TN 3 (11-98)

GN 03301.002 Confidentiality and Disclosure - Acronyms and Special Terms

A. List of Acronyms

ACCESS Automated Controlled Correspondence Extraction System
ADAP Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient
AEQY Alpha Access to Employer Identification Query
AIDS Acquired immune-deficiency syndrome
AIMS Administrative Instructions Manual System
ALJ Administrative Law Judge
APA Administrative Procedures Act
ARC Assistant Regional Commissioner
BENDEX Beneficiary and Earnings Data Exchange
BEOG Basic Educational Opportunity Grants
BOC Bureau of the Census
CAN Claimant"s account number
CAP Community Action Program
CE Consultative examination
CENSUS Census Bureau
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CHAMPUS Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services
CMPPA Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act
CSE Child support enforcement
DCA Division of Civil Actions
DDS Disability Determination Service
DEFRA Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 (DEFRA)
DEQY Detailed Earnings Query
DHS Department of Homeland Security
DMF Death Master File
DOC Data Operations Center
DOE Department of Energy
DOEd Department of Education
DOI Department of the Interior
DOJ Department of Justice
DOL Department of Labor
DVA (VA) Department of Veterans Affairs
E/R Earnings record
EFOIA Electronic Freedom of Information Act
ERSEI Earnings Recording and Self-Employment Income
FICA Federal Insurance Contributions Act
FOI Freedom of Information
FOIA Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552)
FPLS Federal Parent Locator Service
FRC Federal Records Center
FSF Folder Staging Facility
FSP Foreign Service Post
FTS Federal Telecommunications System
GAO General Accounting Office
GC General Counsel
GPO Government Printing Office
CMS Center's for Medicare & Medicaid Services
HUD Department of Housing and Urban Development
IAR Interim Assistance Reimbursement
IASMI Indexes of Administrative Staff Manuals and Instructions
IEDS Independently entitled divorced spouse
IRC Internal Revenue Code (Title 26, U.S.C.)
LIEAP Low-Income Energy Assistance Program
NH Number holder, the person to whom a particular Social Security Number has been assigned
NUMIDENT Numerical Identification
OAO Office of Appeals Operations
OCPR Office of Claims and Payment Requirements
OCREO Office of Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity
OCRO Office of Central Records Operations
OCSE Office of Child Support Enforcement
OD Office of Disability
ODIO Office of Disability and International Operations
OFO Office of Financial Operations
OGC Office of the General Counsel
ODAR Office of Disability Adjucation and Review
OIG Office of the Inspector General
OM Office of Management
OMB Office of Management and Budget
OPI Office of Public Inquiries
OPIR Office of Program and Integrity Reviews
OPM Office of Personnel Management
OPR Office of Pre-Claims Requirements
PA Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a)
PHS Public Health Service
PIA Primary Insurance Amount
P.L. Public Law
PLS Parent Locator Service
POMS Program Operations Manual System
POS Program Operations and Systems
PSRO Professional Standards Review Organization
RC Regional Commissioner
RFPA Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978
RO Regional Office
RRB Railroad Retirement Board
RUIA Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act
RUSB Records Use and Services Branch
SCS Sensitive Case Staff
SDX State Data Exchange
SEQY Summary Earnings Query
SMI Supplementary Medical Insurance
SOLQ State Online Query
SSN Social Security Number
SSR Supplemental Security Record
SVES State Verification Exchange System
TANF Temporary Assistance For Needy Families
TIN Tax identification number
TPQY Third Party Query System
TSC Teleservice Center
UC Unemployment compensation
U.S.C United States Code
USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture
USPS U.S. Postal Service
VR Vocational rehabilitation
WC Workers" compensation

B. Glossary - Jargon and Special Terms

Access The release of a record to the individual to whom it pertains, or to the parent of a minor or the legal guardian of an incompetent person when the parent or guardian is acting on behalf of his/her ward.


NOTE: This does not include release to representative payees or authorized representatives. See “Disclosure” below.
Accounting A record kept of any disclosure made without the subject individual"s consent, excluding records of disclosure within SSA or under the FOIA.
Adverse action A claim filed by an individual which has an adverse effect on the claim of another person or persons already on the rolls . Adverse actions are of two types, “adverse claim” and “adverse adjustment,” which are defined separately below. (See GN 01010.110.)
Adverse adjustment A type of “adverse action” (defined above) in which an award of benefits to a new claimant will reduce benefit payments to another beneficiary already on the rolls.


EXAMPLE:   One or more auxiliaries become entitled when there are already beneficiaries in another household. The family maximum requires the benefits to the earlier beneficiaries to be reduced.
Adverse claim A type of “adverse action” (defined above) in which an award of benefits to a new claimant, or reinstatement of benefits to a beneficiary, results in the nonentitlement of a prior claimant.
Agency See “Federal agency” and “State agency.”
Applicant An individual who has applied (submitted a written request for benefits) on behalf of himself/herself or on behalf of another person. (See “claimant” below for the relationship between “applicant” and “claimant.”)


The status of “applicant” continues until:
  • There has been a final determination on the claim, or

  • Another party has been determined to be the proper applicant, or

  • It has been determined that the individual himself/herself should file (when the applicant has filed on behalf of someone else).

Authorized representative An individual appointed in writing by another individual to represent the latter individual before SSA and who has been accepted by SSA. Only an individual, not a firm or organization, may be an authorized representative. If an attorney is a member of a law firm or Legal Aid Society, the individual attorney, and not the law firm or Legal Aid Society, is the authorized representative.


NOTE: Authorized representatives are most often attorneys, but they may also be paralegals, members of the clergy, physicians, or any other responsible person acceptable to SSA.
Beneficiary A person entitled to benefits or payments under any Social Security program. When there is a representative payee, the person on whose behalf the benefits are payable is the beneficiary.


A “primary beneficiary” is a NH entitled to benefits based on his/her own work record. An “auxiliary beneficiary” is someone entitled to benefits based on someone else"s work record, by virtue of relationship to the NH.
Blue Book An informal name for the Social Security Administration Privacy Act Notices of Systems of Records  (published with a blue cover), described below under its complete title.
Claimant A person on whose behalf a claim has been filed. Someone applying on his/her own behalf is both “applicant” and “claimant.” A person applying on someone else"s behalf is the “applicant” and the person on whose behalf the claim was filed is the “claimant.”
Court of competent jurisdiction A court that has legal authority to hear a particular case.
Court order An order signed by the judge of a court. (An order signed by a clerk is not a court order.)
Designated representative A responsible individual designated in writing by an individual (or by a parent or guardian on behalf of his/her ward) seeking access to his/her own medical records (or the ward"s records).
Disclosure The release or showing of personal information about an individual to a third party, other than to a parent or guardian exercising access rights on behalf of his/her ward. (See “access” above.)


NOTE: The term does not include release of information to the individual to whom it pertains, nor release to a minor"s parent or legal guardian if the parent or guardian is acting on the individual"s behalf. These situations are considered “access” (see GN 03340.000).
Federal agency (For purposes of disclosure by SSA), any component of the Executive Branch of the United States Federal Government, other than SSA or any component thereof, or any other party acting as agent for a Federal agency.


NOTE: The term does not include any Federal court, the Congress, nor any component or agency thereof (such as GAO). SSA defines itself as one “agency” for PA purposes.
Health-maintenance program Any noncommercial program (such as Medicare and Medicaid) designed to provide an individual with health care (both prevention and treatment) or to subsidize the cost of such care. A commercial insurance company may administer such a program for a State or local agency.
Income-maintenance program Any noncommercial program designed to:
  • provide an individual with basic necessities of life (such as food, clothing, shelter and utilities), or

  • supplement the individual"s income to permit the purchase of such necessities.

Income maintenance programs include subsidized housing, food stamps, TANF, general assistance, title XX services, fuel subsidies, workers compensation, unemployment compensation, government pension programs, and State supplementation. Loan programs are not income maintenance programs.

Incompetent A person who has been declared incompetent by a court and for whom a legal guardian has been appointed.
Individual A human being, living or deceased.
Maintain To keep, collect, use or disseminate a record or to have control over or responsibility for a system of records.
Minor An individual considered to be a minor under applicable State law.
Notification Telling an individual whether or not he/she is the subject of a system of records. Under the PA, an individual
  • may request to be notified whether a particular system contains a record pertaining to him/her, and

  • must be given access to that record upon request (with certain exceptions).

Numident SSA"s computerized system of numerical identification for individuals, consisting of each person"s name, together with other identifying information such as date and place of birth, parents" names, etc., plus the SSN assigned to that person.
Public (For purposes of the FOIA), any individual or entity other than a Federal agency or a Federal or State court.
Record Any item, collection, or grouping of information about an individual that SSA maintains by the individual"s name, SSN, or other personal identifier.
Return information See “tax return information” below.
Routine use Use of a record, with respect to its disclosure, for a purpose which is compatible with the purpose for which it was collected.


NOTE: “Routine use” is not disclosure; it is use for a particular purpose by the recipient. After an agency discloses a record, then the recipient uses it.
Routine use disclosure Disclosure pursuant to paragraph (b)(3) of the PA, which requires that the disclosure be:
  • To a recipient named in the agency"s published notice of systems of records,

  • For a purpose listed in the published notice,

  • For a purpose which is compatible with the purposes for which the disclosing agency initially collected or compiled the information.

Social Security Administration Privacy Act Notices of Systems of Records A book published periodically by SSA, as required by the PA, which lists all systems of records maintained by SSA along with the system manager and routine uses established for each system of records, and other information (informally referred to as the “Blue Book”).


  • The component responsible for administration of Title II, Title XVI, and certain other parts of the Social Security Act; and

  • DDSs, but only when making determinations of disability.

NOTE: “SSA” does not include:

  • CMS, or

  • Officers or employees of parent agencies, such as State Departments of Human Resources or other related components, or

  • Agents of SSA (other than DDSs).

State agency

  • Any component of the Executive Branch of the government of any State or other territory or possession of the United States (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, etc.), or

  • Any agency of a subdivision of a State, such as a county, city, or township, or

  • Any other party acting as agent for a State agency.

NOTE: The term does not include:

  • A State legislature or any agency thereof,

  • A State or local court, or

  • A city or town council, etc., or

  • A Native American tribe or agency thereof.

NOTE: Although Native American tribes are independent of any State government, the tribes and their agencies may, like State agencies, invoke the FOIA in requesting personal information from the Federal government. Therefore the same laws and procedures generally apply regarding disclosure to the tribes as to disclosure to the States.

Statistical record A record which is:
  • In a system of records maintained only for statistical research and reporting purposes, and

  • Not used in whole or in part to make a determination about an identifiable individual (except as provided by section 8 of title 13, U.S.C.)

Subject individual The individual to whom a record pertains.
System manager The SSA official responsible for confidentiality of or disclosure from a system of records.
System of records A collection of information which:
  • Is maintained by a Federal agency (or its agent);

  • Pertains to a number of individuals; and

  • Is arranged so that information about a particular individual can be retrieved by name, SSN, or other personal identifier.

Tax return information Information taken from a tax return filed with IRS.


NOTE: “Returns filed with IRS” include forms W-2, which employers submit to SSA, since SSA forwards the forms to IRS after extracting the wage information.


EXAMPLE: Information taken from SSA"s posted earnings records, such as wages and self-employment income, name and address of employer, dates of employment, and the fact that earnings are or are not posted for a given period (but not information alleged on an SSA application form or other paper that is not a tax return).
Wage information Includes:
  • Information about both wages and self- employment income as defined in title II of the Social Security Act, and

  • The name, address and employer identification number of an employer reporting wages for Social Security purposes.

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GN 03301.002 - Confidentiality and Disclosure - Acronyms and Special Terms - 08/01/2008
Batch run: 09/08/2010