Black Lung Payment System, Social Security Administration, Office of Systems


System number: 60-0045

System name: 

        Black Lung Payment System, Social Security Administration, Office of Systems Requirements.

Security classification:  


System location:

          Social Security Administration 
          Office of Telecommunications and Systems Operations 
          National Computer Center 
          6201 Security Boulevard 
          Baltimore, Maryland 21235

Categories of individuals covered by the system: 

          All Part B Black Lung (BL) beneficiaries entitled to receive a BL benefit 10/02/97 or earlier, and beneficiaries whose entitlement ended 10/02/97 or earlier because of a termination event as defined in the Black Lung Benefits Act.  Responsibility for the maintenance of the Part B BL program after 10/02/97 has been transferred to the Department of Labor (DOL).

Categories of records in the system: 

          This system consists of two files, a Payment Master Record and a Benefit Master Record.

        The Payment Master Record reflects the SSN and the payment identification code under which BL benefits are awarded and payment data such as the monthly payment amount; the scheduled payment amount; offset information; the number of beneficiaries on the account as well as the number of beneficiaries in the payment; the month of accrual; the month of debit; credit information; future month of adjustment diary dates; cross‑reference information; payee name and address information, direct deposit data and statistical information.

        The Benefit Master Record contains a benefit record for each beneficiary on the account and includes the SSN; the payment and benefit identification codes; the payment status; the monthly benefit amount; the beneficiary's name; type of benefit; date of birth; race; sex; offset information; credit information; date of filing; date of entitlement; representative payee information, and statistical information.

Authority for maintenance of the system: 

          Sections 413 and 415 of the Black Lung Benefits Act (30 U.S.C. 923 and 925).


          The data in this system are used by SSA employees for responding to inquiries from BL beneficiaries and/or DOL.

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

                c)      any 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 IRC (26 U.S.C. 6103) will not be disclosed under this routine use unless disclosure is expressly permitted by the IRC.

        3.     To the Office of the President for the purpose of responding to an individual         pursuant to an inquiry from that individual or from a third party on his/her behalf.

        4.     Upon request, information on the identity and location of aliens may be disclosed to the Department of Justice (DOJ) (Criminal Division, Office of Special Investigations) for the purpose of detecting, investigating, and where appropriate, taking legal action against suspected Nazi war criminals in the United States .

        5.     To third party contacts such as credit-reporting entities and private collection         agencies under contract with SSA, and State motor vehicle agencies for the purpose of obtaining these entities’ assistance or information that will help SSA recover BL overpayments of Social Security benefits. 

        6.     To the Department of the Treasury to issue BL checks.

        7.     To the Department of Labor for administering provisions of the Black Lung Benefits Act.

        8.     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.

        9.     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.

        10. Upon request, pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 3006, information may be disclosed to the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) for the purpose of determining eligibility for or         amount of VA benefits or verifying other information with respect to VA pension and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefit programs.

        11. Information may be disclosed to State workers’ compensation (WC) agencies or private WC carriers (or agents on their behalf) for the purpose of the efficient administration of the BL program.  We contemplate disclosing information under this routine use only in situations in which SSA enters into a signed agreement with a State WC agency or private WC carrier to assist in accomplishing an agency function relating to the BL Payment System.

        12. 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. 

        13. Information as to whether an individual is alive or deceased may be disclosed         pursuant to section 1106(d) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1306(d)), upon request, for purposes of an epidemiological or similar research project, provided that:

                a)     SSA determines in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services, that the research may reasonably be expected to contribute to a national health interest; and

                b)     the requester agrees to reimburse SSA for the costs of providing the information; and

                c)     the requester agrees to comply with any safeguards and limitations specified by SSA regarding re-release or re-disclosure of the information.

        14. 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:


          Records are stored in magnetic media (e.g., magnetic tape), disc, microfiche, and in paper form.


          Records in this system are retrieved by SSN.


          Safeguards for automated records have been established in accordance with the Systems Security Handbook.  This includes storing the records in secured areas with armed security guards.  Anyone entering or leaving the areas must have a special badge issued only to authorized personnel.  The records are available to employees only in the performance of their official duties.  Paper records are maintained in areas with limited access and offices are locked after business hours.

        All employees of SSA are periodically briefed on PA requirements and SSA confidentiality rules, including the criminal sanctions for unauthorized disclosure of or access to personal records.  (See Appendix G for additional information relating to safeguards SSA employs to protect personal information.)

Retention and disposal: 

          Magnetic tape records are retained for up to 90 days after which they are erased and returned to stock.  Paper records are destroyed by shredding after use or disposed of through contractual arrangements with trash collectors.  Paper records needed for documentation of the claims folder are retained indefinitely in SSA facilities or DOL facilities and in FRCs.  All master records are retained on magnetic disc for on‑line query purposes.

System manager(s) and address:

          Division of RSDI Postentitlement Systems 
          Office of Systems Requirements 
          Social Security Administration 
          3-Q-7 Operations Building 
          6401 Security Boulevard 
          Baltimore, MD  21235

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).

Record access procedures:

          Same as notification procedures above. Also, requesters should reasonably specify the record contents they are seeking. These procedures are in accordance with SSA Regulations (20 CFR 401.40(c)).

Contesting record procedures: 

          Same as notification procedures above.  Also, requesters should 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 was prepared from material contained in BL claim folders maintained in the system of records 60‑0089‑‑Claim Folders System.

Systems exempted from certain provisions of the Privacy Act: