§ 401.165. Statistical and research activities.

(a) General. Statistical and research activities often do not require information in a format that identifies specific individuals. Therefore, whenever possible, we release information for statistical or research purposes only in the form of aggregates or individual data that cannot be associated with a particular individual. The Privacy Act allows us to release records if there are safeguards that the record will be used solely as a statistical or research record and the individual cannot be identified from any information in the record.

(b) Safeguards for disclosure with identifiers. The Privacy Act also allows us to disclose data for statistical and research purposes in a form allowing individual identification, pursuant to published routine use, when the purpose is compatible with the purpose for which the record was collected. We will disclose personally identifiable information for statistical and research purposes if—

(1) We determine that the requestor needs the information in an identifiable form for a statistical or research activity, will use the information only for that purpose, and will protect individuals from unreasonable and unwanted contacts;

(2) The activity is designed to increase knowledge about present or alternative Social Security programs or other Federal or State income-maintenance or health-maintenance programs; or is used for research that is of importance to the Social Security program or the Social Security beneficiaries; or an epidemiological research project that relates to the Social Security program or beneficiaries; and

(3) The recipient will keep the information as a system of statistical records, will follow appropriate safeguards, and agrees to our on-site inspection of those safeguards so we can be sure the information is used or redisclosed only for statistical or research purposes. No redisclosure of the information may be made without SSA's approval.

(c) Statistical record. A statistical record is a record in a system of records which is maintained only for statistical and research purposes, and which is not used to make any determination about an individual. We maintain and use statistical records only for statistical and research purposes. We may disclose a statistical record if the conditions in paragraph (b) of this section are met.

(d) Compiling of records. Where a request for information for statistical and research purposes would require us to compile records, and doing that would be administratively burdensome to ongoing SSA operations, we may decline to furnish the information.

[62 FR 4143, Jan. 29, 1997, as amended at 72 FR 20941, Apr. 27, 2007]