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Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

The Ten Oldest Pending FOIA Requests

The National Security Archive
Freedom of Information Act Audit

Press Release
Executive Summary
The Ten Oldest FOIA Requests in the Federal Government
Chart - Agency Response Times
Table - Oldest Outstanding FOIA Requests
Findings Regarding The Ten Oldest FOIA Requests and FOIA Backlogs
Summary Discussion of Individual Agencies
Update on Phase One: The Ashcroft Memorandum
FOIA Audit Phase One: The Ashcroft Memo



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Ten Oldest - SSA responded approximately 14 business days after the request was made; it reported ten FOIA requests ranging from September 7, 2001 to May 24, 2002. The requests concerned employers' verification of employees' social security numbers, the Delegations of Authority manual, Inspector General "Access to Information" reports, the log of Inspector General investigations, and each close-out or summary memo for completed investigations, information about the award of disability payments to a minor, information about a fraud investigation by the agency, employment history information about an individual employee of the agency, information about the "SSI Demonstration Project" or "direct certification" project, "Process Review Recommendations," the city and state of birth for individual children in the Essex County Division of Welfare Office of Child Support ACSES computer database, and limited payability cancellation reports for checks.
Workload Statistics - SSA's reported statistics from 1998 through 2002 indicate that the agency has received an increasing number of FOIA requests (up 313.78% from 64,887 in 1998 to 268,488 in 2002). The number processed each year also has increased (up 424.07% from 55,886 processed in 1998 to 292,884 processed in 2002). SSA's processing rate per year -- a comparison of the number of requests processed to the number received -- increased from 86.17% in 1998 to 109.09% in 2002. SSA's FY 2002 annual FOIA report indicates that the increase in reported processed requests may be attributed to better reporting practices within the agency.
Backlog Statistics - SSA's backlog of pending FOIA requests rose through 2001 and then decreased in 2002 (from 18,559 FOIA requests pending at the end of 1998 to 27,087 FOIA requests pending at the end of 2000 to 2393 FOIA requests pending at the end of 2002). SSA's backlog as a percentage of FOIA requests processed each year has decreased from 33.21% in 1998 to 0.82% in 2002. Its backlog rate per year -- a comparison of the number of requests pending at the end of the year to the number received during that year -- has decreased from 28.62% in 1998 to 0.89% in 2002. SSA's FY 2002 annual FOIA report indicates that the reduction in pending requests at the end of FY 2002 compared to the end of FY 2001 is attributed to changes in the fee policies for copies of social security number applications for deceased individuals.
Processing Time - Under its multi-track system, SSA reports its median days to process simple requests has ranged from 13-45 days over the 1998-2002 period. SSA's median days to process complex requests has ranged from 42-97 days over the 1998-2002 period. The median days that backlogged requests have been pending has ranged from 50-158 days over the 1998-2002 period. No processing times are reported for expedited requests.



SSA Response Letter

SSA September 7, 2001 Letter

SSA January 25, 2002 Letter

SSA February 4, 2002 Letter

SSA April 19, 2002 Letter

SSA April 23, 2002 Letter

SSA May 6, 2002 Letter

SSA May 7, 2002 Letter

SSA May 9, 2002 Letter

SSA May 13, 2002 Letter

SSA May 24, 2002 Letter


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