How and Where to Protect Your Social Security Number
How the Government Is Doing a Terrible Job
Protecting Your Social Security Number
The Inspector General has pointed out the error. There should be no more discussion. This is not a matter of how fast it can be done or how inconvenient it might be. There is no amount of human capital issues that can excuse the situation at the SSA with regard to correspondence containing SSNs. It doesn't matter how much it will cost to fix the issue. The government is supposed to serve us. It is not supposed to serve us on a platter for the nearest fraudster, lurking next to a mailbox so he or she can fleece this or that hapless individual who, because of institutional lassitude, has zero control over a life-changer (and not for the better) delivered by a letter carrier.
The Privacy Act also see SSN HistorySSN NOT REQUIRED FOR THE DOCTORS OFFICE OR
--> PRINT THIS OUT <--
SSN - SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IS PRIVATE
TAKE THIS PRINT OUT WITH YOU TO THE HOSPITAL OR DOCTORS OFFICE - SHOW THEM YOU KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.
Insurance Providers may want your ID but it isn't law.
Fact Sheet 10: My Social Security Number
Your Privacy Rights - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA):
- Covers medical information in any format—written, spoken, or electronic
- Allows patient to view, request changes to, and obtain copies of health information documents
- Provides protections regarding how your information
can be used
Under HIPAA, you likely received a Notice of Privacy Practices when you visited a new healthcare provider or pharmacy. You would have been asked to sign a statement saying you've been given the notice. This Notice details your privacy rights, how your information is used and disclosed, and explains who will have access to your information.
Your Rights Under HIPAA:
- Right to access, inspect, and copy health information
- Right to request correction or amend health information
- Right to request accounting of disclosures of health information—who has received it
When I arrived for that appointment, I was handed the standard new patient information form to
The receptionist asked me to provide him with my Social Security Number. The law does not require me to provide it. I will gladly provide my Pennsylvania Driver's License number.
Medical providers are not prohibited by State or Federal law from requesting a patient's Social Security Number, a patient is not legally required to provide it. No State or Federal law requires Medical providers to use a Social Security Number as an identification number. My Pennsylvania Driver's License number is just as unique as my Social Security Number and would equally differentiate me from any other patient.
The American Medical Association itself opposes the use of Social Security Numbers as an identification number. On May 6, 2002, the AMA approved Resolution # H-190.963, which specifically states that the "AMA policy is to discourage the use of Social Security Numbers to identify insureds, patients, and physicians, except in those situations where the use of these numbers is required by law and/or regulation." Since, there is no State or Federal law (or regulation) that required you to obtain my Social Security Number, your office policy requiring me to provide it is in direct contravention of the AMA's policy.
The guidelines for dealing with non-governmental institutions. Most of the time private organizations
request your Social Security Number can get by quite well without your number, and if you can find the
person to negotiate with, they'll willingly admit it. Most of the time, you can convince them to use
some other number. Usually the simplest way to refuse to give your Social Security Number is simply to
the appropriate space blank. Most employers have no policy against revealing your Social Security Number;
they apparently believe that it must be an unintentional slip when an employee doesn't provide an SSN
everyone who asks.
Employers are required by the IRS to get the SSNs of people they hire. They often ask for it during the interview process, but there are good reasons to refuse if you can afford to argue with the potential employer. Some of them use the SSN to check credit records, to look for criminal history, and otherwise to delve into your past in areas you might object to. Tell them you'll give them your SSN when you accept their offer. They have no legitimate use for it before then.