The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a) is the federal law that regulates the use of SSNs. This law makes it illegal for federal, state, and local government agencies to deny any rights, privileges or benefits to individuals who refuse to provide their SSNs unless the disclosure is required by federal statute, or the disclosure is to an agency for use in a record system which required the SSN before 1975.
The law also requires that any federal agency that requests your Social Security Number provide a disclosure statement stating:
- the authority that authorizes the solicitation of the information and whether disclosure of such information is mandatory or voluntary;
- the principal purposes for which the information is intended to be used;
- the routine uses which may be made of the information, and
- the effects on you, if any, of not providing all or any part of the requested information.