I. What is FOIA?
FOIA is a federal statute that allows any person to request records from federal agencies. The purpose of FOIA is to ensure an informed citizenry, as well as to encourage government accountability through transparency.
II. Proactive Disclosures
FOIA requires federal agencies to disclose requested records, unless such records are protected from disclosure under FOIA or another statute. It is not necessary to submit a FOIA request where information is readily available to the public. To see those documents currently available to the public, please visit http://www.ssab.gov/Publications/BySubject.aspx.
III. Making a FOIA Request
In the event the information you are seeking is not readily available, you may submit a FOIA request as follows:
E-mail to email@example.com,
Fax to (202)-475-7715, or
Social Security Advisory Board
ATTN: Chief FOIA Officer
400 Virginia Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20024
IV. Your Responsibilities in Making a FOIA Request
As a FOIA requester, your primary responsibility is to “reasonably describe” the records to which you seek access. This means that you must describe records in enough detail to enable agency personnel to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. When making your request, please be as specific as possible when describing the records that you are seeking.
V. Privacy Act of 1974
The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits government agencies from disclosing records pertaining to an individual without the prior written consent, or permission of the individual to whom the record pertains. This means that in order to protect your privacy as well as the privacy of others, whenever you request information about yourself, you must include in your request your full name, current address, and date and place of birth. You must also provide either a notarized statement or a statement signed under penalty of perjury stating that you are the person who you say you are. You can meet this requirement by either (1) having your signature on your request letter witnessed by a notary, or (2) including the following statement immediately above the signature on your request letter: “I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on [date].” If you request information about yourself and do not follow one of these two procedures, your request cannot be processed.