An individual who visits a Field Office (FO) with a relative or other third party
as a helper, or phones a FO or Teleservice Center (TSC) with the helper present, can
ask SSA to relay information through the helper. This may be necessary because the
subject individual has a hearing impairment, does not understand English well, etc.
SSA's policy in this situation is to:
establish the subject individual's identity in the usual manner (see GN 03340.015B); and
comply with the request, as long as the helper is physically present with the subject
individual in the FO or is connected with the individual in the same phone call with
If a return phone call is necessary, the SSA employee must again speak briefly with
the subject individual to verify his or her presence.
CAUTION: This is considered access, not disclosure with consent. (The latter requires written consent.) This policy applies only when the helper is present with the subject individual,
either in a FO or at the location where a phone call to SSA originates. It does not
apply if the helper phones SSA on the individual's behalf without the individual also
on the line, or if the individual asks us to make a separate phone call to the helper.