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Opening an Encrypted SSA CD-ROM

The Social Security Administration (SSA) keeps all new disability files in electronic format. Applicants and authorized representatives have the right to obtain relevant application information on a CD-ROM. When you are preparing to appeal a denial of disability benefits, you should request the case file so that you can review key components of the file and decision.

About the CD-ROM

  • For information about why and how to obtain the electronic disability file, see Reviewing Denial Notices and the Electronic Folder.
  • No additional software is necessary to read the information on the encrypted CD.
  • The CD will be labeled with the claimant’s last name and first 4 numbers of their SSN

Opening the CD-ROM

  • Insert the CD into your computer’s disk drive
    • If using Windows, go to “My Computer”; select the disk drive to display the contents of the CD
  • Double-click on the pme.exe file located on the CD
  • You will be asked to enter an Account Name and Password

Account Name

  • All OHO encrypted media will use the same Account Name: ssa
  • The account field is not case sensitive (i.e. ssa or SSA)


  • The password will always be nine characters long
    • First 4 letters of claimant’s first name in lower case (if the name is less than four characters, enter number signs (#) after the last letter)
    • A number sign (#)
    • Last 4 numbers of the claimant's SSN
  • Claimant’s name is Mickey Mays and SSN is 123-45-6789. The encryption password is mick#6789. 
  • Claimant’s name is Tom Mays and SSN is 123-45-6789. The encryption password is tom##6789. 
*If you are unable to determine the correct password for your encrypted CD, call the local SSA or OHO office that sent you the CD for assistance 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What happens if the account name and/or password entry is incorrect?

A: If incorrect information is entered in the Account name and/or Password fields, you will receive a pop-up message that says, “Your password or account name is wrong. Please try again.”  Click the OK button on the screen to reenter the correct Account name and Password. If you continue to get this message, please contact the local SSA or OHO office that sent you the CD.

Q: What happens if the files are copied or viewed before they are un-encrypted?

A: If the files are copied or viewed straight from the CD without running the decryption process, they will be unreadable.

Q: Once the content of the folder is decrypted, can I simply view the files without copying or extracting them to my computer?

A: Yes, you can view the files individually from the Pointsec Media Encryption window without using the index. You will have to select each separate document in the “docs” folder. If you open the Index.html from the Pointsec window, it may not display correctly. To view the actual .tif images you will need to navigate to the “docs” folder and select the desired image.