The Privacy Act and our regulations at 20 C.F.R. § 401.155 explain the situations
under which we may disclose program information for a law enforcement activity if
we receive a valid law enforcement request:
criminal activity involving serious crimes (e.g., murder, rape, or kidnapping) where the individual about whom information is
being sought has been indicted or convicted of that crime.
When disclosing information under bullet one, we will only disclose information about
the individual that has been indicted or convicted of the crime, consistent with 20
C.F.R. § 401.155(b).
investigation or prosecution of criminal activity involving fraud or
abuse in our programs or other government income-maintenance or health-maintenance programs
(e.g., other governmental pension programs, unemployment compensation, general assistance,
Medicare or Medicaid). The information must concern eligibility, benefit amounts or
other matters of benefit status in a Social Security program and be relevant to determining
the same matters in the other income- or health-maintenance program.
When disclosing information under bullet two in this section (20 C.F.R. § 401.155(c)),
where possible, we will only disclose information pertaining to individuals who are
the subject of the investigation, indictment, prosecution, or conviction. However,
if the law enforcement agency provides sufficient justification for why victims or
other parties’ information is relevant and necessary to its investigation, we may
disclose such information. For privacy reasons, disclosure of victim or other party
information should be a rare occurrence. Please consult with the Office of Privacy and
Disclosure when there are questions concerning disclosure of a victims or other parties’ information
or what constitutes a valid indictment.
The Privacy Act and our regulations at 20 C.F.R. § 401.110(g) explain the situations
under which we may disclose non-program information for a law enforcement purposes
if we receive a valid law enforcement request:
to another agency or to an instrumentality of any governmental jurisdiction within
or under the control of the United States for a civil or criminal law enforcement
activity if the activity is authorized by law.
In addition to the above situations where we may disclose information under the law
enforcement exception to the Privacy Act, we may disclose program or non-program information
for law enforcement purposes in the following situations:
if the subject of record consents to the disclosure (follow the procedures in GN 03305);
if there is a compelling situation involving health and safety of an individual (follow
the procedures in GN 03312.095);
if the system of records notice from which we are disclosing the information has a
routine use allowing SSA to disclose the information. For instance, many agency systems
of records notices include a routine use permitting disclosures for investigations
or prosecutions of persons engaging in activities that jeopardize or could jeopardize
the security and safety of members of the public served by us, our employees or workplace,
or that otherwise disrupt the operations of our facilities (including State Disability
Determination Service facilities). In this instance, we can generally disclose information
to Federal, State, or local law enforcement agencies, as well as private security
in exceptional cases involving law enforcement activities in which a disclosure is
not allowed under other disclosure regulations, the Commissioner or a designee may
approve, on a case-by-case basis, the disclosure of non-tax return information under
the ad hoc disclosure provisions of the regulation (20 C.F.R. § 401.195).