GN PHI03350.005 Refusals to Disclose Under the Freedom of Information Act

See GN 03350.005

A. Denials

1. General

The withholding of requested information in whole or in part from a member of the public constitutes an FOIA denial. Under HHS regulations, only SSA's Freedom of Information (FOI) Officer may withhold SSA records under the FOIA. If a denial of a request for information appears to be proper, it cannot be processed at the field office level. Such requests must be routed to the Regional FOI Coordinator for processing. Therefore, the FOIA request, the basis for the proposed denial and all pertinent background material should be forwarded to:

Social Security Administration

Regional FOI Coordinator

P.O. Box 8788

Philadelphia, PA 19101


Because the FOIA requires a decision on a request be provided within 10 days of receipt, all FOIA requests should be handled expeditiously. An acknowledgement letter patterned after that in GN PHI03350.005A.2 should be issued to the individual making the FOIA request.

Any questions on this procedure should be directed to the Regional FOI Coordinator at Commercial (215) 597-2354.

2. Sample Acknowledgement Letter

Mr. John Doe

123 Main Street

Anytown, U.S.A 12345

Dear Mr. Doe:

This refers to your request for information about (fill in the subject).

We do not have the authority to respond to your request. That authority is vested in the Social Security Administration's Freedom of Information (FOI) Officer in our headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. Accordingly, we have transferred your request to the FOI Officer for a response.

Further inquiries about your request should be directed to the FOI Officer at the following address:

Freedom of Information Officer
Social Security Administration
4-A-11 Annex Building
6401 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21235


District/Branch Manager

A copy of the acknowledgement letter should be included with the material forwarded to the Regional FOI Coordinator. Do not send any material directly to the FOI Officer in central office.

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GN PHI03350.005 - Refusals to Disclose Under the Freedom of Information Act - 02/07/2013
Batch run: 02/07/2013