BASIC (09-05)

GN 03312.040 Valid Law Enforcement Requests

A. Policy - Valid Requests

A request from a law enforcement agency must:

  • be in writing on the agency’s letterhead,

  • specify the records being requested,

  • explain why the records are needed, and

  • be signed by a supervisory official of the requesting office

NOTE: Under the Office of Management and Budget Guidelines Circular A-108 which implements the Privacy Act, the law enforcement official signing the request must not be below the section chief level. Thus, a request signed by an officer or detective of a law enforcement agency is not acceptable.

Field offices (FO) should rely on their knowledge of local law enforcement agencies to determine whether a request is from the proper person.

B. Policy - Identifying Information Required

A request for information must contain sufficient information for SSA to identify the individual about whom information is sought. A request must be in writing and should contain the individual’s name, SSN, and date of birth. If the request does not include the individual’s SSN, it should include his/her name and date of birth, and at least one of the following:

  • place of birth,

  • mother’s maiden name, or

  • father’s name

See GN 03312.001E., Chart, if a request contains less than the required identifying information.

C. Policy - Request Includes Name and SSN Only

Disclose information when a request includes only the name and SSN when you can positively locate a single record in SSA files containing that exact name and SSN. If there is any uncertainty as to whether the name and SSN provided match information in SSA records, do not disclose.

D. Policy - Request For Name When Only the SSN is Provided

Providing a name to match an SSN when no other identifying information is provided (e.g., date of birth, place of birth, father’s name, and mother’s maiden name) is restricted to the most sensitive law enforcement situations or health and safety situations.

Law enforcement requests of this type should be referred to the Office of Public Disclosure, Office of the General Counsel, through the component Privacy Act Coordinator, for advice on handling.

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GN 03312.040 - Valid Law Enforcement Requests - 09/12/2005
Batch run: 01/27/2009