Court Orders, Subpoenas 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.
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.
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.
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.
SSA Employee Records
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.