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SSA Publishes Final Regulation on Privacy and Disclosure of Official Records and Information


Published at 72 Fed. Reg. 20935 (4/27/07)

Effective date: May 29, 2007.

The proposed regulations were published on 9/13/06 at 71 Fed. Reg. 53994.
Few changes have been made in the final regulations.

One important change is SSA's decision that it will not not consider state
courts as courts of competent jurisdiction for the purpose complying with
subpoenas or other court orders to disclose. SSA does consider federal
courts to be courts of competent jurisdiction and had proposed to disclose
information incompliance with a state court order where necessary to
preserve the rights of an accuseed to due process in a criminal proceeding.
The final rules do not include this state court provision. 20 CFR
401.180(d)states that "... state court orders will be treated in accordance
with other provisions of this part."

Also note 20 CFR 401.45 laying out the identity checks that will be
necessary in order to access information.

Finally, note 20 CFR 401.55 amending procedures for claimant access medical records. Unless an exception applies, claimants must name a 3rd party who
can review the records with the claimant. The current rules give the 3rd
party some discretion on whether to release the records. The final rule
removes that discretion, requiring release of the records by the 3rd party.

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