SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
PRIVACY IMPACT ASSESSMENT
· Name of Project
Administrative Law Judge/Public Alleged Misconduct Complaints (ALJ/PAMC)
· Unique Project Identifier
· Privacy Impact Assessment Contact
Office of Disability Adjudication and Review
Social Security Administration
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 1605
Falls Church, Virginia 22041
We are responsible for administering an objective and impartial hearings system for claimants dissatisfied with our determinations or decisions regarding their entitlement to, or eligibility for, benefits. We make determinations and decisions on claims for Social Security disability, retirement, and survivor benefits, special veterans benefits, and supplemental security income payments under the Social Security Act (Act). Our Office of Disability Adjudication and Review includes a nationwide field organization staffed with administrative law judges (ALJ) who conduct impartial hearings and make decisions on requests for a hearing filed by a claimant, his or her representative(s), or another person on the claimant’s behalf. A claimant, his or her representative(s), or another person on the claimant’s behalf, may file a complaint against an ALJ if he or she believes the ALJ was biased or engaged in misconduct. Such complaints may be made in writing to our Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge and to our regional and hearing offices. We also receive complaints through our Appeals Council, agents at our National 800 Telephone Number Network, our Office of the Inspector General Hotline, field offices, online comments made via www.SocialSecurity.gov, and congressional offices on behalf of their constituents. We review, investigate, and respond to such complaints.
We will improve service to the public by using a centrally managed, electronic method to collect, monitor, and retrieve information concerning complaints about ALJ bias or misconduct and to respond timely to these complaints.
· Describe the specific legal authority and/or agreement for the collection of information.
Sections 205(b) [42 U.S.C. 405(b)] [Evidence, Procedure, and Certification for Payment], 702(a)(5) [42 U.S.C. 902(a)(5)] [Commissioner of Social Security], and 1631(d)(1) [42 U.S.C. 1383(d)(1)] [Procedures; Prohibitions of Assignments; Representation of Claimants] of the Act, as amended, authorize us to collect and maintain this information. Under sections 205(b) and 702(a)(5) of the Act, the Commissioner of Social Security has full power and authority to make rules and regulations and to establish procedures that are necessary or appropriate to carry out such provisions. This system will assist us in managing and responding to ALJ bias or misconduct complaints.
· Describe the information we plan to collect, why we will collect the information,
how we intend to use the information, and with whom we will share the
We will collect and maintain information derived from complaints of bias or misconduct filed against ALJs (e.g., case analyses, results of the review or investigation, location of the hearing or regional office, ALJ duty station, or Federal court, if the complaint is raised at the Federal court level, and copies of relevant correspondence).
We will collect and maintain information about the claimant derived from the complaint of bias or misconduct filed against the ALJ (e.g., name, Social Security number, date of birth, address, gender, race or ethnic background), if that information is provided and is a basis for the complaint, and relevant claims-related information.
We will collect and maintain information about the claimant’s representatives or another person who filed on the claimant’s behalf derived from the complaint of bias or misconduct filed against the ALJ (e.g., name, gender, and race or ethnic background), if that information is provided and is a basis for the complaint.
We will also collect and maintain information about the ALJ named in the complaint derived from the complaint of bias or misconduct filed (e.g., name, ALJ assigned number, and tracking and control log numbers).
We will use the information collected in the ALJ/PAMC system to:
· manage and respond to complaints of ALJ bias or misconduct, which in turn will help us monitor and improve customer service and reduce manual work;
· process, review, or investigate complaints filed;
· identify the claimant, his or her representative, or another person who filed the complaint on the claimant’s behalf, if any, and information about the ALJ who allegedly engaged in bias or misconduct;
· document, monitor, and track complaints about ALJs who are accused of engaging in bias or misconduct;
· identify patterns of improper ALJ behavior that may require further review and action; and
· assist us in deterring incidents of ALJ bias or misconduct.
We will disclose information collected and maintained in this system only to SSA employees who require the information to perform their official duties, to the person about whom the information pertains as permitted by the Privacy Act, or as otherwise permitted by Federal law.
We will not disclose any information defined as “return or return information” under
26 U.S.C. § 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) unless authorized by statute, the IRC, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or IRS regulations.
· Describe the administrative and technological controls in place or that we
plan to use to secure the information we will collect.
Our security includes technical, management, and operational controls that permit access to our information only to persons with an official “need to know.” Audit mechanisms are in place to record sensitive transactions as an additional measure to protect information from unauthorized disclosure or modification.
We secure the electronic information in the ALJ/PAMC system by requiring the use of access codes to enter the computer system that will house the data. Employees and contractors authorized to access the ALJ/PAMC system must use a unique personal identification number and password. We permit only authorized employees and contractors who require the information to perform their official duties to access the ALJ/PAMC system. We annually provide appropriate security awareness and training to all our employees and contractors that includes reminders about the need to protect personally identifiable information (PII) and the criminal penalties that apply to unauthorized access to, or disclosure of, PII. See 5 U.S.C. § 552a(i)(1). Furthermore, employees and contractors with access to databases maintaining PII must annually sign a sanction document that acknowledges their accountability for inappropriately accessing or disclosing such information.
· Describe the impact on a person’s privacy rights. Do we afford people an
opportunity to decline to provide information?
Yes. People have an opportunity to decline to provide information. If we require additional information to assist us in our review or investigation of the complaint filed, we will contact the person who filed the complaint requesting additional information. He or she can then decline to provide additional information. If the person declines to provide us with additional information that we need to process his or her complaint, we close out the complaint. We use the information the person provides in the complaint to: review, investigate, take necessary action (if any) against the ALJ, respond to the person who filed the complaint, and administer our responsibilities under the Act.
· Do we afford people an opportunity to consent to only particular uses of the
No. When we collect information from complainants, they are aware that we will use the information to process their complaints alleging bias or misconduct by an ALJ. We do not otherwise offer them an opportunity to determine how and with whom we will share their information. We collect, maintain, and use information only when we have specific legal authority to do so in order to administer our responsibilities under the Act. The ALJ/PAMC (60-0356) system of records (SOR) lists the applicable routine uses of the information in this system.
· Does the collection of this information require a new system of records under the
Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. § 552a) or an alteration to an existing system of records?
Yes. A new SOR has been established entitled ALJ/PAMC system (60-0356). We published the SOR and its applicable routine uses in the Federal Register on February 23, 2010. The SOR appropriately reflects the information covered as well as the purpose for which we collect, maintain, disclose, and use the information.
PIA CONDUCTED BY PRIVACY OFFICER, SSA:
/s/ Mona Finch_____________________ _1/14/2011_____
PIA REVIEWED BY THE SENIOR AGENCY PRIVACY OFFICIAL, SSA:
/s/ Thomas W. Crawley______________ 1/19/2011______