Whistleblower Rights and Protection

Employees of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and its contractors, subcontractors, and grantees perform an important service by reporting what they reasonably believe to be evidence of wrongdoing, and they should never be subject to or threatened with reprisal for doing so. The OIG Whistleblower Ombudsman Program carries out a number of key functions, including:

  • Educating SSA employees and managers about prohibitions on retaliation for protected disclosures, and employees who have made or are contemplating making a protected disclosure about the rights and remedies against retaliation and protected disclosures;
  • Ensuring that the OIG is promptly and thoroughly reviewing complaints that it receives, and that it is responding to whistleblowers in a timely fashion; and
  • Coordinating with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, other agencies, and non-governmental organizations on relevant matters.

The OIG Whistleblower Ombudsman Program cannot act as a legal representative, agent, of advocate for any individual whistleblower.

Reports concerning wrongdoing in SSA employees or programs should be submitted directly to the OIG Hotline. All SSA and DDS employees can access SSA's Notification of Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation (No FEAR) Act Disciplinary Policy here.

For more information, please see the pamphlet prepared by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs, and the video below produced by the Department of Justice OIG, which addresses frequently asked questions regarding whistleblower rights and protections. Closed captions are available for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals.

Reporting Wrongdoing: Whistleblowers and their Rights and Protections


How to File Whistleblower Reprisal Complaints

If an adverse personnel action has been taken or threatened against you in reprisal for making a disclosure of wrongdoing within your component, to the OIG, or elsewhere, you may submit a complaint to the OIG Hotline, or to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.  If you submit your complaint to the OIG, we will review it and let you know whether it is appropriate for the OIG to investigate or whether it should be referred elsewhere.  Allegations of reprisal regarding Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) matters generally should be addressed through the EEO process.

Employees of SSA Contractors, Subccontractors, Grantees, or Subgrantees of Personal Services Contractors

Under Title 41, United States Code, Section 4712, it is illegal for an employee of a Federal contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee or personal services contractor to be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against for making a protected whistleblower disclosure. Also, under Presidential Policy Directive (PPD-19), an action affecting access to classified information cannot be taken in reprisal for protected whistleblowing. The SSA OIG has jurisdiction to investigate allegations of reprisal for whistleblowing by employees of SSA contractors, subcontractors, grantees, or subgrantees or personal service contractors. Information about waste, fraud, abuse, misconduct, or whistleblower reprisal relating to an SSA employee, program, contract, or grant may be reported to the OIG Hotline.

Click the images to download posters from the SSA OIG and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel: