Social Security Administration
Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)
National 800-Number Claims Status
· Privacy Impact Assessment Contact.
Field Network and Planning
Office of Telephone Services
Social Security Administration
National 800-Number Claim Status Automated Telephone System Application
This automated telephone system application will allow Title II claimants who have filed for benefits (Social Security Retirement, Spouse’s, or Disability) to receive the status of their claim(s) filed: (1) in the Social Security field office (FO); (2) over the telephone; or (3) online, with the automated telephone portion of SSA’s National 800-Number using interactive voice recognition or the touchtone feature. In order to use this application, the users must have first filed an application for Title II benefits, provided enough information to get the process started, and received an 8-digit numeric confirmation number.
We provide a confirmation number when a person files a claim for Title II benefits:
1. In the FO and the individual states that he or she would like to use the internet or the telephone to get the status of his or her claim. The system will generate a confirmation number and the Claims Representative will print a copy of the confirmation number and give it to the claimant; or
2. Over the telephone with a Social Security Claims Representative and the individual states that he or she would like to use the internet or the telephone to get the status of his or her claim. The system will generate and mail a confirmation number to the individual’s mailing address; or
3. Online at the Social Security website. The confirmation number is generated automatically.
Collection of Information
This automated telephone system application requires that the user input his or her Social Security number (SSN), date of birth (DOB), and an 8-digit numeric confirmation number.
We will use a knowledge-based process to verify the identity of the user, and use the confirmation number to associate that user with the appropriate claim. To this end, we will match the SSN and DOB information with information in our Privacy Act system of records entitled, Master Files of Social Security Number (SSN) Holders and SSN Applications, (60-0058), to verify the caller’s identity. Once we verify the identity, we will match the confirmation number with information in our Privacy Act system of records entitled, Claims Folders System, (60-0089) to determine the appropriate claim on which the user is requesting a status. If we verify the user’s identity, we will associate the verified identity information with the appropriate SSA records and we will provide the individual the status of his or her claim.
The information collected in this telephone application will not be shared nor will we maintain any of the data elements input by the user. It is held encrypted in short-lived memory. When the call is completed, we delete all of the information collected during the call.
Describe the administrative and technological controls that are in place or that are planned to secure the information being collected.
Reducing Potential Risks to Individuals’ Privacy and Protecting Information Being Collected
In order to mitigate risks, access to the actual claim status requires an exact match of the SSN and confirmation number. Users who fail the authentication process, users who do not have a confirmation number, and those beneficiaries who have blocked all automated telephone system and Internet access to their personal information will be unable to use this automated telephone system application. The user will be offered the option to speak with an agent.
Administrative and Technological Controls that are in Place
The automated telephone system that houses the claim status application has undergone authentication and security risk analyses. This process includes an evaluation of security and audit controls proven to be effective in protecting the information collected, stored, processed, and transmitted by our information systems. These include technical, management, and operational controls that permit access to our information only to users with and official “need to know.” Audit mechanisms are in place to record sensitive transactions as an additional measure to protect information from unauthorized disclosure or modification.
We protect information in our systems by requiring individuals who are authorized to access information contained in our systems to use a unique personal identification number. In addition, we store the computerized records in secure areas that are accessible only to those employees who require the information to perform their official duties. All of our employees who have access to our systems that maintain personal information must sign a sanction document annually that acknowledges penalties for unauthorized access to, or disclosure of such information.
SSA also has trust agreements with the telecommunications vendor, which ensure that all communications between the vendor and SSA will be transferred within a secure, virus worm-free environment.
Are individuals afforded an opportunity to decline to provide information?
We collect information only where we have legal authority to do so to administer our responsibilities under the Social Security Act. When we collect information from individuals, we advise them of our legal authority for requesting the information, the purposes for which we will use and disclose the information, and the consequences of not providing any or all of the requested information. The users can then make an informed decision whether or not to provide the information.
Use of this automated telephone system claim status application is voluntary. Users who choose to use this service must provide all the requested data elements necessary to verify their identity, and have a confirmation number in order to receive the claim status. Users who fail the authentication process, users who do not have a confirmation number, or users who have blocked all automated telephone system and Internet access to their personal information, are unable to use this automated telephone system claim status application and will be offered the option to speak with an agent.
When we collect information from users, we advise them of the purposes for which we will use the information. We further advise them that we will disclose this information without their prior written consent only when we have specific authority in Federal statue (e.g., the Privacy Act) to do so.
The identity information that we will request from the users of this automated telephone application will be verified against corresponding information already maintained in our records that was collected at the time the user filed for an SSN or benefits. We will not use the information provided by the users of this automated telephone application for any other purpose, or retain any of the information once the call is terminated.
This automated telephone application does not require a new Privacy Act system of records or an alteration to an existing system of records because there is no new and permanent collection of identifiable data in this application process. The Claims Status Telephone System Application uses information that is collected and maintained for purposes related to other business processes for which there are currently Privacy Act systems of records (60-0058 and 60-0089).
PIA CONDUCTED BY PRIVACY OFFICER, SSA
______________________ February 7, 2008
PIA REVIEWED BY THE SENIOR AGENCY PRIVACY OFFICIAL, SSA
/s/ David F. Black________ February 15, 2008