Information Security Office
Social Security Numbers & UTS 165
The Federal Privacy Act of 1974 requires that any federal, state, or local government agency (including The University of Texas at Arlington) which requests an individual to disclose his/her Social Security number shall inform that individual whether the disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory or other authority such number is solicited, and what uses will be made of it. In addition to the notice required by the Federal Privacy Act, when the Social Security number is collected by means of a form completed and filed by the individual, whether the form is printed or electronic, the institution must also provide the notice required by Section 559.003 of the Texas Government Code. This section requires that the institution state on the paper form or prominently post on the Internet site in connection with the form that:
- With few exceptions, the individual is entitled on request to be informed about the information that the institution collects about the individual.
- Under Sections 552.021 and 552.023 of the Government Code, the individual is entitled to receive and review the information.
- Under Section 559.004 of the Government Code, the individual is entitled to have the institution correct information about the individual that is incorrect.
Except in those instances where federal or state regulations mandate or authorize the use and collection of Social Security numbers, an individual shall not be required to provide his/her SSN, nor shall the individual be denied access to the services at issue if the individual refuses to disclose his/her SSN. However, an individual may volunteer his/her Social Security number as an alternate means of locating a record or accessing services.
Each time the University requests an individual disclose his/her Social Security number, it shall provide one of the notices below to the individual whether the disclosure is mandatory or voluntary. The following pre-approved notices meet the requirements set forth by the Federal Privacy Act of 1974 and the Texas Government Code, Chapter 559:
- Notice for Request for Disclosure of Social Security Number for Employment Purposes
- Notice for Request for Disclosure of Social Security Number for Student Application Process
- General Notice for Voluntary Disclosure of Social Security Number
Regarding Social Security number disclosure notices, please keep in mind:
- For questions regarding the use, text, or presentation of SSN disclosures, contact the SSN Coordinator.
- Future forms and reprints of existing stock of forms shall include the appropriate required disclosure notice printed on the form.
- Existing stock of forms without the disclosure notice may be depleted. However, a disclosure notice should be appended to the existing forms in some way – for example, printing it on a separate sheet of paper and attaching it to the form.
- Electronic screens should always include on the display whether the submission is mandatory or voluntary. It is acceptable to provide a hyperlink to the full disclosure statement.
- If you are requesting a Social Security number verbally, you may provide the disclosure statement (in full) verbally as well. However, it is advised to keep a supply of printed disclosure statements on hand to avoid reciting the same information over and over.