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Under The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Title 5 of the United States Code, section 552, any person has the right to request access to public records: criminal records, arrests & warrants, inmate records, vital records & more.

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Accessing and Researching Social Security Records

The Social Security Act and the laws related to it establish a number of programs which are based on social welfare and social insurance programs. The most common and the better known programs are disability, federal old age and survivors insurance, benefits for the unemployed, assistance on a temporary basis to the needy families, health insurance for the aged and the disabled, medical assistance programs grants, State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Records Contained in Social Security

The records which are available in the Social Security records are manuals of administrative staff of the Social Security Administration and staff personnel instructions which comprises of procedures, policies and interpretations which affect the public are available for copying and inspection.

You can access the SSA records online for inspection and copying and you can also these records from any of the filed office of the SSA or from the headquarters in Baltimore.

The SSA Program Policy Information Site also includes the public version of the Program Operations Manual System or POMS. The primary source of information used by the employees of Social Security to process claims for Social Security benefits is the POMS. The version of the POMS that is used by the employees of Social Security is identical to the public version, the only difference being the sensitive content instruction and the internal data entry.

In the records section, you can come across the information related to retirement insurance, survivors insurance, disability insurance, hospital and medical insurance, supplemental security income, special veterans benefits, unemployment insurance, public assistance and welfare services which includes services like child health and maternal services, child support, family and child welfare and few others.  

Creation of Records

The whole concept of the social security came into existence to assist old age people, survivors and other people with disability. The social security is like a social insurance program which is funded through dedicated payroll taxes which is known as the Federal Insurance Contributions Act or FICA. People are entitled to use this benefit which is aided by the government especially for those who are retired, unemployed and disabled. The information is collected from them for the purpose of enrollment to the program and in return they are provided with a social security membership number to avail the services.

The applicants are provided with a form which is known as the SS-5, it is an application for social security number. The form requests the following information: Full name of the applicant (including the maiden name), mailing address, age at last birthday, date of birth, birth place (state, county and city), full name of father and mother which also includes the maiden name, sex, race, declaration of whether the applicant ever applied for social security, name and address of the current employer, date signed and the signature of the applicant.

These are the information which is collected by the records division of the Social Security Administration. 

Accessing the Records

To get a copy of your Social Security record, you can contact the U.S. Social Security Administration by visiting OEO FOIA Workgroup, 300 N. Green Street, P.O. Box 33022, Baltimore, Maryland 21290 3022 or call 1 800 772 1213. You can also visit the official website online for records.

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