Effective 09/08/94 (59 FR 46439)
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
NOTICE OF SYSTEM OF RECORDS
REQUIRED BY THE PRIVACY ACT OF 1974
System name: Personnel Research and Merit Promotion Test
Security classification: None.
Social Security Administration, Office of Personnel, 6401
Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235
Categories of individuals covered by the system: Employees of
Categories of records in the system: These records include
tests, test scores, responses to test items and questionnaires,
interview data, and special ratings of employees obtained in test
validation and other research.
Authority for maintenance of the system: 5 U.S.C. 1303 and 3301.
Purpose(s): This system is established for certain research
projects such as those that involve longitudinal studies.
Research data are collected on a project-by-project basis, and
are used for the construction, analysis and validation of tests,
for research on personnel measurement and selection methods and
techniques such as performance evaluation or productivity. Many
data are collected under conditions assuring their
confidentiality. Personal information in this system of records
is used by the Office of Personnel in its research activities.
Merit Promotion Test and Assessment Center Systems are
established to be used as factors weighted under SSA Merit
These records also may be used as a data source for production of
summary descriptive statistics and analytical studies in support
of the function for which the records are collected and
maintained or for related personnel management functions or
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:
- To OPM for personnel research purposes.
- To a congressional office in response to an inquiry from
that office made at the request of the subject of a record.
- To DOJ, a court or other tribunal, or another party before
such tribunal when:
- SSA, any component thereof; or
- any SSA employee in his/her official capacity; or
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- Nontax return information which is not restricted from
disclosure by Federal law may be disclosed to GSA and 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.
- 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.
Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing,
retaining, and disposing of records in the system:
Storage: Records are maintained in file folders, floppy disks,
punched cards, microfiche, computer tape and in computer storage.
Retrievability: Records are retrieved by one or more of the
following: Region or headquarters, name, SSN, date of
participation, and type of test or assessment center.
Safeguards: System security for automated records have been
established in accordance with the Systems Security Handbook.
This includes maintaining the records in secured areas attended
by security guards. Anyone entering or leaving the areas must
have a special badge issued only to authorized personnel. Access
to the records is limited to personnel who have a need for them
in the performance of their official duties. Manual records are
maintained in locked files or rooms.
Also, all SSA employees periodically are briefed on PA requirements and SSA
confidentiality rules, including the criminal sanctions for unauthorized disclosure
of or access to personal records. (See Appendix G to
this publication for additional information relating to safeguards SSA employs
to protect personal information.)
Retention and disposal: Test answer sheets are retained for
1 year and then destroyed by shredding. Answer sheets and data
collected as part of personnel research projects are destroyed
and/or purged once the study is completed.
System manager(s) and address:
Associate Commissioner, Office of Personnel, Social Security
Administration, 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 above
When requesting notification, the individual should provide the
name of the system, his/her name, identifier where required
(e.g., SSN), and place of SSA employment or former employment.
(Furnishing the SSN is voluntary, but it will make searching for
an individual's record easier and avoid delay.)
An individual requesting notification of records in person need
not furnish any special documents of identity. Documents he/she
would normally carry on his/her person would be sufficient
(e.g., credit cards, driver's license, or voter registration
card). An individual requesting notification via mail or
telephone must furnish a minimum of his/her name, date additional
information specified in this section. These procedures are in
accordance with HHS Regulations 45 CFR Part 5b.
Record access procedures: Same as notification procedures. Also,
requesters should reasonably specify the record contents being
sought. These access procedures are in accordance with
HHS Regulations 45 CFR Part 5b.
Contesting record procedures: Same as notification procedures.
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
HHS Regulations 45 CFR Part 5b.
Record source categories: Information in this system is obtained
from individual SSA employees, their supervisors, assessment
center assessors or SSA personnel files and records.
Systems exempted from certain provisions of the Privacy Act:
Under the provisions of
5 U.S.C. 552a, subsection (k)(6), which provides for exempting
"testing or examination material used solely to determine
individual qualifications for appointment or promotion in the
Federal service the disclosure of which would compromise the
objectivity or fairness of the testing or examination process,"
we exempt from disclosure SSA merit promotion tests, test item
files, answer keys, completed answer sheets, transmutation tables
and schedules, and ratings given for the purpose of validating