Under the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(8)), you may disclose non-tax return information
in compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual. SSA may
initiate a disclosure or respond to a request from an entity that could take action
on the information disclosed.
In these cases, the Privacy Act requires SSA to send a notice to the subject individual
informing him/her that the disclosure has been made. The Privacy Act does not mandate
a time period during which this notification must be sent. See GN 03312.065.
You may disclose information to:
The police or another appropriate party for the location, prosecution or detention
of an individual who has threatened another individual (including an SSA employee).
An appropriate mental health clinic, agency, hotline, etc., to report a threatened
There are also rare occasions in which a public or hospital official needs to identify
a deceased, amnesiac, unconscious or mentally incapacitated person. You may provide
information in this situation if the requester cannot obtain it from any other source.
Unless the person has filed a claim, the Form SS-5 would probably be SSA’s main source
Also, the DDS may disclose information to any public agency (such as a State Health
Department) responsible for the identification, location or treatment of individuals
who have medical conditions that are legally reportable and perilous to the health
or safety of themselves or the public.
The Privacy Act does not require us to warn individuals of threats made to their personal
health and safety by other individuals, nor does it prohibit us from doing so, when
such information is contained in our records. Under compelling circumstances, when
responding to a request or initiating a disclosure to local law enforcement concerning
a person causing a threat, we may likely want to warn the individual whose personal
health or safety is being threatened. Consult with the regional PAC for additional
guidance if the circumstances of the disclosure indicate or suggest that we warn the
individual whose personal health or safety is being threatened.