BASIC (09-05)

GN 03316.065 Disclosure Without Consent to General Third Party Contacts to Assist in Administering SSA Programs

A. Policy

The following are examples of disclosures that may be made to third party contacts to assist in administering SSA programs under the circumstances described. As discussed, the third party contact can be either a public or private entity.

1. Disclosure to Obtain Information Relating to an Individual’s Eligibility/Entitlement to Benefits or Capability to Manage His/Her Affairs

Disclosure may be made to third party contacts when the party to be contacted has, or is expected to have, information relating to an individual’s eligibility for, or entitlement to, benefits under a Social Security program, or capability to manage his/her affairs. Disclosure may be made under the following circumstances:

a. Individual Unable to Provide Needed Information

This condition is met when:

  • the individual cannot read or write,

  • the individual cannot afford the cost of obtaining the information,

  • the individual has a hearing impairment and is contacting SSA by telephone through a telecommunications relay system operator,

  • a language barrier exists, or

  • the custodian of the information will not, as a matter of policy, provide the information.

b. To Establish Evidence or Verify Accuracy of Information

Disclosure may be made when information is needed to establish the validity of evidence or to verify the accuracy of information presented by the individual, and it concerns one or more of the following:

  • his/her eligibility or entitlement to benefits under a Social Security program,

  • the amount of a benefit payment, or

  • any case in which evidence is being reviewed as a result of suspected fraud or abuse, concern for program integrity, quality appraisal, or evaluation and measurement activities.

Relevant information may be disclosed from the following systems of records:

  • 60-0089—Claims Folders System,

  • 60-0090—Master Beneficiary Record,

  • 60-0103—Supplemental Security Income Record and Special Veterans Benefits System,

  • 60-0268—Medicare Part B Buy-In Information System (disclosure limited to matters concerning benefit,

  • 60-0269—Prisoner Update Processing System (PUPS) (disclosure limited to matters concerning benefit eligibility/entitlement or benefit amounts),

  • 60-0273—Social Security Title VIII Special Veterans Benefits Claims Development and Management Information System (San Francisco),

  • 60-0310—Medicare Savings Programs Information System (disclosure limited to matters concerning benefit entitlement/eligibility or benefit amounts), and

  • 60-0320—Electronic Disability (eDib) Claims File.

c. To Determine the Authenticity of Documents

Disclosure may be made to third party contacts when the party to be contacted has or is expected to have information which will verify documents when SSA is unable to determine if such documents are authentic. Relevant information may be disclosed from system of record 60-0058—Master Files of Social Security Number (SSN) Holders and SSN Applications System.

See RM 10205.110 for instructions concerning mandatory in-person interview and development for SSN applicants aged 12 and over.

2. To Obtain Information Relating to an Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS)

Comprehensive instruction concerning the PASS program are provided in SI 00870.000. As necessary, disclosure may be made to third party contacts when the party to be contacted has, or is expected to have information relating to an SSI recipient’s PASS under Title XVI of the Act to establish financial self-sufficiency, when:

a. Individual Unable to Provide Needed Information

This condition is met when:

  • he/she is incapable or of questionable mental capability,

  • he/she cannot read or write,

  • he/she cannot afford the cost of obtaining the information,

  • he/she has a hearing impairment and is contacting SSA by telephone through a telecommunications relay system operator,

  • a language barrier exists, or

  • the custodian of the information will not, as a matter of policy, provide the information to the individual.

Relevant information may be disclosed from system of records, 60-0255—Plans to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) Management Information System.

b. To Establish Evidence or Verify Accuracy of Information

Disclosure may be made when information is needed to establish the validity of evidence or to verify the accuracy of information presented by the individual in connection with his/her PASS, or SSA is reviewing the information as a result of suspected fraud or abuse, concern for program integrity, quality appraisal, or evaluation or measurement activities.

Relevant information may be disclosed from system of records, 60-0255—Plans to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) Management Information System.

3. Disclosure to Verify Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Eligibility under Section 1631(e) of the Social Security Act (Act)

Section 1631(e) of the Act requires SSA to verify eligibility for SSI under Title XVI of the Act other than by declaration (e.g. by using collateral sources). In these cases, information may be disclosed to private parties or to Federal, State or local agencies to obtain relevant information.

Disclosure may be made from the following systems of records:

  • 60-0089—Claims Folders System,

  • 60-0103—Supplemental Security Income Record and Special Veterans Benefits, and

  • 60-0320—Electronic Disability Benefits System.

4. Disclosure to Addiction Treatment Facilities

SSA regulations (20 C.F.R. § 416.936(a)) provides that in order to receive SSI, individuals with drug addiction or alcoholism as a material factor in the determination of disability must avail themselves of appropriate treatment for the drug addiction or alcoholism at an institution approved by SSA. In these cases, information may be disclosed to institutions or facilities approved for the treatment of alcoholics and other drug addicts when the information is necessary to enable the facility to determine the best course of treatment for the individual.

Disclosure may be made to from the following systems of records:

  • 60-0089—Claims Folders System,

  • 60-0103—Supplemental Security Income Record and Special Veterans Benefits, and

  • 60-0320—Electronic Disability Benefits System.

(See GN 03301.040B. for a discussion of limitations on the disclosure of drug abuse and alcoholism records.)

5. Disclosure to Medical and Vocational Consultants

SSA or a State DDS may engage the services of private consultants to prepare for or evaluate consultative examinations or vocational assessments of individuals applying for disability benefits under sections 221 and 1633 of the Social Security Act. In these cases, relevant non-tax return information (including verification of SSNs) may be disclosed to the medical and vocational consultants.

Information may be disclosed under routine uses applicable to the following systems of records:

  • 60-0058—Master Files of Social Security Number (SSN) Holders and SSN Applications System,

  • 60-0089—Claims Folders System,

  • 60-0090—Master Beneficiary Record,

  • 60-0103—Supplemental Security Income Record and Special Veterans Benefits System, and

  • 60-0320—Electronic Disability Claims File.

See GN 03325.003 for instructions concerning verification of SSNs.

NOTE: Medical and vocational consultants’ reports prepared and submitted to SSA under contract become the property of SSA. The disclosure of these reports, including copies retained by the consultant, are subject to Regulation No. 1 rules on disclosure (20 C.F.R. § 401.20) and can be disclosed only as authorized by SSA. SSNs should be disclosed only when SSA determines that they are relevant to the matter at hand.

6. Disclosures to Claimant (or Other Individual Authorized to Act on His/Her Behalf) to Pursue a Claim for Recovery of Misapplied or Misused Benefits

Disclosure of the current address of the claimant’s representative payee may be disclosed from system of records 60-0222—Master Representative Payee File.

7. Disclosure to Employers and Former Employers, Including State Social Security Administrators for Correcting or Reconstructing State Employee Earnings Records and for Social Security Tax Purposes

Relevant tax return information provided by employers, former employers, and State Social Security administrators may be disclosed from the following systems of records:

  • 60-0058— Master Files of Social Security Number (SSN) Holders and SSN Applications,

  • 60-0059—Earnings Recording and Self-Employment Income System, and

  • 60-0089—Claims Folders System.

8. To Establish or Verify Information Provided by Representative Payees and Payee Applicants

Disclosure may be made to third parties where necessary to establish or verify information provided by representative payees or payee applicants. Relevant information may be disclosed from the following systems of records:

  • 60-0089—Claims Folders,

  • 60-0090—Master Beneficiary Record,

  • 60-0269—Prisoner Update Processing System (PUPS), and

  • 60-0320—Electronic Disability (eDib) Claims File.

NOTE: Do not disclose the address of a former payee to the current payee as this is not needed by the current payee to perform his/her duties as payee (see GN 03316.120.A.2.)

9. To Obtain Information to Determine a Representative Payee’s or Payee Applicant’s Suitability

Disclosure may be made to a third party where necessary to obtain information concerning a representative payee or payee applicant to obtain information on employment, sources of income, criminal justice records, stability of residence and other information relating to the qualifications and suitability of representative payees or payee applicants to serve as representative payees or their use of the benefits paid to them under section 205(j) of the Act. The disclosure should be limited to the identity of a payee or payee applicant, the fact of the person’s application for or service as payee, and, as necessary, the identity of the beneficiary. Disclosure may be made from the system of records, 60-0222—Master Representative Payee File.

10. To Assist SSA in Collecting Overpayments

Disclosure may be made to third party contacts (including private collection agencies) to assist SSA in collecting overpayments. Relevant information may be disclosed from the following systems of records:

  • 60-0089—Claims Folders System,

  • 60-0090—Master Beneficiary Record,

  • 60-0094—Recovery of Overpayments, Accounting and Reporting System,

  • 60-0103—Supplemental Security Income Record and Special Veterans Benefits System,

  • 60-0269—Prisoner Update Processing System (PUPS),

  • 60-0273—Social Security Title VIII Special Veterans Benefits Claims Development and Management Information System (San Francisco), and

  • 60-0320—Electronic Disability (eDib) Claims File.

B. Procedure

See GN 03316.001D.