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The privacy of all personal information SSA maintains in its databases is protected and controlled by a number of Federal statutes, including section 1106 of the Social Security Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, and related Social Security regulations and policies.

The Privacy Act and related legal authority noted above allows SSA to disclose information from its program records to Federal, State, and local agencies for certain "routine uses." These routine uses, defined in the Privacy Act at 5 U.S.C. ยง 552a(a)(7), are permissive uses of information collected by SSA that, "with respect to the disclosure of a record, the use of such record for a purpose which is compatible with the purpose for which it was collected."

Thus, when a Federal, State, or local agency requests data from SSA, the agency must ensure that the purpose of the request is compatible with administration of its own programs. Compatibility is established when the Federal, State, or local agency requester is asking for data to assist in the administration of programs under the Social Security Act and other Federal, State, and local health and income maintenance programs concerning determinations related to eligibility, benefit amounts or benefit status. SSA's Office of Public Disclosure (located in the Office of the General Counsel) is responsible for evaluating these requests to ensure that compatibility is established and that a specific routine use is present in the applicable Privacy Act system of records (from which data will be disclosed).

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Last reviewed or modified Monday Jan 14, 2008
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