Program Litigation Filing System, Social Security Administration, Office of the General Counsel

Social Security Administration

Notice of System of Records

Required by the Privacy Act of 1974

System number: 60-0278

System name: Program Litigation Filing System, Social Security Administration, Office of the General Counsel.

Security classification: None.

System location:

Office of the General Counsel, Social Security Administration

Room 617 Altmeyer Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235.

Office of the General Counsel, Social Security Administration, Room 600 Altmeyer Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region I, Social Security Administration, John F. Kennedy Federal Building, Room 625, Government Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02203.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region II, Social Security Administration, Room 3904, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region III, Social Security Administration, P.O.Box 41777, Philadelphia, PA 19101.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region IV, Social Security Administration, Atlanta Federal Center, Suite 20T45, 61 Forsyth Street, S.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8920.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region V, Social Security Administration, 200 West Adams, Street, 30th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60606-8920.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region VI, Social Security Administration, Suite 130, 1301 Young Street, Dallas, Texas 75202-5433.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region VII, Social Security Administration, Room 535, 601 East 12th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64106-2898

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region VIII, Social Security Administration, Suite 120, Federal Office Building, 1961 Stout Street, Denver, Colorado 80294.

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region IX, Social Security Administration, Room 405, 50 United Nations Plaza, San Francisco, California 94102

Office of the General Counsel, Chief Counsel, Region X, Social Security Administration, 701 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2900, M/S 901, Seattle, Washington 98104-7075

Categories of individuals covered by the system: The individuals on whom records are maintained in this system are individuals who are involved in litigation with SSA or (in matters within the jurisdiction of SSA) the United States as defendants in civil matters seeking Social Security benefit payments and other types of procedural relief in claims and benefits processing.

Categories of records in the system: The records contain documents either filed in court cases or collected in support of court activities that SSA is either involved in or in which it believes it will or may become involved.

Authorities for maintenance of the system: The authorities for maintaining this system are the various statutes, regulations, rules or orders pertaining to the subject matter of the litigation (e.g., the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 405(g) and 1383(c)).

Purposes: To enable the Office of the General Counsel to efficiently and effectively manage the records of the benefit claim cases being litigated in court.

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:

1.  Records are used in communicating with, among others, Federal and State agencies, private individuals, private attorneys, the United States Attorney and other Federal officials and agencies.  These communications are all for the purpose of providing status information on pending litigation and managing the litigation workload. 

2.  Information may be disclosed to any Federal, State or local agency when the information is relevant to a matter involving the administration of a Federal, State or local income program.

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

4.  Disclosure to the Office of the President for the purpose of responding to an individual pursuant to an inquiry received from that individual or from a third party on his or her behalf.

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

(a)  SSA, or any component thereof;

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

(c) any SSA employee in his/her individual capacity when 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 the litigation or has an interest in such litigation, and SSA determines that the use of such records by DOJ, the court or other tribunal is relevant and necessary to the litigation.

6.   Information may be disclosed to the Department of Justice for the purpose of obtaining that Department's advice concerning disclosure of such information under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.

7.  Records from this system may be disclosed to a private firm under contract to SSA for the purpose of having that firm convert the records to machine- readable form, or collate, analyze, aggregate or otherwise refine the information in the records.  The contractor will be required to maintain Privacy Act safeguards with respect to such records.

8.  Information may be disclosed to student volunteers and other workers who technically do not have the status of Federal employees, when they are performing work for SSA as authorized by law, and they need access to personally identifiable information in SSA records in order to perform their assigned Agency functions.

9.  To a Federal, State, or local agency for law enforcement purposes concerning a violation of law pertaining to the records in this system.

10.  To Federal, State, or local law enforcement agencies and private security contractors as appropriate, if information is necessary (a) to enable them to protect the safety of SSA employees and customers, the security of the SSA workplace, and the operations of SSA facilities, or (b) to assist in investigations or prosecutions with respect to activities that disrupt the operation of SSA facilities.

11.  Non-tax return information which is not restricted from disclosure by federal law may be disclosed to the General Services Administration (GSA) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) under 44 U.S.C. sections 2904 and 2906, as amended by NARA Act of 1984, for the use of those agencies in conducting records management studies.

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

Storage:  Information (court papers and other records) may be stored in files in filing cabinets and on a variety of computer-readable, electronic media (including disc, mass storage and magnetic tape).

Retrievability: The records in this system relating to litigation in court are retrieved by the court docket number.  In addition, records in this system may be retrieved by the names of parties.

Safeguards:  The buildings where these records are stored are safeguarded by a variety of physical security systems that permit access only by authorized personnel and authorized visitors escorted by authorized personnel.

Retention and disposal:  Records are maintained until the judicial proceedings have ended and for varying periods of time thereafter, subject to the Federal Records Act and applicable retention schedules.

System manager(s) and address:  The Agency official responsible for the system policies and practices outlined above is: the General Counsel, Social Security Administration, Room 617 Altmeyer Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Md. 21235. 

Notification procedure: An individual can determine if this system contains a record about him/her by writing to the systems 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 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).

Record access procedure:  Same as notification procedures.  Also, requesters should reasonably specify the record contents being sought.  Access will not be provided to information about drafts or copies of draft documents or internal government communications.

Contesting record procedure:   Same as notification procedures above.  Also, requesters should reasonably identify the record, specify the information that is contested, state the corrective actions sought and the reasons for requesting the correction, and furnish supporting evidence to show why the record is not accurate, timely, complete, relevant or necessary.  These procedures comply with applicable regulations.

Record source categories:  The sources for information in this system include attorneys and staff in OGC, formal and informal discovery, Federal and State agencies and the individuals involved in the litigation of benefit claims. 

Systems exempted from certain provisions of the Privacy Act:  None.