Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman

The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 (WPEA) requires SSA's Inspector General to designate a "Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman (WPO)."

The WPO's role is to educate SSA employees about prohibitions on retaliation for protected disclosures; and their rights and remedies against retaliation for protected disclosures.

This page and the linked information accessible from this page are designed to serve as an educational tool for SSA employees about whistleblower protections.

  • The law does not permit the WPO to act as a legal representative, agent, or advocate for SSA employees. Therefore, if you have questions related to specific circumstances and situations, it is advisable to seek assistance or representation from an SSA Union Representative, if applicable, or from outside legal counsel.

Joseph Gangloff, as part of his duties as the Counsel to the IG, serves as the WPO for SSA.

What is a Whistleblower?

A "whistleblower" discloses information he/she reasonably believes evidences:

  • A violation of any law, rule, or regulation
  • Gross mismanagement: substantial risk of significant adverse impact on mission
  • Gross waste of funds: more than a debatable expenditure
  • Abuse of authority: an arbitrary decision for personal gain and/or to injure others
  • A substantial and specific danger to public health or safety 

Whistleblower Protection Background

Whistleblower Protection History

Disclosures by whistleblowers can save lives and taxpayer dollars.  Broadly speaking, Federal whistleblower law is designed to protect SSA employees and applicants who speak out against illegal, wasteful, and dangerous practices and who cooperate with or disclose information to the SSA Inspector General or the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), among other things. 

More detailed information on prohibitions on retaliation and the specific rights and remedies available are explained below.

Commonly Asked Questions

What are your rights as a Federal Employee?

What are the legal prohibitions on retaliation?

What type of disclosure is protected under Whistleblower Protection law? 

Where do you report a protected disclosure? 

Are your disclosures kept confidential?

What are your rights and remedies if you have been retaliated against because you made a “protected disclosure”?

What is considered to be a potential retaliatory action?

What can you do if you believe an SSA official retaliated against you for blowing the whistle?

What are my rights if SSA takes actions affecting my eligibility for access to classified information in retaliation for making a protected disclosure?

Do employees, contractors, subcontractors, and grantees of SSA have whistleblower protection rights?


Note: All SSA and DDS employees can access SSA's Notification of Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation (No FEAR) Act Disciplinary Policy here.


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