TN 5 (05-18)

GN 03325.020 Social Security Numbers (SSN) on SSA Mailings

We must ensure the confidentiality of SSNs when mailing SSA correspondence. It is our policy that SSNs not be displayed on the outside of mailings, or be visible through envelopes.

A. Criteria for disclosing SSNs

When mailing SSA correspondence, take the following precautions:

1. Mailing an envelope to an individual

DO NOT show the addressee's SSN on the envelope or make it visible through envelopes.

2. Writing to one individual concerning others

DO NOT reveal the SSNs of any other individuals when writing to one individual concerning others unless the addressee otherwise has the right to that information.

EXAMPLE: When we write to one claimant, that person would not necessarily be entitled to know the SSNs of other claimants filing on the same record. However, if a parent has filed on behalf of one or more child(ren) and has listed the child(ren)'s SSN(s) on the application, we may refer to the SSN(s) in correspondence to that parent.

3. Requesting information from third parties

If requesting information from third parties:

  • DO NOT show the SSN of claimants or beneficiaries for the purpose of associating the reply with the file when it is returned to the field office (FO). Use another means of associating the material, such as an office unit number; and

  • DO NOT disclose the specific purpose for needing the information, such as “SSI benefits.” Use a general term such as “Social Security matter.”

EXAMPLE: “A” applies for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The FO sends an SSA-L4201 to the spouse's employer to determine deemed income which is relevant to the amount of “A's” SSI benefit. The FO should not include “A's” SSN on the SSA-L4201, and that “A” is filing for SSI benefits.

B. Sending SSNs via email

1. Internal transmission

SSNs and other personally identifiable information (PII) may be transmitted for official business purposes within our Microsoft Outlook and Exchange infrastructure. This includes all FOs, headquarters facilities, program service centers and regional offices, as well as trusted partners such as the State Disability Determination offices that are listed in our Microsoft Outlook Global Address List.

2. External transmission

Sending SSNs or other personally identifiable information via email outside of our network infrastructure that is not encrypted is prohibited, except to partners that have a secure email connection with us. The Office of Information Security maintains a full, updated list of SSA secure partner agencies. For more information regarding the use of encrypted email for business purposes, refer to the Information Security Policy.

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GN 03325.020 - Social Security Numbers (SSN) on SSA Mailings - 05/29/2018
Batch run: 03/08/2019