How Does SSA-OIG Process Subpoenas for Documents or Testimony?
When our office receives a subpoena seeking to have a Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (SSA-OIG) employee testify or, alternatively, produce records obtained in the course of official duties, we will process that subpoena as a Touhy request under the regulations at 20 C.F.R. Part 403.
Those regulations generally preclude SSA-OIG employees from providing unauthorized testimony in a proceeding to which the United States is not a party without prior authorization from the Inspector General or designee.
See 20 C.F.R. §§ 403.100 & 403.125.
What is a Touhy Request?
Named after the Supreme Court case, United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462, 468 (1951), a Touhy request seeks any official information for litigation purposes, including witnesses and documents, when the Government is not a party to the litigation.
Where do I send a Touhy request?
Send your request for records or information pertaining to SSA-OIG or your application for testimony of an SSA-OIG employee to: Office of the Inspector General Social Security Administration Room 3-ME-1 ATTN: Touhy Officer 6401 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21235-6401
Requests may also be sent via email to SSA.OIG.Touhy.Requests@ssa.gov.
See 20 C.F.R. § 403.125.
What Should I include in my Touhy request?
You should include a narrative statement outlining the nature of the information sought and the relevancy of that information to the litigation.
Although not required, you may consider addressing the factors identified in 20 C.F.R. § 403.130.
How do we process Touhy requests?
All Touhy requests received by the OIG are reviewed promptly, and the requestor informed in writing when a determination is made.
When making a decision on a Touhy request, SSA-OIG will consider the applicable law and factors related to your stated need and the burden to SSA-OIG.
Considerations include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Risk of law violation or compromise of Government privilege;
- Burden on SSA-OIG; and
- The interests served by allowing testimony.
See 20 C.F.R. § 403.130.
What if my Touhy Request is Denied?
If SSA-OIG is unable to approve your request in whole or in part, consider modifying your request and resubmitting.
Often by narrowing the request to that information or testimony that is absolutely needed allows SSA-OIG to approve the request.