TN 7 (04-19)

GN 03340.010 Processing Access Requests for SSA Records

A. Procedure for processing access requests

Individuals can make access requests by mailing their request to the system of records manager for the system of record the individual is seeking access to or by visiting their local Social Security office. The receiving component should process an individual’s request for records, if the access request was properly made and the information is available. If the request was properly made but the information is not available to the receiving component, forward the request to the appropriate component for processing. If the request was not properly made, direct the requester on how to make a proper request.

If we are unable to provide the requested information within 30 days, send a notice to the requester to:

  • acknowledge receipt of the request;

  • explain their reason for the delay; and

  • advise of an approximate date when we may be able to send the requested information.

B. Procedure for obtaining guidance on access requests

If you receive an individual's request for access to his or her records and you need additional guidance, request assistance as shown in the following chart:



Field offices (FO)

Regional Office Privacy Act Coordinator (RO PAC)

Program Service Centers (PSC)


Office of Central Operations (OCO)

Operations Analysis (OA) staff

Central Office (CO)

Office of Privacy and Disclosure (OPD)

NOTE: The RO PAC, PSC, or OA should consult with OPD on any concerns with Privacy Act requests, or if the request contains a high risk of litigation.

C. Requests for a claim folder or claim folder material

The Payment Center Action Control System (PCACS) query provides information on the status and location of actions and folders in progress. An “image on file” is not a folder; therefore, do not send a request for a folder when this remark is present on PCACS. Determine if a paper or electronic folder exists. If the paper claim folder is physically located in the FO, or an electronic folder exists, the FO will process the access request, including undertaking any development necessary to release medical records.

Most paper folders are stored in the National Records Center located in Independence, Missouri. Components can query PCACS to learn the folder location and request the folder from these locations. If an FO receives an access request for a title II or XVI claim folder located in a PSC, send the request to that office for processing. The PSC will respond directly to the requester.

1. Requests for material from the claim folder

Some access requests are for a specific document or information located in the claim folder. To process these requests, see GN 01070.600.

2. Requests for the entire claim folder

When the PCACS query shows a location of “CAVE,” you must request the folder using the Diary Request Menu screen in PCACS. Do not forward these requests to the PSC, as this results in multiple handling and unnecessary delays.

3. Requests for the Title XVI folder

The servicing FO is also responsible for responding to requests for access to title XVI folder information.

D. Requests for earnings information

An individual requesting detailed earnings information, which includes the names and addresses of employers, must complete Form SSA-7050-F4 (Request for Social Security Earnings Information). Requesters must mail the completed form and the appropriate fee to the address shown on the form. OCO will not process the request until it receives the appropriate fee.

The FO can provide (in person or by mail or fax) an immediate earnings query (DEQY, or other online query to which the FO has access) if an individual has an urgent need for the earnings information and cannot wait to receive Form SSA-1826 (Itemized Statement of Earnings), in response to the SSA-7050-F4. In these instances, the FO must accept the allegation of urgent need and explain the entries on the query in writing or in a face-to-face or telephone interview before providing the earnings information.

For detailed information about processing requests for queries, see Disclosing Queries in GN 03305.004. For more information about processing requests for tax return information, see GN 03320.001E.

E. Requests for summary earnings or benefits estimate

Online Social Security Statements (Statement) are available to individuals, age 18 and older, who registered with my Social Security. The online Statement provides immediate access to earnings records, estimates of retirement, disability and survivor’s benefits, and any additional information usually displayed on the paper version of the Statement. Access to the online Statement is available from our internet website at Under our current policy, workers attaining ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60 who are not receiving Social Security benefits and who are not registered for a my Social Security account will receive a paper Statement in the mail about 3 months before their birthday. After age 60, people will receive a Statement every year.

F. Requests for SS-5s and Numidents

We often receive requests for a copy of Form SS-5 (Application for a Social Security Card) or a full Numident printout, a query that displays information extracted from the application for an original SSN card and subsequent replacement cards. For additional information about processing requests for SS-5s and Numidents, see the following chart:



Numidents and SSN Printouts

GN 03325.025

SS-5s involving extreme age

GN 03350.005

SS-5s for deceased individuals

GN 03315.010

G. Requests for Benefit Verification (BEVE) letter

If a beneficiary or recipient is receiving title II or XVI benefits or payments, or has Medicare, he or she may request a BEVE letter from our internet website at my Social Security. The online BEVE application automatically mails the BEVE letter to the address of record.

In all other instances, use the Inquiry Response Benefit Verification screen or the paper Form SSA-2458 (Report of Confidential Social Security Benefit Information) to manually generate a BEVE letter or respond to benefit and payment questions.

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GN 03340.010 - Processing Access Requests for SSA Records - 05/25/2011
Batch run: 04/26/2019