SSA Litigation Staff’s Civil Action Tracking System (CATS), SSA/ODISP/OPB/LS

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION NOTICE OF SYSTEM OF RECORDS REQUIRED BY THE PRIVACY ACT OF 1974

System number: 60-0186

System name: 

        SSA Litigation Staff’s Civil Action Tracking System (CATS), SSA/ODISP/OPB/LS.

Security classification: 

        None.

System location: 

        Social Security Administration 
          Litigation Staff 
          6401 Security Boulevar, 
          Baltimore, MD 21235

Categories of individuals covered by the system: 

        Individuals who are involved, as plaintiffs, in class action litigation concerning one or more of the programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA); or who are affected by an Acquiescence Ruling (AR).  When SSA determines that a holding in a Circuit Court decision conflicts with our interpretation of a provision of the Social Security Act or regulation, SSA issues an AR.  When we publish an AR, we send notices to those individuals whose claims may be affected.  (The notice tells the claimant that an AR may affect a prior decision.)  In this regard, the Civil Action Tracking System (CATS) contains a given claimant’s Social Security number (SSN), name and address, and maintains a list of those claimants possibly affected by the AR.

Categories of records in the system: 

        Records for individuals involved in the class action contain beneficiary and claims-related information from SSA’s Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) and/or the Supplemental Security Income Record (SSR).  During the lifetime of the implementation of the court order, the records will also contain information about notices sent, reply forms received, alerts generated, class membership screenings and decisions.  With respect to an AR, as mentioned above, CATS contains basic information (SSN, name and address) that came from one of SSA’s master files or was typed into CATS in the case of a walk-in.

Authority for maintenance of the system: 

        Section 205(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405(a)).

Purpose(s): 

          Records in this system are used by SSA's Litigation Staff to oversee the implementation of court orders and settlement agreements related to class actions.  These records are also used by staff to review and analyze court decisions to recommend litigation strategy for future related cases.

        From an AR standpoint, we use CATS to store addresses to send notices to claimants affected by an AR.

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

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

                        (a)  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, the court or other 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.

            Wage information is not part of the CATS.

                3.  To the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as necessary, for the purpose of auditing SSA's compliance with the safeguard provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) of 1986, as amended.

                4.  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 Archive and Records Administration (NARA) for the purpose of conducting records management studies with respect to their duties and responsibilities under 44 U.S.C. § 2904 and § 2906, as amended by NARA Act of 1984.

                5.  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 to perform their assigned Agency functions.

                6.  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:

Storage: 

        Records are maintained on mainframe computer disk and cartridges.  Occasionally, there may be paper copies of small amounts of data.

Retrievability: 

          The records are retrieved by the Beneficiary Own Account Number (BOAN), last name, and date of birth.

Safeguards: 

          Files in this system are maintained in SSA’s secure computer center and occasionally in paper form in desks or file cabinets that lock.  Access to the files is limited to employees who require the files to perform their duties.  All personnel having access to the records have been informed of criminal sanctions for unauthorized disclosure of information relating to individuals.  (See Appendix G to this publication for additional procedures relating to safeguards SSA employs to protect personal records.)

Retention and disposal: 

        Records are archived on mainframe computer cartridges when the implementation of the court order is completed.  The cartridges are stored indefinitely in a locked file cabinet.

System manager(s) and address: 

        Director 
          Litigation Staff 
          Social Security Administration 
          6401 Security Boulevard 
          Baltimore, MD 21235

Notification procedure: 

          An individual can determine if this system contains a record about him or her by writing to the system manager(s) above. 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 procedures: 

        Same as notification procedures.  Requesters should also 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. Requesters should also reasonably identify the record, specify the information being contested and state the corrective action sought and the reasons for the correction with supporting justification showing how the record is untimely, incomplete, inaccurate or irrelevant.  These procedures are in accordance with SSA Regulations (20 CFR Part 401.65(a)).

Record source categories: 

        Systems of records maintained by SSA (e.g., the Claims Folders System (60‑0089), Master Beneficiary Record (60‑0090) and Supplement Security Income Record and Special Veterans Benefits (60‑0103)).

Systems exempted from certain provisions of the Privacy Act: 

          None.