Social Security Administration Notice of System of Records Required by the Privacy Act of 1974

System number: 60-0009

System name:  Hearings and Appeals Case Control System, Social Security Administration, Office of Hearings and Appeals.

Security classification:  None.

System location Social Security Administration, Office of Hearings and Appeals, 5107 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041.

Records also are maintained at each hearing office (see Appendix F for address information).

Categories of individuals covered by the system:  Claimants ‑ title II (Retirement and Survivors Insurance (RSI) and Disability Insurance (DI)); title XI (claimants subject to Professional Standards Review); title XVI (Supplemental Security Income (SSI)); and title XVIII (Hospital Insurance (HI)). 

Categories of records in the system:  Social Security number (SSN), name, type of claim, last action on case/date, location of case (office), date of receipt, hearing request (date/type/

schedule date/request for review date), Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), cross reference number and the disposition of the case.

Authority for maintenance of the system:  Sections 205, 1631(d)(1), and 1872 of the Social Security Act (the Act), as amended.

Purpose(s):  The system retains the history of a case.  It tracks case movement through the hearing office and the court levels with information on major events in each area being retained.  The system is the source for data for both recurring and one‑time management information reports.

Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses:  Disclosure may be made for routine uses as indicated below.  However, disclosure of any information constituting “returns or return information” within the scope of the Internal Revenue Code will not be disclosed unless disclosure is authorized by that statute.

1.  To a congressional office in response to an inquiry from that office made at the request of the subject of a record.

2.  To the Department of Justice (DOJ), a court or other tribunal, or another party before such tribunal when:

            a) SSA, or any component thereof; or

            b) SSA employee in his/her official capacity; or

            c) 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

            d) the United States or any agency thereof where SSA determines that the litigation is likely to affect the operations of SSA or any of its components,  is a party to litigation or has an interest in such litigation, and SSA determines that the use of such records by DOJ, the court or other tribunal is relevant and necessary to the litigation, provided, however, that in each case, SSA determines that such disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the records were collected.

            Wage and other information which are subject to the disclosure provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), (26 U.S.C. § 6103) will not be disclosed under this routine use unless disclosure is expressly permitted by the IRC.

3.  Information may be disclosed to contractors and other Federal agencies, as necessary, for the purpose of assisting SSA in the efficient administration of its programs.  We contemplate disclosing information under this routine use only in situations in which SSA may enter into a contractual or similar agreement with a third party to assist in accomplishing an agency function relating to this system of records.

4.  Non-tax return information which is not restricted from disclosure by Federal law may be disclosed to the General Services Administration (GSA) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for the purpose of conducting records management studies with respect to their duties and responsibilities under 44 U.S.C. § 2904 and § 2906, as amended by NARA Act of 1984.

5.   To student volunteers and other workers, who technically do not have the status of Federal employees, when they are performing work for SSA as authorized by law, and they need access to personally identifiable information in SSA records in order to perform their assigned Agency functions. 

** We may disclose information to appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies, entities, and persons when (1) we suspect or confirm that the security or confidentiality of information in this system of records has been compromised; (2) we determine that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or other systems or programs of SSA that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) we determine that disclosing the information to such agencies, entities, and persons is necessary to assist in our efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm. SSA will use this routine use to respond only to those incidents involving an unintentional release of its records.

Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system:

Storage:  Records are maintained in paper and/or electronic form.

Retrievability:  The records are indexed and retrieved by use of the SSN.

Safeguards:  Access to and use of the records are limited to those employees whose official duties require such access. System security for the electronic records has been established in accordance with the Systems Security Handbook.  All employees are instructed in SSA confidentiality rules as part of their initial orientation.  (See Appendix G for additional information relating to safeguards SSA employs to protect personal information.)

Retention and disposal The paper records are retained until no longer needed then are retired to the Federal Records Center; electronic records are retained on-line for 13 months, off-line until no longer needed and then are erased.  Paper records are disposed of by shredding.

System manager(s) and address Associate Commissioner, Office of Hearings and Appeals, Social Security Administration, 5107 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041.

Notification procedure An individual can determine if this system contains a record pertaining to him/her by following the instructions below:

For cases pending at the AC write to:

Office of Hearings and Appeals, Social Security Administration, 5107 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041.

For cases pending at a hearing office write directly to the appropriate hearing office (see Appendix F for address.)

Notification procedure: An individual can determine if this system contains a record about him/her by writing to the systems manager(s) at the above address and providing his/her name, SSN or other information that may be in the system of records that will identify him/her.  An individual requesting notification of records in person should provide the same information, as well as provide an identity document, preferably with a photograph, such as a driver’s license or some other means of identification, such as a voter registration card, credit card, etc.  If an individual does not have any identification documents sufficient to establish his/her identity, the individual must certify in writing that he/she is the person claimed to be and that he/she understands that the knowing and willful request for, or acquisition of, a record pertaining to another individual under false pretenses is a criminal offense.

If notification is requested by telephone, an individual must verify his/her identity by providing identifying information that parallels the record to which notification is being requested.  If it is determined that the identifying information provided by telephone is insufficient, the individual will be required to submit a request in writing or in person.  If an individual is requesting information by telephone on behalf of another individual, the subject individual must be connected with SSA and the requesting individual in the same phone call.  SSA will establish the subject individual’s identity (his/her name, SSN, address, date of birth and place of birth along with one other piece of  information such as mother’s maiden name) and ask for  his/her consent in providing information to the requesting individual.

If a request for notification is submitted by mail, an individual must include a notarized statement to SSA to verify his/her identity or must certify in the request that he/she is the person claimed to be and that he/she understands that the knowing and willful request for, or acquisition of, a record pertaining to another individual under false pretenses is a criminal offense.  These procedures are in accordance with SSA Regulations (20 CFR § 401.40).

An individual who requests access to his or her medical records shall be given direct access to those records unless SSA determines that it is likely that direct access would adversely affect the individual.  If SSA determines that direct access to the medical record(s) would like adversely affect the individual, he or she must designate a responsible representative who is capable of explaining the contents of the medical record(s) to him or her and who would be willing to provide the entire record(s) to the individual.  These procedures are in accordance with SSA Regulations (20 CFR 401.55).

Record accessing procedures:  Same as notification procedures.  Requesters should also reasonably specify the record contents being sought.  These procedures are in accordance with SSA Regulations (20 CFR 401.40(c)).

Contesting record procedures:  Same as notification procedures.  Requesters should also reasonably identify the record, specify the information they are contesting and state the corrective action sought and the reasons for the correction with supporting justification showing how the record is incomplete, untimely, inaccurate or irrelevant. These procedures are in accordance with SSA Regulations (20 CFR 401.65(a)).

Record source categories Information in this system is obtained from claimants, representatives, appropriate members of the public, SSA and other Federal, State, and local agencies.

Systems exempted from certain provisions of the Privacy Act:  None.