Identification Number:
GN 03313 TN 3
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:Office of the General Counsel
Title:Disclosure to Federal Agencies and Officials
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part GN – General
Chapter 033 – Disclosure/Confidentiality of Information
Subchapter 13 – Disclosure to Federal Agencies and Officials
Transmittal No. 3, 12/28/2018

Audience

PSC: BA, CA, CS, DE, DEC, DS, ICDS, IES, ISRA, PETE, RECONR, SCPS, SPIKE, TSA, TST;
OCO-OEIO: BTE, BTE TE, CR, CTE, CTE TE, EIE, FCR, FDE, RECONE, RECONR, RECOVR;
OCO-ODO: BET, BTE, CR, CST, CTE, CTE TE, DE, DEC, DES, DS, IS, PAS, PETE, PETL, RCOVTA, RECONE, RECOVR;
OEO: DOSPA, OSSPA, WBDOCPA;
ODD-DDS: DHU;
FO/TSC: CS, CS TII, CS TXVI, CSR, CTE, FR, OS, RR, TA, TSC-CSR;

Originating Component

OPD

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

Background

We are updating these sections, as a part of the publication process. We are not introducing new policy or procedures.

Summary of Changes

GN 03313.070 Disclosure to the Department of Justice (DOJ)

We are correcting broken links that pertain to disclosures of information for law enforcement purposes.

GN 03313.095 Disclosure to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

We are correcting broken links that pertain to disclosures of information for law enforcement purposes.

GN 03313.070 Disclosure to the Department of Justice (DOJ)

We provide general instructions for disclosing information from our systems of records to other Federal agencies and officials and a link to our systems of records and their applicable routine uses in GN 03313.001. If you receive a request from DOJ, contact your regional Privacy Act Coordinator.

Disclosures to assist us in administering Social Security programs

We disclose information to DOJ to investigate and prosecute violations of the Social Security Act and for other purposes associated with our administration of the Social Security Act.

A. DOJ litigation matters

We established a routine use in many of our systems of records that allows disclosure to DOJ. The routine use reads as follows:

To DOJ, a court or other tribunal, or another party before such court or tribunal when:

  • SSA, or any component thereof; or

  • any SSA employee in his/her official capacity; or

  • any SSA employee in his/her individual capacity where DOJ (or SSA where it is authorized to do so) has agreed to represent the employee; or

  • the United States or any agency thereof where SSA determines the litigation is likely to affect SSA or any of its components, is a party to the litigation or has an interest in such litigation,

and SSA determines that the use of such records by DOJ, a court or other tribunal, or another party before the tribunal is relevant and necessary to the litigation, provided, however, that in each case, the agency determines that disclosure of the records to DOJ, court or other tribunal, or another party is a use of the information contained in the records that is compatible with the purpose for which the records were collected.

This routine use permits us to disclose non-tax return information in our records. We may only disclose tax return information in DOJ litigation matters if expressly permitted by the Internal Revenue Code.

N OTE : For restitution cases, the DOJ routine use permits disclosure through the restitution period, as the DOJ Financial Litigation Unit is empowered to enforce the restitution which arose from the criminal proceedings.

B. DOJ tort claims

The DOJ Federal Tort Claims Act staff defends the Federal government against tort suits including such areas as medical malpractice, personal injuries attributed to the actions of government employees, and governmental regulatory activities.

We may disclose certain non-tax return information to DOJ to defend another Federal agency against a tort claim against the United States (U.S.), when the U.S. Attorney presents a valid written consent statement authorizing the disclosure, or a Federal court order directs us to disclose information that satisfies SSA’s regulatory requirements for a court order (20 C.F.R. § 401.180). We should seek a protective order if we are disclosing the information pursuant to a Federal court order.

We only disclose tax return information if we have written authorization from the subject of the record or from the Internal Revenue Service.

Field offices should refer all requests from U.S. Attorneys to the regional office (RO) through the regional Privacy Act Coordinator (PAC). The RO or regional PAC, in turn, should refer such requests to the Regional Office of the General Counsel, who can consult with the Office of Privacy and Disclosure if needed.

C. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

With a valid law enforcement request, we may disclose non-tax information to the FBI:

  • to investigate or prosecute fraud or other abuse in an SSA program;

  • to investigate fraud or abuse in income maintenance or health maintenance programs in Native American Territories; or

  • in cases involving national security or threats to the lives of government officials. For more information about disclosures for national security situations, see GN 03312.085.

D. DOJ Tax Division

We release non-tax return and tax return information to the Tax Division of the DOJ, as authorized by applicable laws and regulations, for use in preparing cases for litigation involving tax liability or employment tax refunds.

We release certain non tax return information to DOJ and its Tax Division under routine uses permitting such disclosures. IRC 6103 (h)(2) permits us to disclose tax return information to DOJ and its Tax Division for purposes specified in that provision, or as authorized by other legal authority.

E. DOJ - Office of Special Investigations (OSI)

We must disclose certain non-tax return information when DOJ, OSI requests it for the purpose of identifying, locating, or taking appropriate action against suspected Nazi war criminals in the United States.

We can disclose the following information in response to an OSI request:

  • verification of Social Security Numbers (SSN);

  • correct SSNs if sufficient identifying information is provided to locate a correct number, and

  • non-tax return information relating to the identity and location of aliens in the United States (e.g., date and place of birth and address).

ROs, FOs, teleservice centers, and other agency components should refer these requests to the Office of Privacy and Disclosure.

GN 03313.095 Disclosure to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

We provide general instructions for disclosing information from our systems of records to other Federal agencies and officials and a link to our systems of records and their applicable routine uses in GN 03313.001. If you receive a request from DHS, please contact your regional Privacy Act Coordinator (PAC).

A. Disclosure to DHS administered programs

DHS offices and agencies request Social Security Number (SSN) and number holder information from our records. We often receive requests from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We share information with DHS through centralized data exchange agreements. DHS uses the information we provide to identify and locate aliens living in the United States.

We also share information about potential employees with employers and USCIS through the centralized E-Verify process, which has its own routine use in the Master Files of Social Security Number (SSN) Holders and SSN Application system of records (Numident). The E-Verify process screens job applicants in order to verify their authorization to work in the United States. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals they hire for employment, to preclude the unlawful hiring of aliens who are not authorized to work in the United States. For more information about the E-Verify process, see RM 10245.015.

B. Disclosure for DHS, USCIS purposes

We may honor a request for information received from DHS and any of its related offices if the request meets the criteria for disclosure. A request from DHS must:

  • involve identifying and or locating aliens in the United States; or

  • meet the law enforcement criteria for disclosure found in GN 03312.080; or

  • meet the limited criteria under which we may disclose tax return information discussed in item A.2 below.

1. Aliens

The Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1360(b)) requires us to disclose to DHS information concerning the identity and location of aliens in the United States. Such information includes:

  • SSN;

  • name

  • date of birth;

  • place of birth; and,

  • address information.

NOTE:: 

We may disclose the above information only if the information will help DHS identify and or locate aliens in the United States. We do not disclose any other information in response to these types of requests.

The request must also contain enough identifying information, (e.g., SSN, name, date of birth, place of birth, mother’s maiden name, and father’s name), to help us search for the requested information. If a request does not indicate that the subject of the request is an alien and the information is contained in our records, we may disclose information if our records indicate that the subject of the request was an alien at the time we issued a SSN to that person. In this case, an entry other than “A” will appear in the citizenship (CSP) field in the birth line on the Numident record.

2. Earnings

Name and address information included in wage reports we receive from employers and self-employed persons is considered tax return information. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) generally prohibits disclosure of this information. However, the IRC authorizes us to make certain discretionary disclosures to DHS in accordance with the Privacy Act. Therefore, we may disclose the name and address of aliens and employers reporting earnings for aliens to whom we issued SSNs for non-work purposes. We consider a request for this information to be program-related since it helps us protect the integrity of the SSN issuance program and detect SSN misuse. We do not charge fees for providing information for program-related purposes.

a. Pre-1997 earnings posted to SSN issued for non-work purposes

The IRC prohibits disclosure of pre-1997 earnings posted to SSNs issued for non-work purposes. The only exception is when we initiate the disclosure. Refer requests for pre-1997 earnings information to the Office of Privacy and Disclosure (OPD) through your regional PAC.

b. Post-1997 earnings posted to SSN issued for non-work purposes

The Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. § 1360(c)(2)) requires us to disclose certain information to DHS about aliens who have earnings posted to SSNs that were issued for non-work purposes after January 1, 1997. The information that we may disclose is the:

  • name and address of the alien;

  • name and address of the person reporting the earnings; and

  • amount of the earnings posted.

We make these disclosures annually to DHS in electronic format. Refer requests for post-1997 earnings posted to SSNs issued for non-work purposes to OPD through your regional PAC.

c. Educational and decentralized correspondence letters

DHS has responsibility for making determinations regarding an employee’s legal status. We do not disclose information regarding our W-2 suspense file or any information concerning whether a particular employer would have received, did receive, or was qualified to receive, an Educational Correspondence (EdCor) Letter or a Decentralized Correspondence (DeCor) Letter identifying employees whose names and SSNs may not match our records. We have not sent these letters to employers since tax year 2005, due to a court injunction against DHS. Consult your Employee Service Liaison Officer if you receive a request for an EdCor or DeCor Letter.

3. Law enforcement

DHS usually requests information for the purpose of identifying and locating aliens in the United States. However, we may also receive requests from DHS’ CBP and ICE that relate to law enforcement. These requests must meet the criteria for a valid law enforcement request, as described in GN 03312.080. Although uncommon, CBP, ICE, or other DHS components may request information about a U.S. citizen.

The DHS United States Secret Service (USSS) protects the President and other high-level officials and investigates counterfeiting and other financial crimes, including financial institution fraud, identity theft, computer fraud, and computer-based attacks on our nation’s financial, banking, and telecommunications infrastructure. We may disclose information to the USSS in response to requests involving national security or threats to the lives of government officials. Refer these requests to OPD through your regional PAC.

Field offices and other agency components also get involved with and maintain certain investigatory records when developing fraud cases. These cases, Program Integrity Case Files, are under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Office of Investigations.

4. Requests received in a Teleservice Center (TSC)

We may receive calls from the DHS in the TSC. Advise the caller that the request must be in writing on official agency letterhead. The request must specifically state that the subject person is an alien. Provide the address below to the caller for mailing the request to the appropriate office for processing:

USCIS District Manager
Fallon Federal Building
31 Hopkins Plaza, First Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201

If the caller indicates that an emergency exists, refer the caller to the regional PAC through a TSC manager. The PAC should process the request only if we have authority to disclose the requested information. Otherwise, refer the request to OPD for processing. Also, refer any questions regarding the appropriateness of a disclosure to OPD for guidance.

 


GN 03313 TN 3 - Disclosure to Federal Agencies and Officials - 12/28/2018