FOIA Reading Room
The Freedom of Information Act allows members of the public to request records from various Federal government agencies. The FOIA was established to make the federal government accountable to the public for its actions and prevents agencies from having secret policies.
FOIA amendments signed into law in 1994 added a requirement that agencies must establish an Electronic FOIA (EFOIA) Reading Room. The EFOIA Library contains materials like previously released records, certain agency manuals, and specific agency policy statements.
The information you are requesting may be located in this EFOIA Library. Please check here before submitting a FOIA request.
The Social Security Administration provides a wealth of information online about its services, history, organizational structure and news, including:
- About the Social Security Administration
- How We're Organized
- Social Security Benefits
- Social Security Facts
- Social Security Reports
- Social Security Publications
- Social Security Press Releases
- Social Security History
- Research, Statistics, & Policy, including Program Statistics and Data Files
- Social Security IT Spending
- Social Security Trustees Report
- Social Security Actuarial Information and Statistical Tables
- Social Security Advisory Board
In the following sections, you can find more specific information about various aspects of our work.
Find information to assist vendors in the acquisition process, information on special programs, and information on SSA acquisitions and grants, including:
Find information related to agency budget, performance and financial information, the Annual Performance Plan, the Agency Strategic Plan, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and more.
Find information about the disability hearing, appeals and court processes, including:
- Social Security Hearing Process
- Social Security Appeals Council Review Process
- Federal Court Review Process
- Best Practices for Claimant Representatives
Find press releases, audit reports, news releases and the IG’s semi-annual reports to Congress, including:
- Semi-annual Reports to Congress
- Testimony before Congress
- Audit Reports
- Performance Reports
- Press Releases
Since the late 1970's, the United States has established a network of bilateral Social Security agreements that coordinate the U.S. Social Security program with the comparable programs of other countries. This article gives a brief overview of the agreements and should be of particular interest to multinational companies and to people who work abroad during their careers.
We implemented SSN Randomization on June 25, 2011. This process assigns SSNs randomly rather than by geographic location. Doing so eliminated the significance of the High Group List, making it ineffective for validating SSNs issued through the random assignment method. Please visit SSN Randomization for more information regarding this change and other effects on the SSN resulting from Randomization.
The Social Security Administration receives millions of inquiries every year. These requests include questions about retirement and disability benefits, Medicare benefits, how to request a replacement Social Security Card, and our field office locations and office hours. The ability to provide timely and accurate online answers to these questions is critical.
One means of meeting the public’s expectation of providing accurate, timely, and clear information is our Online Frequently Asked Questions Knowledge Base. The objective of this system is to help the public get online self service access to the information they want or to accomplish the task for which they came to the website.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to FOIA
In addition to legislation and regulations, administrative staff manuals of the Social Security Administration and instructions to staff personnel that contain policies, procedures, or interpretations that affect the public are available for inspection and copying.
You can inspect and copy the following SSA records online, in any field office, at our headquarters in Baltimore, and at SSA hearings offices nationwide.
Laws, Regulations, and Rulings
- Compilation of the Social Security Laws
- SSA FOIA/Privacy Act Regulations
- 20 CFR 401 — Privacy and Disclosure of Official Records and Information
- 20 CFR 402 — Availability of Information and Records to the Public
- 20 CFR 403 — Testimony by Employees
- Social Security Rulings (SSRs)
Administrative Staff Manuals
- SSA's Program Operations Manual System (POMS)
- Hearings, Appeals, and Litigation Law Manual (HALLEX)
- Social Security State and Local Coverage Handbook for administration of Social Security and Medicare coverage provisions (available in SSA Regional Offices and SSA offices in State capitols.
Legislative & Congressional Affairs
We also publish information on our interactions with the Congress, including:
- Recent Issues and Legislation of Interest
- Summaries of Social Security related legislation of the 112th Congress
- Testimony of Social Security officials before the 112th Congress
- Historical Congressional Interactions
- Reports and Legislative Proposals to Congress
- Program Fact Sheets and Legislative History
The Social Security Administration's Office of Open Government is committed to sharing and being accountable for information the public wants from us. We provide information and data about the agency, its programs, budget and performance, and public engagement opportunities at our Open Government portal, including:
While our goal is to become even more open and transparent, we will continue to vigilantly protect the personal information the public entrusts to us. We will ensure that transparency does not put that information at risk.
- THOMAS (Library of Congress website for legislation)
- Current Executive Orders
- Federal Register
- Government Information Locator Service (GILS)
- DOJ Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties Resources
- National Archives Office of Government Information Services (FOIA dispute resolution)
- DOJ Office of Information Policy FOIA Resources