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Notice

Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Correction to Existing System of Records

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AGENCY:

Social Security Administration (SSA).

ACTION:

Notice of a minor non-substantive change to an existing system of record.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4) and (e)(11)), we are issuing public notice of our intent to make a minor non-substantive change to an existing system of records entitled the Supplemental Security Income Record and Special Veterans Benefits(SSR/SVB), SSA/OSR, 60-0103. We invite public comments on this proposal.

DATES:

These changes are effective May 22, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Interested individuals may comment on this publication by writing to the SSA Privacy Officer, Social Security Administration, 3-F-1 Operations Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401. All comments received will be available for public inspection at the above address.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Pamela McLaughlin, Social Insurance Program Specialist, Social Security Administration, Room 3-C-2 Operations Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235-6401, telephone (410) 965-3677.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Supplemental Security Income Record and Special Veterans Benefits(SSR/SVB), SSA/OSR, 60-0103 maintains eligibility information about applicants and recipients of payments under titles VIII and XVI of the Social Security Act. (See the Categories of individuals covered by the system and Categories of records in the system in the notice below for a complete description of the individuals and records covered by the system of records.) The information maintained includes “income” data which in some cases could constitute “returns or return information” within the scope of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), as amended.

We, therefore, are amending the section of the Federal Register notice of the SSR/SVB system of records entitled Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses to indicate that any information maintained in this system will not be disclosed unless disclosure is authorized by the IRC.

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Darrell Blevins,

SSA Privacy Officer.

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60-0103

System name:

Supplemental Security Income Record and Special Veterans Benefits, SSA/OSR.

Security classification:

None.

System location:

Social Security Administration, Office of Telecommunications and Systems Operations, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235.

Records also may be located in the Social Security Administration (SSA) Regional and field offices (individuals should consult their local telephone directories for address information).

Categories of individuals covered by the system:

This file contains a record for each individual who has applied for supplemental security income (SSI) payments, including individuals who have requested an advance payment; Start Printed Page 32143SSI recipients who have been overpaid; and ineligible persons associated with an SSI recipient. This file also covers those individuals who have applied for and who are entitled to the Special Veterans Benefits (SVB) under title VIII of the Social Security Act. (This file does not cover applicants who do not have a Social Security number (SSN).)

Categories of records in the system:

This file contains data regarding SSI eligibility; citizenship; residence; Medicaid eligibility; eligibility for other benefits; alcoholism or drug addiction data, if applicable (disclosure of this information may be restricted by 21 U.S.C. 1175 and 42 U.S.C. 290dd-3 and ee-3); income data; resources; payment amounts, including overpayment amounts and date and amount of advance payments; living arrangements; case folder location data; appellate decisions, if applicable; SSN used to identify a particular individual, if applicable; information about representative payees, if applicable; and a history of changes to any of the persons who have applied for SSI payments. For eligible individuals, the file contains basic identifying information, income and resources (if any) and, in conversion cases, the State welfare number.

This file also contains information about applicants for SVB:

The information maintained in this system of records is collected from the applicants for title VIII SVB, and other systems of records maintained by SSA. The information maintained includes a data element indicating this is a title VIII SVB claim. It will also include: Identifying information such as the applicant's name, Social Security number (SSN) and date of birth (DOB); telephone number (if any); foreign and domestic addresses; the applicant's sex; income data, payment amounts (including overpayment amounts); and other information provided by the applicant relative to his or her entitlement for SVB.

If the beneficiary has a representative payee, this system of records includes data about the representative payee such as the payee's SSN; employer identification number, if applicable; and mailing address.

Authority for maintenance of the system:

Sections 1602, 1611, 1612, 1613, 1614, 1615, 1616, 1631, 1633, 1634 of title XVI and title VIII of the Social Security Act (the Act).

Purpose(s):

SSI records begin in Social Security field offices where an individual or couple files an application for SSI payments. SVB records begin in Social Security field offices and Veterans Affairs Regional Office (VARO) where an individual files an application for SVB payments. The SSI and SVB applications contain data which may be used to prove the identity of the applicant, to determine his/her eligibility for SSI or SVB payments and, in cases where eligibility is determined, to compute the amount of the payment. Information from the application, in addition to data used internally to control and process SSI and SVB cases, is used to create the Supplemental Security Income Record (SSR). The SSR also is used as a means of providing a historical record of all activity on a particular individual's or couple's record.

In addition, statistical data are derived from the SSR for actuarial and management information purposes.

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 constituting ‘returns or return information’ within the scope of the Internal Revenue Code will not be disclosed unless disclosure is authorized by that statute.

(1) To the Department of the Treasury to prepare SSI, Energy Assistance, and SVB checks to be sent to claimants or beneficiaries.

(2) To the States to establish the minimum income level for computation of State supplements.

(3) To the following Federal and State agencies to prepare information for verification of benefit eligibility under section 1631(e) of the Act: Bureau of Indian Affairs; Office of Personnel Management; Department of Agriculture; Department of Labor; Immigration and Naturalization Service; Internal Revenue Service; Railroad Retirement Board; State Pension Funds; State Welfare Offices; State Worker's Compensation; Department of Defense; United States Coast Guard; and Department of Veterans Affairs.

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

(5) To the appropriate State agencies (or other agencies providing services to disabled children) to identify title XVI eligibles under the age of 16 for the consideration of rehabilitation services in accordance with section 1615 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 1382d.

(6) To contractors under contract to SSA or under contract to another agency with funds provided by SSA for the performance of research and statistical activities directly relating to this system of records.

(7) To State audit agencies for auditing State supplementation payments and Medicaid eligibility consideration.

(8) To State agencies to effect and report the fact of Medicaid eligibility of title XVI recipients in the jurisdiction of those States which have elected Federal determinations of Medicaid eligibility of title XVI eligibles and to assist the States in administering the Medicaid program.

(9) To State agencies to identify title XVI eligibles in the jurisdiction of those States which have not elected Federal determinations of Medicaid eligibility in order to assist those States in establishing and maintaining Medicaid rolls and in administering the Medicaid program.

(10) To State agencies to enable those agencies which have elected Federal administration of their supplementation programs to monitor changes in applicant/recipient income, special needs, and circumstances.

(11) To State agencies to enable those agencies which have elected to administer their own supplementation programs to identify SSI eligibles in order to determine the amount of their monthly supplementary payments.

(12) To State agencies to enable them to assist in the effective and efficient administration of the SSI program.

(13) To State agencies to enable those which have an agreement with SSA to carry out their functions with respect to Interim Assistance Reimbursement pursuant to section 1631(g) of the Act.

(14) To State agencies to enable them to locate potentially eligible individuals and to make eligibility determinations for extensions of social services under the provisions of title XX of the Act.

(15) To State agencies to assist them in determining initial and continuing eligibility in their income maintenance programs and for investigation and prosecution of conduct subject to criminal sanctions under these programs.

(16) To the United States Postal Service for investigating the alleged theft, forgery or unlawful negotiation of SSI and SVB checks.

(17) To the Department of the Treasury for investigating the alleged theft, forgery or unlawful negotiation of SSI and SVB checks.

(18) To the Department of Education for determining the eligibility of applicants for Basic Educational Opportunity Grants. Start Printed Page 32144

(19) To Federal, State or local agencies (or agents on their behalf) for administering cash or non-cash income maintenance or health maintenance programs (including programs under the Act). Such disclosures include, but are not limited to, release of information to:

(a) The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) upon request for determining eligibility for, or amount of, DVA benefits or verifying other information with respect thereto in accordance with 38 U.S.C. 5106;

(b) The RRB for administering the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act;

(c) State agencies to determine eligibility for Medicaid;

(d) State agencies to locate potentially eligible individuals and to make determinations of eligibility for the food stamp program;

(e) State agencies to administer energy assistance to low income groups under programs for which the States are responsible; and

(f) Department of State and its agents to assist SSA in administering the Social Security Act in foreign countries, the American Institute on Taiwan and its agents to assist in administering the Social Security Act in Taiwan, the VA, Philippines Regional Office and its agents to assist in administering the Social Security Act in the Philippines, and the Department of Interior and its agents to assist in administering the Social Security Act in the Northern Mariana Islands.

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

(21) To the Office of the President for the purpose of responding to an individual pursuant to an inquiry received from that individual or a third party on his/her behalf.

(22) Upon request, information on the identity and location of aliens may be disclosed to the DOJ (Criminal Division, Office of Special Investigations) for the purpose of detecting, investigating and, where necessary, taking legal action against suspected Nazi war criminals in the United States.

(23) To third party contacts such as private collection agencies and credit reporting agencies under contract with SSA and State motor vehicle agencies for the purpose of their assisting SSA in recovering overpayments.

(24) Information may be disclosed to contractors and other Federal agencies, as necessary, for the purpose of assisting SSA in the efficient administration of its programs. We contemplate disclosing information under this routine use only in situations in which SSA may enter a contractual or similar agreement with a third party to assist in accomplishing an agency function relating to this system of records.

(25) Non-tax return information which is not restricted from disclosure by Federal law may be disclosed to General Services Administration and National Archives 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.

(26) To the DOJ, a court or other tribunal, or another party before such tribunal when:

(a) SSA, any component thereof,

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

(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 and other information which are subject to the disclosure provisions of the IRC (26 U.S.C. 6103) will not be disclosed under this routine use unless disclosure is expressly permitted by the IRC.

(27) To representative payees, when the information pertains to individuals for whom they serve as representative payees, for the purpose of assisting SSA in administering its representative payment responsibilities under the Act and assisting the representative payees in performing their duties as payees, including receiving and accounting for benefits for individuals for whom they serve as payees.

(28) To third party contacts (e.g., employers and private pension plans) in situations where the party to be contacted has, or is expected to have, information relating to the individual's capability to manage his/her affairs or his/her eligibility for, or entitlement to, benefits under the Social Security program when:

(a) The individual is unable to provide information being sought. An individual is considered to be unable to provide certain types of information when:

(i) He/she is incapable or of questionable mental capability;

(ii) He/she cannot read or write;

(iii) He/she cannot afford the cost of obtaining the information;

(iv) He/she has a hearing impairment, and is contacting SSA by telephone through a telecommunications relay system operator;

(v) A language barrier exists; or

(vi) The custodian of the information will not, as a matter of policy, provide it to the individual; or

(b) The data are needed to establish the validity of evidence or to verify the accuracy of information presented by the individual, and it concerns one or more of the following:

(i) His/her eligibility for benefits under the Social Security program;

(ii) The amount of his/her benefit payment; or

(iii) Any case in which the evidence is being reviewed as a result of suspected fraud, concern for program integrity, quality appraisal, or evaluation and measurement activities.

(29) To Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) for use in its program studies of, and development of enhancements for, State vocational rehabilitation programs. These are programs to which applicants or beneficiaries under titles II and or XVI of the Act may be referred. Data released to RSA will not include any personally identifying information (such as names or SSNs).

(30) Addresses of beneficiaries who are obligated on loans held by the Secretary of Education or a loan made in accordance with 20 U.S.C. 1071, et. seq. (the Robert T. Stafford Student Loan Program) may be disclosed to the Department of Education as authorized by section 489A of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

(31) 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.

(32) To Federal, State, and 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 operation of SSA facilities, or

(b) To assist investigations or prosecutions with respect to activities that affect such safety and security or activities that disrupt the operation of SSA facilities. Start Printed Page 32145

(33) Corrections to information that resulted in erroneous inclusion of individuals in the Death Master File (DMF) may be disclosed to recipients of erroneous DMF information.

(34) Information as to whether an individual is alive or deceased may be disclosed pursuant to section 1106(d) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1306(d)), upon request, for purposes of an epidemiological or similar research project, provided that:

(a) SSA determines in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services, that the research may reasonably be expected to contribute to a national health interest;

(b) The requester agrees to reimburse SSA for the costs of providing the information; and

(c) the requester agrees to comply with any safeguards and limitations specified by SSA regarding rerelease or redisclosure of the information.

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

Storage:

Records are maintained in magnetic media (e.g., magnetic tape) and in microform and microfiche form.

Retrievability:

Records are indexed and retrieved by SSN.

Safeguards:

System security for automated records has been established in accordance with the Systems Security Handbook. This includes maintaining all magnetic tapes and magnetic disks within an enclosure attended by security guards. Anyone entering or leaving that enclosure must have special badges which are only issued to authorized personnel. All authorized personnel having access to the magnetic records are subject to the penalties of the Privacy Act. The microfiche are stored in locked cabinets, and are accessible to employees only on a need-to-know basis. All SSR State Data Exchange records are protected in accordance with agreements between SSA and the respective States regarding confidentiality, use, and redisclosure.

Retention and disposal

Original input transaction tapes received which contain initial claims and posteligibility actions are retained indefinitely although these are processed as received and incorporated into processing tapes which are updated to the master SSR tape file on a monthly basis. All magnetic tapes appropriate to SSI information furnished to specified Federal, State, and local agencies for verification of eligibility for benefits and under section 1631(e) are retained, in accordance with the PA accounting requirements, for at least 5 years or the life of the record, whichever is longer.

System manager(s) and address:

Director, Division of Supplemental Security Income Systems, Office of Systems Requirements, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235.

Notification procedure:

An individual can determine if this system contains a record about him/her by writing to or visiting any Social Security field office and providing his or her name and SSN. (Individuals should consult their local telephone directories for Social Security office address and telephone information.) Applicants for SVB who reside in the Philippines should contact VARO, Philippines. (Furnishing the SSN is voluntary, but it will make searching for an individual's record easier and prevent delay.)

An individual requesting notification of records in person need not furnish any special documents of identity. Documents he/she would normally carry on his/her person would be sufficient (e.g., credit cards, driver's license, or voter registration card). An individual requesting notification via mail or telephone must furnish a minimum of his/her name, date of birth and address in order to establish identity, plus any additional information specified in this section. These procedures are in accordance with SSA Regulations (20 CFR 401.40(c)).

Record access procedures:

Same as notification procedures. Requesters should also reasonably specify the record contents being sought. An individual who requests notification of, or access to, a medical record shall, at the time he or she makes the request, designate in writing a responsible representative who will be willing to review the record and inform the subject individual of its contents at the representative's discretion. A parent or guardian who requests notification of, or access to, a minor's medical record shall at the time he or she makes the request designate a physician or other health professional (other than a family member) who will be willing to review the record and inform the parent or guardian of its contents at the physician's or health professional's discretion. These procedures are in accordance with SSA Regulations (20 CFR 401.40(c) and 401.55).

Contesting record procedures:

Same as notification procedures. Requesters should also reasonably identify the record, specify the information they are contesting and state 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).

Record source categories:

Data contained in the SSR are obtained for the most part from the applicant for SSI and SVB payments and are derived from the Claims Folders System (60-0089) and the Modernized Supplemental Security Income Claims System. The States and other Federal agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs also provide data affecting the SSR.

Systems exempted from certain provisions of the Privacy Act:

None.

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[FR Doc. 00-12591 Filed 5-19-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4190-11-U