Being born in the U.S. automatically qualifies you for a social security number.  That number sticks with you as you grow up, take your first job, get married, retire, and/or become disabled.  The social security number carries with it all kinds of information about you.  When it’s appropriate, and within the law, that information can be shared with our databases within the government through what’s known as data exchange programs.

Data exchange programs facilitate the sharing of your personal information associated with your social security number, and that is a concern for some people.  In an age when people are worried about their personal information being exchanged, they fear the data exchange program of the Social Security Administration (SSA), which, on a regular basis, discloses information crucial to your security and privacy.  This article is to help you find comfort in the SSA’s process of data sharing, and how it actually helps you, especially if you become disabled and want to utilize social security disability insurance.  The SSA data exchange program can be your friend, not your enemy, and it has taken certain measures to ensure your information is not misused.

What Does the SSA Consider Before It Exchanges Data?

To relieve any fear that your information is being shared with just about anyone, rest assured it is not.  The Social Security Administration exchanges information only after several factors are taken into consideration.  Some of these factors were already implied, but the whole list of factors is as follows:

  1. Legal Authority. Should SSA disclose your information to any agency, it must first be in compliance with the law, specifically Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a 1106 of the Social Security Act.
  2. Disclosure Policy. For disclosure to occur, a data exchange agreement is first required, particularly if it is for a business need.
  3. Systems Security. SSA has in place System Security Guidelines that federal, state, and local agencies must follow when it receives data from the SSA.  These guidelines ensure that security is enforced, including those agencies or entities outside the federal system.
  4. Systems Feasibility. An exchange of your data will likely only occur if there is already a process in place to exchange the data between the SSA and the other agency requesting the data.  If a system is not in place, then the development of a new process must be approved.
  5. The SSA takes into consideration the costs associated to exchange data.  If there are costs, then it will require reimbursement from the requesting agency.  If it doesn’t receive reimbursement, then SSA will reconsider the exchange of data.

In addition, the data associated with your social security number is not shared with just anyone.  Data partners are primarily federal agencies or government related entities.  Information is shared between these agencies and entities with secured systems already established to make the process as smooth as possible with minimal hiccups.

Data Exchange Partners

  • Congressional Budget Office

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  • Department of Commerce
  • Depart of Defense
  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of State
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Federal Reserve Board
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • All General Accounting Office
  • National Technical Information Service
  • Office of Personnel Management
  • Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
  • Railroad Retirement Board
  • Selective Service System
  • S. Department of Agriculture
  • S. Postal Service

It also includes each U.S. state and the departments of each U.S. state, some foreign governments and the federal, state and local prison system.

How does The Social Security Administration Data Exchange Help You When You Have a Disability?

SSA Data Exchange makes life easier for you through its data exchange program while not compromising your privacy.  associated with your social security number is verified by the SSA through a data exchange with Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development, and thus, information is exchanged from your social security card to your worker’s permit.  It allows for a smooth verification process so that you can obtain your worker’s permit without much hassle.  Then when you start working, the employer reports your wages to Social Security Administration (SSA).

Because employers use social security to report earnings, what you make over your lifetime is tracked, forever linked to your social security number, and kept in a database for ease of data exchange when appropriate.  Tracking your wages throughout your lifetime helps secure your benefits when you reach retirement, or should you become disabled, or even die (survivor benefits).  In fact, with regard to the disability, social security has its own disability insurance: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

If during sometime in your life you become disabled, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance.  Social Security Administration will share your social security data with relevant federal agencies if you become disabled.  For instance, if you were in the military, your data will be shared with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs because disability claims are expedited if a veteran, or to the U.S. Department of Education because disability sometimes results in student loan forgiveness.  It is important for SSA to track your wages through its data exchange program so that you can first become eligible for social security benefits.  Then, if you become disabled, it is important for SSA to share your data and your disability with other appropriate data exchange partners so that receipt of your disability insurance benefits is not held up any longer than what it should.  Your goal is to get the assistance you rightfully deserve, and SSA’s goal is to make sure you get it as soon as possible.


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