Retirement and Survivors Studies, Surveys, Records and Extracts (Statistics), SSA/ORES

Effective Date: August 1, 2000 
(65 F.R. 46997)


System number: 60-0200

System name: 

Retirement and Survivors Studies, Surveys, Records and Extracts (Statistics), SSA/ORES

Security classification: 


System location:

Social Security Administration 
Office of Systems Operations 
6401 Security Boulevard 
Baltimore, MD  21235
Social Security Administration 
Associate Commissioner 
Office of Research, Evaluation and Statistics 
6401 Security Boulevard 
Baltimore, MD 21235
Bureau of the Census 
Washington, DC 20233
Bureau of the Census 
Jeffersonville, IN  47130
Health Care Financing Administration 
Data Center 
Lyons Building 
731 Rutherford Drive 
Baltimore, MD  21207

Contractor sites:

Addresses may be obtained by writing to the system manager (at the address below)

Categories of individuals covered by the system: 

Sample groups of adults or children who are current, past or potential recipients of Social Security or Medicare payments, or pension or survivor benefits from public or private sources; and samples of other persons or families regardless of recipient or benefit status for purposes of comparison with persons or families in the above categories.

Categories of records in the system: 

Socioeconomic, demographic, medical, insurance, welfare, attitude, earnings, employment, and benefit information (e.g., retirement, survivors insurance and health insurance).

Authority for maintenance of the system: 

Section 1110 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 1310) and 13 U.S.C. § 182 for Census participation.


The purpose of this system is to collect data by the following methods:  extraction from program records (including records compiled at the State level); and surveys which may be augmented with program data.  Medicare payment information will be linked to these data from HCFA records.  With appropriate safeguards, linked micro-data without identifiers will be used for research and evaluation purposes by SSA components for program analysis.  Specially edited micro-data files are released to the public.  The statistical aggregated data provided by this system are used for program planning and evaluation purposes. 

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:

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 a contractor under contract to SSA, or under contract to another agency with funds provided by SSA, for the performance of research and statistical activities directly related to this system of records.

3.     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.

4.  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:


Data may be stored in paper form (e.g., hardcopy questionnaires and computer printouts) and in magnetic media (e.g., magnetic tape and disc).


Files are indexed and retrieved by use of the SSN or by SSA‑assigned case numbers. Files based on Census sample populations are indexed by Census assigned‑case numbers.  These numbers are cross‑referred at Census to SSNs which are available only to Census employees or SSA staff who are Census special‑sworn employees.


Safeguards are established in accordance with the Systems Security Handbook. Employees having access to records have been notified of criminal sanctions for unauthorized disclosure of information about individuals. 

Magnetic tapes or other files with personal identifiers are retained in secured storage areas accessible only to authorized personnel. 

Access to microdata files with identifiers is limited to researchers and statisticians authorized by ORES within SSA.

Microdata files prepared for purposes of research and analysis are purged of personal identifiers and are subject to procedural safeguards to assure anonymity.  (See Appendix G to this publication for additional information relating to safeguards SSA employs to protect personal information.)

Retention and disposal: 

Hardcopy questionnaires are destroyed when survey reports are completed.  Records with identifiers are held in secure storage areas and are retained only as long as needed for SSA analysis.

Identifiers are removed at the earliest possible time, after data collected is completed.  Records with identifiers are disposed of as soon as they are determined to be no longer needed.  Means of disposal are appropriate to the record medium, e.g., erasure of tapes, shredding of printouts, etc.

System manager(s) and address: 

Social Security Administration 
Associate Commissioner  
Office of Research, Evaluation and Statistics 
6401 Security Boulevard 
Baltimore, MD 21235

Notification procedure: 

This system contains limited data selected for statistical analysis.  Individuals inquiring about their records in SSA programs should consult other SSA systems of records which contain more detailed information.

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. Except in transitory stages of preparation, files at SSA which are based on Census samples do not have personal identifiers, and cannot be located on an individual basis.  Records with identifiers maintained at the Bureau of Census are considered by Census to be exempt from access. These procedures are in accordance with SSA Regulations (20 CFR 401.40(c)).

Contesting record procedures: 

Same as notification procedures. Also, individuals 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: 

Records in this system are derived from:  SSA administrative records (e.g., the Earnings Recording and Self‑Employment Income System (60‑0059) and Master Beneficiary Record (60‑0090)); HCFA MedPar Medicare Bills File (09‑70‑0005); and survey data collected by contractor.  Bureau of the Census records may be used as a sampling frame.

Systems exempted from certain provisions of the Privacy Act: