TN 1 (12-16)

GN 03313.070 Disclosure to the Department of Justice (DOJ)

We provide general instructions for disclosing information from our systems of records to other Federal agencies and officials and a link to our systems of records and their applicable routine uses in GN 03313.001. If you receive a request from DOJ, contact your regional Privacy Act Coordinator.

Disclosures to assist us in administering Social Security programs

We disclose information to DOJ to investigate and prosecute violations of the Social Security Act and for other purposes associated with our administration of the Social Security Act.

A. DOJ litigation matters

We established a routine use in many of our systems of records that allows disclosure to DOJ. The routine use reads as follows:

To DOJ, a court or other tribunal, or another party before such court or tribunal when:

  • SSA, or any component thereof; or

  • any SSA employee in his/her official capacity; or

  • any SSA employee in his/her individual capacity where DOJ (or SSA where it is authorized to do so) has agreed to represent the employee; or

  • the United States or any agency thereof where SSA determines the litigation is likely to affect SSA or any of its components, is a party to the litigation or has an interest in such litigation,

and SSA determines that the use of such records by DOJ, a court or other tribunal, or another party before the tribunal is relevant and necessary to the litigation, provided, however, that in each case, the agency determines that disclosure of the records to DOJ, court or other tribunal, or another party is a use of the information contained in the records that is compatible with the purpose for which the records were collected.

This routine use permits us to disclose non-tax return information in our records. We may only disclose tax return information in DOJ litigation matters if expressly permitted by the Internal Revenue Code.

NOTE: For restitution cases, the DOJ routine use permits disclosure through the restitution period, as the DOJ Financial Litigation Unit is empowered to enforce the restitution which arose from the criminal proceedings.

B. DOJ tort claims

The DOJ Federal Tort Claims Act staff defends the Federal government against tort suits including such areas as medical malpractice, personal injuries attributed to the actions of government employees, and governmental regulatory activities.

We may disclose certain non-tax return information to DOJ to defend another Federal agency against a tort claim against the United States (U.S.), when the U.S. Attorney presents a valid written consent statement authorizing the disclosure, or a Federal court order directs us to disclose information that satisfies SSA’s regulatory requirements for a court order (20 C.F.R. § 401.180). We should seek a protective order if we are disclosing the information pursuant to a Federal court order.

We only disclose tax return information if we have written authorization from the subject of the record or from the Internal Revenue Service.

Field offices should refer all requests from U.S. Attorneys to the regional office (RO) through the regional Privacy Act Coordinator (PAC). The RO or regional PAC, in turn, should refer such requests to the Regional Office of the General Counsel, who can consult with the Office of Privacy and Disclosure if needed.

C. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

With a valid law enforcement request, we may disclose non-tax information to the FBI:

  • to investigate or prosecute fraud or other abuse in an SSA program;

  • to investigate fraud or abuse in income maintenance or health maintenance programs in Native American Territories; or

  • in cases involving national security or threats to the lives of government officials. For more information about disclosures for national security situations, see GN 003312.050.

D. DOJ Tax Division

We release non-tax return and tax return information to the Tax Division of the DOJ, as authorized by applicable laws and regulations, for use in preparing cases for litigation involving tax liability or employment tax refunds.

We release certain non tax return information to DOJ and its Tax Division under routine uses permitting such disclosures. IRC 6103 (h)(2) permits us to disclose tax return information to DOJ and its Tax Division for purposes specified in that provision, or as authorized by other legal authority.

E. DOJ - Office of Special Investigations (OSI)

We must disclose certain non-tax return information when DOJ, OSI requests it for the purpose of identifying, locatin