Court Orders, Subpoenas, Law Enforcement Requests, and Other Legal Processes

Federal and State Court Orders

SSA will provide information in response to a federal court order that meets our regulatory requirements at 20 C.F.R § 401.180. SSA will not honor state court orders, as state courts do not have jurisdiction over a federal agency. SSA cannot comply with a court order for an individual’s earnings information unless it meets the requirements of 26 U.S.C. § 6103(i) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Subpoenas

Generally, SSA will not respond to a subpoena for records unless it is signed by a federal district court judge and meets the other requirements listed in our court order regulation at 20 C.F.R § 401.180. In other cases, if you send a subpoena to SSA, we will respond with a letter telling you that the agency cannot comply and that you should obtain the written consent of the individual whose records you are seeking. See instructions on written consent below. Please note that state court orders and subpoenas are not FOIA requests and should not be submitted via the FOIAonline system.

    Consent - If you are seeking the records of a living individual, you must have the individual complete Form SSA-3288 available at: https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-3288.pdf or complete a consent that complies with our regulations at 20 C.F.R. § 401.100. If you obtain proper authorization, you may request this information from the individual’s local Social Security office. Please visit our website at www.ssa.gov to locate the individual’s local office.

      SSA Employee Records

    • If you are seeking the records of a current SSA employee (regarding payroll, performance, leave, etc.), you should have the employee complete Form SSA-3465 and advise the employee to submit the form to his or her supervisor. When an employee resigns, retires, transfers, or otherwise terminates employment with SSA, Form SSA-3465 should be mailed to SSA’s Office of the General Counsel, Office of Privacy and Disclosure at 6401 Security Boulevard, West High Rise, Room G-401 Baltimore, Maryland 21235.

      Earnings Records

    • If you are seeking a living or deceased individual’s earnings records, please follow the instructions to complete Form SSA-7050-F4 available at: https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-7050.pdf and mail it to the address on the form along with the applicable fee and other evidentiary documents as required.

Law Enforcement Requests

If you are seeking records from SSA in connection with an ongoing law enforcement investigation, you should submit a request that:

  1. is written on the requesting law enforcement agency’s letterhead and be signed by a supervisory official;
  2. provides enough information to show that the information is needed for a situation that involves either
    1. a serious, violent crime, or
    2. criminal activity involving the Social Security program or other health and income maintenance programs;
  3. includes sufficient identifying information about the record holder so we can locate the individual in our records (e.g., name, SSN, date of birth);
  4. describes the record(s) needed; and
  5. describes why each record is necessary.

If the investigation involves the possibility of Social Security Number misuse or fraud, including misuse or fraud in a program administered by SSA (i.e., disability, supplemental security income, etc.), you should specifically explain this in your request.

Requests may be submitted via:

    Mail:
    Social Security Administration
    Office of the General Counsel
    Office of Privacy and Disclosure
    Attention: Director, Disclosure and Data Support Division 1
    Mailstop G-401 West High Rise Building
    6401 Security Boulevard
    Baltimore, MD 21235
    Fax:
    Requests may be submitted via fax to (410) 966-0869. Please send the request to the attention of Director, Disclosure and Data Support Division.
    Email:

    Although we prefer to receive requests via mail or fax, you may email your request if 1) you are a secure email partner with SSA or 2) you encrypt your email. If you meet one of these criteria, you may email your request to OGC.OPD.LE Requests@ssa.gov.

    If SSA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is already involved with your investigation (or you plan to contact them to ascertain if they would be interested in a joint investigation), you may work directly with OIG to further discuss your case

    Listed below are links to our regulations and policy instructions where the requester can find information regarding disclosures for law enforcement purposes:

    https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/401/401-0155.htm SSA's Policy Information Site - POMS

Exceptional Law Enforcement Requests Received during Non-Traditional Business Hours:

If you have an urgent and time sensitive request involving exceptional law enforcement activities, including: matters of national security, health and safety, or terrorism that is submitted after traditional office hours (weekends, holidays, and M-F after 6p.m. EST), please contact the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness, Incident Command Center – Watch Office at (410) 966-4522 for additional guidance.

Employee Testimony

If you are seeking the testimony of an SSA employee, you should submit a written application setting out the nature of the testimony sought, explaining why the information is not available by other means, and why it is in SSA’s interest to provide the testimony and send your application at least 30 days in advance of the date of testimony. Please note that SSA maintains a strict policy of impartiality with respect to litigants and seeks to minimize the disruption of official duties. SSA’s regulations at 20 CFR Part 403 (Touhy regulations) describe the application process, what information you need to provide, and exceptions to the process. The application must be sent to our Office of the General Counsel in Baltimore, Maryland:

Social Security Administration
Office of the General Counsel
Office of General Law
Attention: Touhy Officer
6401 Security Boulevard
West High Rise, Room G-401
Baltimore, Maryland 21235.