SSA employee who is authorized to do so within his/her organizational component.

  • Disclosures authorized by Regulations No. 1 and 2 (20 CFR Parts 401 and 402).

  • Disclosures from PA systems of records for which a routine use has been published or for which consent of the individual has been given.

  • Disclosures authorized by regulations of other agencies when they apply to the records in question.

  • Disclosures authorized by any official instructional vehicle of SSA such as the POMS.

  • Materials described in the Indexes of Administrative Staff Manuals and Instructions (SSA Pub. No. 65-004), unless otherwise noted.

  • Regulations or other materials published in the Federal
    Register or materials offered for sale through the U.S. Government Printing Office.

Questionable disclosures should be forwarded to the appropriate PA/FOI coordinator. In turn, the coordinator should forward any unresolved requests to the FOI Officer or PA Officer for determination.

Requests for materials which are normally prepared for public distribution, such as press releases, fact sheets, information brochures or speeches, are not considered FOIA requests and may be provided by any SSA employee authorized to release such information.

c. Authority to Withhold Records

Only the SSA FOI Officer is authorized to determine whether SSA records may be withheld from the public in response to FOIA requests. See GN 03350.000 for instructions on handling denials and appeals of requests for SSA records.

2. PA Officer

The SSA PA Officer in the Office of Disclosure Policy is responsible for all provisions of the Privacy Act. This includes making determinations about individuals' requests for amendment or correction of their records.

In cases where disclosure to a requester is questionable, the PA Officer:

  • Determines if disclosure can be made under one of the PA exceptions. If no exception applies, refers the request to the FOI officer;

  • Handles all referrals of requests from Federal agencies and from U.S. and State courts; and

  • Determines if a parent of a minor child or legal guardian of an incompetent individual has access rights to the subject individual's records under the PA.

3. Systems Managers

Each system of records that SSA maintains has a system manager. While the system manager is responsible for a specific system of records and for the information which they contain, the manager consults with the PA Officer to ensure compliance with the PA, including disclosure issues and publication of systems notices.

B. REFERENCES

  • See AIMS, Chapter 14.05, for more information about systems managers.

  • Blue Book for a list of the systems of records and their respective managers.

  • SSA Homepage on the Internet

  • CDROM


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0203301025
GN 03301.025 - Confidentiality and Disclosure - Authority of SSA Officials and Employees - 12/09/1998
Batch run: 01/27/2009
Rev:12/09/1998