HI 00825.125 Disclosure of Information
In the preparation of replies to requests for information, all personnel should be governed by the applicable basic instructions contained in GN 03300.000ff. Additional information, if necessary, may be secured by referring to sections 205., 1102., and 1106., of the Social Security Act, to Regulation No. 1, and the Privacy Act of 1974.
Ascertain, if possible, the relationship of the inquirer to the worker or beneficiary to determine whether the information may be disclosed or the request honored. (Follow the guides in GN 03300.000ff. If the information may not be furnished, advise the correspondent to that effect. In addition, if the information can be furnished directly to the worker, prepare such letter and advise the worker that he or she may show the letter to the correspondent if he or she desires. If a determination cannot be made as to the permissibility of disclosure on a particular request, refer the request, with the claims folder, to the I&E Staff.
Section 1106. of the Social Security Act provides that there shall be no disclosure of information except as prescribed by regulations. These restrictions are necessary because we have repeatedly given pledges to the public that information furnished us will be kept confidential, and will be used only in the administration of our various programs. Some wage earners and claimants would be reluctant to provide us with the accurate information we need if they believed it would be used for other purposes. In addition, the administration burden resulting from unrestricted disclosures would impair our efficiency in carrying out the basic purpose of our programs. Also, we do not always have the complete and accurate information requested. In those cases where information was denied by the DO or PSC and the person insists that his or her request be considered at a higher level, refer the matter to OURV through proper channels.
Handcarry requests for information or material received citing the Freedom of Information Act to the Inquiries and Expediting Staff immediately.
The Privacy Act (PA) of 1974 provides safeguards against an invasion of personal privacy. The PA grants to an individual the right of access to most information pertaining to him or her in a system of records; i.e., those records containing information about the individual that is maintained and retrieved by name, SSN, or other identifier.
Disclosure of information concerning the individual must be made to the individual upon request (or to the individual's authorized representative, legal guardian, etc.). Personally identifiable information may not be disclosed to third parties except in certain prescribed categories. The disclosure of information to any person will be governed by the provisions in GN 03300.000ff. Generally, requests specifically citing the PA or requesting access to records for which an accounting is required are handled by the I&R Staff.