General Law Litigation Files, Social Security Administration, Office of the General Counsel

Social Security Administration

Notice of System of Records

Required by the Privacy Act of 1974

System number: 60-0272

System name: General Law Litigation Files, Social Security Administration, Office of the General Counsel.

System classification: None

System location: Office of the General Counsel, Social Security Administration, Room 600 Altmeyer Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region I, Social Security Administration, John F. Kennedy Federal Building, Room 625, Government Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02203.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region II, Social Security Administration, Room 3904, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region III, Social Security Administration, P.O.Box 41777, Philadelphia, PA 19101.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region IV, Social Security Administration, Atlanta Federal Center, Suite 20T45, 61 Forsyth Street, S.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8920.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region V, Social Security Administration, 200 West Adams, Street, 30th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60606-8920.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region VI, Social Security Administration, Suite 130, 1301 Young Street, Dallas, Texas 75202-5433.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region VII, Social Security Administration, Room 535, 601 East 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64106-2898

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region VIII, Social Security Administration, Suite 120, Federal Office Building, 1961 Stout Street, Denver, Colorado 80294.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region IX, Social Security Administration, Room 405, 50 United Nations Plaza, San Francisco, California 94102

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region X, Social Security Administration, 701 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2900, M/S 901, Seattle, Washington 98104-7075

Categories of Individuals Covered by the System: Individuals who are involved in litigation with SSA or the United States either as plaintiffs or defendants in both civil and criminal matters.

In addition, other individuals may be included in the system, such as witnesses, SSA employees, attorneys’, etc.

Categories of records in the system: These records contain information pertaining to the subject matter of litigation such as: complaints, answers, motions, briefs, orders, decisions, correspondence, legal research, and in cases where personal injury or allegedly disabling condition is involved, medical records such as evaluations by physicians, etc. 

Authority for maintenance of the system: The authority for maintaining this system are the various statutes, regulations, rules or orders pertaining to the subject matter of litigation (e.g., Social Security Act, Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute, Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, Civil Rights Act, etc.).

Purpose: To represent SSA and its components in litigation.

Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and purposes of such uses Disclosure may be made for routine uses as indicated below:

1.      To disclose information to another Federal agency, to a court, or a party in litigation before a court or in an administrative proceeding being conducted by a Federal agency, when the Government is a party to the judicial or administrative proceeding.

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

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.      To the Department of Justice (DOJ), a court or other tribunal, including an administrative tribunal, or another party in litigation 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 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.

5.      To a Federal, State, or local agency for law enforcement purposes concerning a violation of law pertaining to the records in this system.

6.      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.

7.      To the Department of Justice for the purpose of obtaining that Department’s advice concerning disclosure of such information under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552.

8.      To Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and private security contractors as appropriate, if information is necessary (a) to enable them to protect the safety of SSA employees and customers, the security of the SSA workplace, and the operation of SSA facilities, or (b) to assist in investigations or prosecutions with respect to activities that disrupt the operation of SSA facilities.

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 amened by the NARA Act of 1984.

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

Storage: Records are maintained in paper form (e.g., file folders) and stored in file cabinets.  Some records may be maintained in SSA computer systems.

Retrievability: Records are retrievable by name of the plaintiff, or the first plaintiff if there is more than one, or by the name of the first defendant if the plaintiff is the United States .

Safeguards: Office buildings in which these records are maintained are locked after the close of the business day.  These records are only accessible by General Counsel staff and other staff assisting in the litigation.

Retention and disposal: Records are disposed of in accordance with the Federal Records Act and applicable retention schedules.

System manager(s) and address: Social Security Administration, Office of the General Counsel, 6401 Security Blvd, Rm. 617 Altmeyer Building, Baltimore, MD 21235.  Litigation files may also be located with the Regional Chief Counsels’ offices.  See the System Location for those addresses.

Notification Procedure: An individual can determine if this system contains a record about him by writing to the system manager at the above address.  The request should contain his or her full name.

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.  Requesters should reasonably describe 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 records, specify the information they are contesting and state the corrective action sought 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:  The information for this system is obtained through a number of sources including the exchange of legal pleadings, documents, and formal and informal discovery, and courts, program offices, private attorneys, State and local governments, and officers of other Federal agencies.

Systems exempted from certain provisions of the Privacy Act:

When litigation occurs, information from other systems of records may be incorporated in the case file.  In certain instances, the incorporated information may be material for which exemptions have been claimed by SSA under the Privacy Act.  To the extent that such exempt material is incorporated into a litigation file, the appropriate exemption, 5 U.S.C. § 552a(k)(1)-(7), shall also apply to the material as it appears in this system.  The exemptions will only be from those provisions of the Act that were claimed for the systems from which the records originated.  The Office of the General Counsel, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552a(d)(5), reserves the right to refuse access to information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil action or other proceeding.