TN 1 (09-91)

GN 03360.035 Accounting for Disclosure under the Privacy Act

A. Policy - Accounting Records

The PA requires SSA to keep a record of each disclosure of information except FOIA disclosures and disclosures within HHS. HHS regulations also provide that no accounting will be required for disclosures made with the individual's consent.

An accounting must include the name and address of the individual or agency to whom the disclosure was made and the date, nature, and purpose of the disclosure. It must be maintained in the claims folder (if one exists) for 5 years or the life of the record (until the record is destroyed), whichever is longer.

If the office making the disclosure does not have the folder, it should forward the accounting record to the office having the folder (e.g., PSCs, ODIO, or the FSO). The material or route slip should be annotated “prong file—right side.”

B. Policy - When to Account

1. Disclosures to Federal Agencies and Federal or State Courts

Disclosures to Federal agencies and Federal or State courts are made under the provisions of the PA and not under the FOIA. (See GN 03301.015.B.2.) Thus, an accounting for disclosure is required.

2. SSA-Initiated Disclosures

SSA-initiated disclosures are made from a system of records under provisions of the PA:

  • if a notice of routine use has been published which designates an agency to which disclosure is to be made (see GN 03301.020.B.4.), or

  • under compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual (see GN 03316.135).

SSA-initiated disclosures require an accounting.

C. Procedure - Claims and Post-adjudicative Cases

SSA should collect most claims-related data from the claimant or applicant himself/herself. However, in some cases, SSA must collect the data from third parties and a disclosure is involved.

1. General

In most cases in which you contact a third party to request a document or evidence:

  • use the form or letter of request as the record of the disclosure.

  • retain the file copy of the request and annotate it as to why SSA made the contact;, e.g., the subject individual was unable to read and write or could not afford the fee; the custodian would not give the information to the individual;, or SSA had to verify information given by the individual.

When sending an accounting to the PSC for filing, mark the form “prong file—right side.”

In all cases when an office makes a disclosure, a copy of the form or memorandum through which the disclosure was made, or a report of contact will suffice as a record of the disclosure. Do not complete a separate report of contact if there is another record of this disclosure.

2. No Response

If contact is made with a third party and no response is received:

  • document the file since a disclosure could have been made even though the third party chose not to respond.

  • retain the carbon copy of the request to the third party.

  • record the disclosure on a report of contact if a third party is contacted by telephone.

3. Post-Adjudicative Cases

In post-adjudicative cases, attach the accounting to the development being forwarded to the processing center in order that it be made a permanent part of the claims folder. If the office making the disclosure does not have the folder, it should forward the accounting to the office having the folder; e.g., PSCs, ODIO, etc.

D. Procedure - Nonclaims Situations

For disclosures without consent in nonclaims situations (third party contacts in connection with a wage record item or earnings discrepancy or disclosure without consent of an SSN to an employer) take the following actions:

  • Annotate the wage record item or earnings discrepancy developments with the accounting information listed in item A. above for such disclosures.

  • Annotate materials forwarded to OCRO for pre-entitlement filing, if appropriate.

EXCEPTION: For correspondence sent to OCRO, if no claims file exists, file the record of accounting in the FO.


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