Effective Date: January 11, 2006

(71 F.R. 1801)



System name:

    Optical System for Correspondence Analysis and Response, Social Security Administration, Deputy Commissioner for Communications, Office of Public Inquires.

Security classification:


System Location:

            Social Security Administration

          Office of Public Affairs, Office of Public Inquiries

          6401 Security Boulevard

          Baltimore, MD 21235

          Social Security Administration

          Office of Central Operations, Metro West Building

          300 North Greene Street

          Baltimore, MD 21201

          Social Security Administration

          Office of Disability Operations, Security West Building

          1500 Woodlawn Drive

          Baltimore, MD 21241

          Social Security Administration

          Office of Disability Operations, Metro West Building

          300 North Greene Street

          Baltimore, MD 21201

          Social Security Administration

          Office of Hearings and Appeals

          5107 Leesburg Pike

          Falls Church, VA 22041

Categories of individuals covered by the system:

    Records are maintained on individuals:

          (1) Who forward a request for information to the Social Security Administration (SSA) (or component thereof);

          (2) Whose requests to members of Congress, the President, etc., are forwarded to SSA for response;

          (3) Who forward a request to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Officer at SSA; and

          (4) Social Security beneficiaries (or persons inquiring on their behalf) who are reporting failure to receive a check or checks which they believe are due or are inquiring about other matters which have been determined to be of a critical or sensitive nature.

Categories of records in the system:

            Information in the records may include the following: name of claimant (if appropriate); name of individual involved (and Social Security number (SSN), if given); name of third party inquirer (if present); type of correspondence; date of correspondence; date received in SSA component; organizational component having initial responsibility for the inquiry; Congressperson name or name code (if a congressional inquiry); any subsequent locations that handle the inquiry before a final action is taken; address-to-code (official to whom inquiry is directed); signature code (official whose name will appear on the reply); computer-generated control number (six or seven alpha-numerics used to update or retrieve a record); subject matter codes (up to three that summarize the contents of the inquiry); and response information (types and dates of SSA's responses).

Authority for maintenance of the system:

            Sections 205(a), 1631 and Titles XI and XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405(a) and 1383) and section 413(b) of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act, as amended.


            Information about the inquiries is maintained in this system solely to aid in the control of correspondence through the various processing steps. The information may include a scanned copy of the inquiry. This system is used to control processing of correspondence within the SSA Central Office complex and the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia and to provide management information regarding the correspondence process.

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. However, disclosure of any information defined as ``return or return information'' under 26 U.S.C. 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code will not be disclosed unless authorized by a statute, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or IRS regulations.

          1. To a congressional office in response to an inquiry from that office made at the request of the subject of a record.

          2. To the Department of the Treasury to determine if a social security payment was issued or a check returned for cash.

          3. To contractors and other Federal agencies, as necessary, for the purpose of assisting the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the efficient administration of its programs. We will disclose 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 records.

          4. To the General Services Administration and the National Archives Records Administration (NARA) under 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906, as amended by the NARA Act of 1984, information which is not restricted from disclosure by Federal law for the use of those agencies in conducting records management studies.

          5. To the Department of Justice (DOJ), a court or other tribunal, or another party before such tribunal when:

                    (a) The Social Security Administration (SSA), or any component thereof; or

                    (b) Any SSA employee in his/her official capacity; or

          (c) 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

          (d) 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, a court or other tribunal, or another party before such 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.

          6. To student volunteers, individuals working under a personal services contract, and other workers who technically do not have the status of Federal employees, when they are performing work for the Social Security Administration (SSA), as authorized by law, and they need access to personally identifiable information in SSA records in order to perform their assigned Agency functions.

          7. To the Secretary of Health and Human Services or to any State, the Commissioner shall disclose any record or information requested in writing by the Secretary for the purpose of administering any program administered by the Secretary, if records or information of such type were so disclosed under applicable rules, regulations and procedures in effect before the date of enactment of the Social Security Independence and Program Improvements Act of 1994.

            8. We may disclose information to appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies, entities, and persons when (1) we suspect or confirm that the security or confidentiality of information in this system of records has been compromised; (2) we determine that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or other systems or programs of SSA that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) we determine that disclosing the information to such agencies, entities, and persons is necessary to assist in our efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm. SSA will use this routine use to respond only to those incidents involving an unintentional release of its records.

Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system:


            The records are maintained in electronic and paper form.


            The data in this system are retrieved by name, SSN or control number.


            Safeguards for automated records have been established in accordance with the Systems Security Handbook. This includes maintaining the records in a secured enclosure. Access to specific records is limited to employees who have a need for them in the performance of their official duties. Paper records are maintained in locked files or in buildings that are secured after normal business hours.

          Also, all employees periodically are briefed on Privacy Act requirements and SSA confidentiality rules, including the criminal sanctions for unauthorized disclosure of or access to personal records.

   Access http://www.socialsecurity.gov/foia/bluebook/app_g.htm for additional information relating to SSA data security measures.

Retention and disposal:

            Records are maintained on-line in the system from the time of control until 13 months after the final response is released. Electronic records are maintained offline for an additional five years before being erased. Paper records are disposed of by shredding when deemed no longer needed.

System manager(s) and address(es):

            Social Security Administration

          Associate Commissioner

          Office of  Public Inquiries, Office of Public Affairs

          6401 Security Boulevard

          Baltimore, MD 21235.

Notification procedures:

            An individual can determine if this system contains a record about him/her by writing to the system manager(s) at the above address and providing his/her name, SSN or other information that may be in the system of records that will identify him/her. An individual requesting notification of records in person should provide the same information, as well as provide an identity document, preferably with a photograph, such as a driver's license or some other means of identification, such as a voter registration card, credit card, etc. If an individual does not have any identification documents sufficient to establish his/her identity, the individual must certify in writing that he/she is the person claimed to be and that he/she understands that the knowing and willful request for, or acquisition of, a record pertaining to another individual under false pretenses is a criminal offense.

          If notification is requested by telephone, an individual must verify his/her identity by providing identifying information that parallels information in the record to which notification is being requested. If it is determined that the identifying information provided by telephone is insufficient, the individual will be required to submit a request in writing or in person. If an individual is requesting information by telephone on behalf of another individual, the subject individual must be connected with SSA and the requesting individual in the same phone call. SSA will establish the subject individual's identity (his/her name, SSN, address, date of birth and place of birth, along with one other piece of information, such as mother's maiden name) and ask for his/her consent in providing information to the requesting individual.

          If a request for notification is submitted by mail, an individual must include a notarized statement to SSA to verify his/her identity or must certify in the request that he/she is the person claimed to be and that he/she understands that the knowing and willful request for, or acquisition of, a record pertaining to another individual under false pretenses is a criminal offense. These procedures are in accordance with SSA Regulations (20 CFR 401.40(c)).

Record access procedures:

            Same as Notification procedures. Also, requesters should reasonably specify the record contents being sought. These procedures are in accordance with SSA Regulations (20 CFR 401.40(c)).

Contesting record procedures:

            Same as Notification procedures. Also, requesters should reasonably identify the record, specify the information they are contesting and 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 SSA Regulations (20 CFR 401.65(a)).

Record source categories:

            Records in this system are derived from inquiries directed to SSA (or component thereof) from members of the public; individuals or someone acting on their behalf; the individual's claims record (maintained in the Claim Folder System, 60-0089); and contacts within and outside SSA.

Systems exempted from certain provisions of the Privacy Act: