B-199239.OM, OCT 5, 1981

B-199239.OM: Oct 5, 1981

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EACH BENEFICIARY WHOSE SSN IS DISCLOSED MUST SIGN EITHER FORM 1153 OR SEPARATE FORM ACKNOWLEDGING VOLUNTARINESS OF SSN DISCLOSURE AND AWARENESS OF NOTICE PROVISIONS IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH SECTION 7 OF PRIVACY ACT. 5 U.S.C. REQUIRES THAT WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL'S SSN IS REQUESTED BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY. THE INDIVIDUAL BE INFORMED WHETHER DISCLOSURE IS MANDATORY OR VOLUNTARY AND THE USES THAT WILL BE MADE OF THE SSN: "ANY FEDERAL. OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY WHICH REQUESTS AN INDIVIDUAL TO DISCLOSE HIS SOCIAL SECURITY ACCOUNT NUMBER SHALL INFORM THAT INDIVIDUAL WHETHER THAT DISCLOSURE IS MANDATORY OR VOLUNTARY. BY WHAT STATUTORY OR OTHER AUTHORITY SUCH NUMBER IS SOLICITED. WHAT USES WILL BE MADE OF IT.".

B-199239.OM, OCT 5, 1981

SUBJECT: PRIVACY ACT NOTICE ON SF 1153 (B-199239-O.M.) DIGEST: STANDARD FORM 1153 (CLAIM FOR UNPAID COMPENSATION OF DECEASED CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE) REQUESTS SSN OF CLAIMANT AND POTENTIAL BENEFICIARIES. EACH BENEFICIARY WHOSE SSN IS DISCLOSED MUST SIGN EITHER FORM 1153 OR SEPARATE FORM ACKNOWLEDGING VOLUNTARINESS OF SSN DISCLOSURE AND AWARENESS OF NOTICE PROVISIONS IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH SECTION 7 OF PRIVACY ACT. 5 U.S.C. SEC. 522A.

CHIEF, PAYMENT CLAIMS BRANCH - GEORGE V. HART:

YOU ASKED US TO SUPPLY A PRIVACY ACT STATEMENT FOR YOUR REVISED VERSION OF STANDARD FORM 1153 (CLAIM FOR UNPAID COMPENSATION OF DECEASED CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE). AMONG OTHER THINGS, THIS FORM REQUESTS THE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (SSN) OF THE CLAIMANT WHO FILLS OUT THE FORM, AND ALSO CALLS FOR THE CLAIMANT TO SUPPLY THE NAMES AND SSNS OF OTHER POTENTIAL BENEFICIARIES AS SPECIFIED (E.G., SURVIVING SPOUSE, CHILDREN).

SECTION 7(B) OF THE PRIVACY ACT, 88 STAT. 1909, 5 U.S.C. SEC. 552A NOTE, REQUIRES THAT WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL'S SSN IS REQUESTED BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY, THE INDIVIDUAL BE INFORMED WHETHER DISCLOSURE IS MANDATORY OR VOLUNTARY AND THE USES THAT WILL BE MADE OF THE SSN:

"ANY FEDERAL, STATE, OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY WHICH REQUESTS AN INDIVIDUAL TO DISCLOSE HIS SOCIAL SECURITY ACCOUNT NUMBER SHALL INFORM THAT INDIVIDUAL WHETHER THAT DISCLOSURE IS MANDATORY OR VOLUNTARY, BY WHAT STATUTORY OR OTHER AUTHORITY SUCH NUMBER IS SOLICITED, AND WHAT USES WILL BE MADE OF IT."

ON FORM 1153 THE FEDERAL AGENCY REQUESTS THE CLAIMANT TO UNPAID COMPENSATION TO DISCLOSE NOT ONLY HIS OR HER OWN SSN BUT ALSO THE SSNS OF OTHER PERSONS. IN A PRIOR MEMORANDUM, B-156022, NOVEMBER 1, 1977, WE STATED THAT REQUESTING THE SSN OF THIRD PERSONS/BENEFICIARIES TO BE ADDED TO A SIMILAR FORM (SF 1152) WOULD CONFLICT WITH SECTION 7 OF THE PRIVACY ACT SINCE THE THIRD PERSON WHOSE SSN WAS REQUESTED WOULD NOT BE INFORMED WHETHER OR NOT DISCLOSURE OF HIS OR HER SSN WAS LEGALLY REQUIRED OR WHAT USES WOULD BE MADE OF IT.

THE ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (OMB) APPARENTLY AGREES WITH THIS POSITION AND SUGGESTED TO US BY LETTER DATED JUNE 30, 1981, THAT THE BETTER ALTERNATIVE MAY BE TO PROVIDE THE NOTICE TO THE CLAIMANT IN A FORM WHICH HE OR SHE CAN FORWARD TO THE THIRD PARTY BENEFICIARY. OMB FURTHER SUGGESTED THAT SINCE IT IS LIKELY THAT THE CLAIMANT DOES NOT KNOW THE SSN OF THE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARIES HE NAMES, IT IS PROBABLE THAT HE WOULD NEED TO CONTACT THEM ANYHOW TO OBTAIN THAT INFORMATION.

THEREFORE, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE CLAIMANT SHOULD NOT BE ASKED TO DISCLOSE THE SSN OF THE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARIES WITHOUT DOING WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PROVIDE A PRIVACY ACT NOTICE FOR SUCH BENEFICIARIES. WE BELIEVE THAT ATTEMPTING TO FASHION A PRIVACY ACT NOTICE WOULD BE WORTHWHILE IN THIS CASE (AS OPPOSED TO DROPPING ANY REQUEST FOR BENEFICIARY SSNS). THE SSN OF THE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARIES IS EXTREMELY USEFUL FOR THEIR IDENTIFICATION AT THE TIME OF THE CLAIMANT'S DEATH, AND OFTEN IS THE ONLY AVAILABLE IDENTIFIER (THE BENEFICIARY'S NAME AND ADDRESS MAY CHANGE). ALSO, THE DISCLOSURE IN THIS CASE IS FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF THE BENEFICIARY.

WE SUGGEST THE FOLLOWING PRIVACY ACT NOTICE BE GIVEN TO THAT PART OF FORM 1153 REQUESTING THE SSN OF THE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY:

1. DISCLOSURE OF THE BENEFICIARIES' SSN IS VOLUNTARY BUT EXTREMELY USEFUL TO IDENTIFY THEM SINCE THEIR ADDRESSES AND NAMES MAY CHANGE. AS A CLAIMANT, YOU SHOULD NOT DISCLOSE THE SSN OF YOUR DESIGNATED BENEFICIARIES WITHOUT THEIR PRIOR CONSENT AND KNOWLEDGE THAT THE DISCLOSURE IS VOLUNTARY AND WILL BE USED ONLY FOR PURPOSES OF IDENTIFICATION.

2. THE SSN OF THE BENEFICIARIES' IS SOLICITED PURSUANT TO EXECUTIVE ORDER 9397 OF 1943 WHICH PROVIDES THAT IT IS THE INTEREST OF ECONOMY AND ORDERLY ADMINISTRATION THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT USE EXCLUSIVELY THE SSN FOR IDENTIFICATION.

3. THE BENEFICIARY'S SSN WILL BE USED TO IDENTIFY THEM IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR RIGHTS UNDER THIS FORM.

WE THEN SUGGEST THAT EACH DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY WHOSE SSN IS DISCLOSED SIGN EITHER FORM 1153 OR A SEPARATE FORM ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THE DISCLOSURE OF HIS OR HER SSN IS VOLUNTARY AND THAT HE OR SHE IS AWARE OF THE NOTICE PROVISIONS. SINCE THE CLAIMANT MUST OFTEN ASK THE BENEFICIARY FOR THE SSN PRIOR TO DISCLOSING IT ON THE FORM, HE CAN, AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, OBTAIN THE BENEFICIARY'S SIGNATURE AT THIS TIME.

THE PRIVACY ACT NOTICE FOR REQUESTING THE SSN OF THE CLAIMANT (I.E., THE PERSON SUBMITTING THE FORM 1153 AS OPPOSED TO THE OTHER POTENTIAL BENEFICIARIES WHO MUST BE DESIGNATED) IS STRAIGHT-FORWARD SINCE THE CLAIMANT IS THE ONE SIGNING THE FORM. THE FOLLOWING NOTICE TO THE CLAIMANT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE:

1. DISCLOSURE OF YOUR SSN IS MANDATORY AND SOLICITED PURSUANT TO EXECUTIVE ORDER 9397 OF 1943 WHICH PROVIDES THAT IT IS IN THE INTEREST OF ECONOMY AND ORDERLY ADMINISTRATION THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT USE EXCLUSIVELY THE SSN FOR IDENTIFICATION.

2. DISCLOSURE OF YOUR SSN WILL BE USED FOR IDENTIFICATION PURPOSES IN CONNECTION WITH THIS FORM.