< Back to Search

Notice Requirement for Mandatory Collections of Social Security Numbers


Published: March 29, 2000
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Case Management
Policy, Dear Colleague Letters (DCL)
Social Security Number (SSN)


MAR 29, 2000


RE: Notice Requirement for Mandatory Collections of Social Security Numbers

Dear Colleague:

As you know, section 466(a)(13) of the Social Security Act (the Act) requires the recording of Social Security Numbers (SSN) in certain family matters. States are required to have:

Procedures requiring that the social security number of -

(A) any applicant for a professional license, driver's license, occupational license, recreational license, or marriage license be recorded on the application;

(B) any individual who is subject to a divorce decree, support order, or paternity determination or acknowledgement be placed in the records relating to the matter; and

(C) any individual who has died be placed in the records relating to the death and be recorded on the death certificate.

For purposes of subparagraph (A), if a State allows the use of a number other than the social security number to be used on the face of the document while the social security number is kept on file at the agency, the State shall so advise any applicants.

The Office of Child Support Enforcement wants to bring to the States'; attention that the collection of social security numbers, although mandatory, requires that notice be given concerning the request. This notice requirement is contained in section 7 of the Privacy Act (5 USC 552a [note]). A copy of this section of the Privacy Act is attached for your reference.

Section 7(a)(1) of the Privacy Act prohibits Federal, State or local agencies from denying an individual any right or privilege because of the individual's refusal to disclose his SSN, but provides two exceptions in paragraph (2), one of which applies to the disclosure required under section 466(a)(13) of the Act. The applicable exception, contained in paragraph (2)(A), is that the disclosure is required by Federal statute.

Section 7(b) of the Privacy Act requires that 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. Accordingly, for purposes of implementing section 466(a)(13) of the Act, States must inform individuals that the disclosure is mandatory, that it is based on section 466(a)(13) of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 666(a)(13)], and that it will be used under the State's child support enforcement program to locate individuals for purposes of establishing paternity and establishing, modifying, and enforcing support obligations.


David Gray Ross
Office of Child Support Enforcement

cc: OCSE Regional Program Managers

5 USC 552a [note]