Regulation No. 1

Because of the importance placed on privacy in the Social Security program, the very first regulation adopted by the new Social Security Board in June 1937 was its rules regarding confidentiality of its records. Regulation No. 1. governed privacy and disclosure of Social Security records; copies were distributed to every employee of the organization; although it has been revised many times over the years, it continues to govern disclosure of information even to the present day.

Full Text of Regulation No. 1


It being found by the Social Security Board (hereinafter referred to as the Board) that the public interest and the efficient administration of the functions with which the Board is charged under the Social Security Act require that the confidential nature of all wage records and other records or information in possession of the Board, pertaining to any person, be preserved. Now, therefore, pursuant to authority contained in section 1102 of the Social Security Act the Board hereby adopts and promulgates the following regulation:

  1. No member, officer, or employee of the Board, except as authorized by this regulation or otherwise expressly authorized by the Board, shall produce or disclose to any person or before any tribunal, directly or indirectly, whether in response to a subpoena or otherwise, any record (including any file, letter, application, claim, return, report, or other paper or document) or any information acquired therefrom or otherwise officially acquired, pertaining to any person.
  2. Any request or demand for any such record or information, disclosure of which is forbidden by this regulation, shall be declined upon the authority of this regulation. If any member, officer, or employee of the Board is sought to be required, by subpoena or other compulsory process, to produce such record or give such information, he shall respectfully decline to present such record or divulge such information, basing his refusal upon this regulation.
  3. Disclosure of such records or information is hereby authorized, in such manner as the Board may by instructions prescribe, in the following cases: (a) To any claimant or prospective claimant for benefits under title II of the Social Security Act, or his duly authorized representative, as to matters directly concerning such claimant or prospective claimant; (b) To any officer or employee of the Treasury Department of the United States lawfully charged with the administration of title VIII or title IX of the Social Security Act, for the purpose of such administration only; (c) To any official, body, or commission lawfully charged with the administration of any State unemployment compensation law or tax levied in connection therewith, for the purpose of such administration only.
  4. Nothing herein shall be construed to preclude the disclosure by the Board, or any member, officer, or employee thereof, of any such record or information in any formal proceeding under the Social Security Act; nor shall anything herein be construed to prohibit the publication of statistical data or other information not relating to any particular person; nor shall this regulation apply to personnel information relating to employees of the Board.
  5. As used in this regulation, the term "person" includes an individual, a trust or estate, a partnership, or a corporation, the term "corporation" includes associations, joint-stock companies, and insurance companies; the term "State" includes Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.

By the Board: Adopted, June 15, 1937. A. J. Altmeyer, CHAIRMAN. (Filed with the Division of the Federal Register June 16, 1937, 3:13 p.m.)