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  How does Social Security protect my privacy on the Web?

How does Social Security protect my privacy on the Internet?

Is it safe to do Social Security transactions on the Internet?


The privacy of our customers has always been of utmost importance to the Social Security Administration. In fact, our first regulation (see was written to ensure your privacy. As a Federal agency, the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a) requires us to protect the information we collect from you. (See ). The privacy policy outlined below applies to the data we collect from you over the Internet.

Our Internet Privacy Policy

This is our notice to you about why we collect your personal information, how we use it, and who we share it with; what your choices are for how we use your information; how to get access to your information; and how we protect the information we collect and maintain.

Why we collect your personal information 

  • We collect personal data to administer the Social Security program. We do not use the information for any other internal secondary purpose.
  • You don’t have to give us personal information to visit our website.
  • If you do give us your personal information, we treat it very carefully.
  • We collect personal information about you (e.g., name, email address, Social Security number or other unique identifier) only if you specifically and knowingly give it to us.

How we will use your personal information 

  • We do not sell the information we collect at this site, or any information we collect.
  • The personal information you give us at this site will be used only in connection with the administration of the Social Security Program and for other purposes as described in this document or at the point the information is collected.
  • For statistical purposes, we also collect non-personal information about you (see Sometimes we analyze this data to determine customer interest in different parts of our website. The information we share is in a format that does not personally identify anyone.

Who we will share your personal information with 

  • We may disclose information you give us (e.g., to Railroad Retirement Board, Department of Veteran’s Affairs) if authorized or required by Federal law, such as the Privacy Act or the Social Security Act.

Your choice about who we share your personal information with

  • If Federal laws (e.g., Privacy Act, Social Security Act) do not allow us to share information, we must get your written authorization before we can discuss your information with anyone else.

Your access to the information we collect about you 

How we protect the security of the information we collect 

  • The Internet was originally designed as an open system with no built in security; however, we are required to protect the information we collect and maintain about you and will not use the Internet to do business with you unless we can do so in a secure manner. We will take reasonable precautions to maintain the security, confidentiality and integrity of the information we collect at this site.
  • SSA sometimes uses contractors to perform various website and database functions. When we do, we make sure that the agreement language with the contractor ensures the security, confidentiality and integrity of any personal information the contractor may have access to in the course of contract performance.

Our concern about sending personal information via email 

  • Electronic mail is not secure. Therefore, we suggest that you don’t send personal information to us via email. We will only send you general information via email.
  • Electronic mail messages that meet the definition of records in the Federal Records Act (44 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.) are covered under the same disposition schedule as all other Federal records. This means that emails you send us will be preserved and maintained for varying periods of time if those emails meet the definition of Federal records. Electronic messages that are not records are deleted when no longer needed.

Our use of “cookies” and how it affects your visit to our website

  • What is a "cookie"? A cookie is a small piece of text that is sent to your computer along with a webpage when you visit a website. Your computer will give the information in the cookie only to the computer that sent it, and no other website can request it. There are three types of cookies--persistent, third party, and session. We never used persistent or third party cookies, but sometimes we use session cookies.
  • We use session cookies only in some places where you can transact business. We store the cookie on your computer only during your visit, and we’ll tell you in advance when we do. The session cookie keeps you from losing information you’ve entered for a business transaction with us if, during your visit, you leave our website and return.
  • Once you turn off your computer or stop using the Internet, the cookie is erased.

If you visit other websites 

  • Our website contains links to other federal agencies, international agencies, and private organizations. These websites are not within our control and may not follow the same privacy, security or accessibility policies. Once you link to another site you are subject to the policies of that site.

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