Social Security Administration (SSA) Records Management (RM) Policy
Our Records Management Staff (RMS), located in the Office of Budget, Finance and Management (OBFM), maintains and oversees agency policies, responsibilities, and procedures for the orderly disposition of records within our agency. These policies include the governance of Vital Records, SSA Business Cards, Email Retention, SSA Letterhead, SSA Stationery, and the SSA Logo.
A records schedule identifies records as either temporary or permanent. All Federal records require scheduling per 44 U.S.C. 3303, either by an agency-specific schedule or a General Records Schedule (GRS). The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) must approve all records schedules.
A records schedule provides mandatory instructions for the disposition of records (including the transfer of permanent records and disposal of temporary records) when no longer needed by the agency. We use a blended approach to scheduling agency records using NARA’s GRS and NARA-approved schedules for records unique to our agency. We also maintain a file plan and classification scheme describing the record type, the component owning the record, and the approved disposition.
- SSA-Specific Records Schedules:
NARA issues bulletins to Federal agencies to provide guidance and assistance on the management and disposition of Federal records. The first bulletin issued each fiscal year contains a list of the bulletins still in effect.
We respond to NARA bulletins via email to document the fulfillment of all NARA-imposed RM requirements.
When permanent records stored at the National Records Center (NRC) are ready for accessioning into the National Archives, we receive an SF258 - Agreement to Transfer Records to the National Archives of the United States . The SF 258 officially documents the change in legal custody of the records and states the terms of the accession. Our Records Officer receives, reviews, and signs the form. Upon completion, we promptly mail the SF 258 to the NRC for processing and forwarding to the NARA accessioning unit. After NARA review and approval, the NRC organizes and accomplishes the physical transfer of the records.
We perform an annual inventory (a detailed listing of the volume, scope, and complexity of records) of agency-specific schedules. This action ensures current and pertinent records retention guidelines are readily available for access to determine appropriate NARA-approved records retention and disposal criteria for all records created and in use for agency business purposes. We perform necessary schedule updates at the time of the inventory.
- SSA-Specific Records Schedules:
We accomplish successful disposal approvals in accordance with NARA regulations located at:
Federal Records Centers (FRC) will not destroy any SSA records without our written approval. The FRC sends the Notice of Eligibility for Disposal, NA Form 13001, to our Records Officer 90 days before scheduled destruction of agency records. The Records Officer takes action to verify the records are ready for disposal and returns the signed NA Form 13001 to the FRC to destroy the records as scheduled.
Our records retention policy and agency-specific records schedules are readily available on our Intranet website for easy employee access. NARA publicly posts SSA’s agency-specific records schedules at:
The GRS and NARA policy are also available for public access at:
We prepared and officially registered four agency-specific electronic records schedules for our master file systems in September 2009. By doing so, we satisfied the NARA requirement for scheduling our electronic records. The following are the four electronic records schedules:
- Earnings Recording and Self-Employment Income System
- Enumeration System
- Master Beneficiary Record
- Supplemental Security Income Record
The registered schedules underwent the NARA appraisal process. To date, the Archivist of the United States approved three of the four schedules listed above. We anticipate approval of the remaining schedule for the Enumeration System. Upon final approval of the U.S. Archivist, all schedules are viewable at the public access link:
We also prepared and registered an agency-specific electronic records schedule for the Social Security Internet Websites in February 2010. NARA approved the schedule in February 2011 and is viewable at the following public access link:
We ensure appropriate scheduling of all agency records in accordance with part 1225 of the Code of Federal Regulations:
- Part 1225 - Scheduling Records:
We also ensure timely transfer of permanent records and schedule implementation in accordance with part 1226 of this subchapter.
- Part 1226 - Implementing Disposition:
We promptly disseminate and implement NARA-approved agency schedules, additions, and changes to the GRS in accordance with 1236.12a of this subchapter.
- Part 1236 - Electronic Records Management:
In accordance with NARA Bulletin 2010-02, we initiate appropriate measures to improve the management of all electronic records, including web records, as directed by Section 207(e) of the E-Government Act of 2002 [44 U.S.C. 3601]. We report progress towards RM responsibilities to OMB in the Annual E-Gov Act Report (www.socialsecurity.gov/irm/). Refer to above information regarding our accomplishments in scheduling electronic records.
We ensure that NARA-approved retention schedules are in place for all Federal records in existing electronic information systems. We incorporate RM and archival functions into the design, development, and implementation of all new information systems in accordance with our systems development lifecycle. Our Systems Project Managers must complete a “Records Management Technical Questionnaire” (RMQ) for all information systems and submit it to the Records Officer. The Records Officer evaluates the RMQ and provides an RM functionality determination prior to implementation of any new system.
RMS uses a blended approach to provide training and guidance to all employees on agency records disposition requirements, procedures, and other significant aspects of the RM program. Upon issuance of a new or revised records schedule, we provide specific guidance to employees responsible for applying the schedule. We use Video on Demand, Live Meeting, and individual training sessions to disseminate pertinent RM information.
- National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Records Management Courses:
- NARA Records Managers Page:
- Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA):
- NARA RM Publications:
We've posted our Open Government Plan 2.0 update, which reflects our continuing commitment to the principles of openness and accountability. This refreshed plan includes additional input we received from Open Government stakeholders, the public and our employees; summarizes the progress we have made in implementing Open Government principles at our agency; and outlines additional commitments we expect to meet in the next two years.
- Press Releases
- Radio Public Service Announcements
- Television Public Service Announcements
- Social Security Update Newsletter
- Legislative & Congressional Affairs
Under certain circumstances, Social Security can provide a speaker to discuss our programs, benefits, and services. We provide speakers free of charge, and they are generally available during business hours only. Please note that we are not able to fulfill all requests.
The Administration is committed to creating an open and transparent government through the following initiatives: