Data Products » Restricted Data » Narrative

Overview. Although most HRS datasets are unrestricted, other HRS datasets are restricted, and are available only under specific contractual conditions.

Preliminary Steps. Having reviewed the What's Available (Restricted) page and selected a dataset of interest (see the Order Form), a researcher who meets eligibility requirements should begin the application process by reviewing the application materials and procedures.

Applying. Researchers interested in accessing restricted data will follow one of two methods. If SSA or CMS data are needed, the licensing process must be followed. All other applications will follow the streamlined Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) process.

[Note: the licensing process data security plan and confidentiality agreement are not the same as those for the VDI.]

[Note: If you are applying for a traditional license and are planning to use restricted data in a networked environment (not recommended), be sure to read The Restricted Data Environment: Issues Relating to Network-Connected Clients.]

When the application is received by HRS, it is logged and scheduled for review by the Case Review Group (CRG). An HRS Project Number is assigned for use in tracking the application as it moves through the approval process. If problems are found with the application, the CRG will contact the researcher and work with him/her to resolve them. At this point in the process, the VDI application is complete and moves to final review.

For Licensing, once the data security plan is acceptable and the application is complete, the CRG will notify the researcher that s/he may submit the application to his/her local Institutional Review Board and/or local institutional Contracting Authority for review. Once the researcher obtains IRB and contracting authority approval s/he should submit the signed originals to HRS.

Final Review. At this point the application is complete and it is forwarded to the full Data Confidentiality Committee (DCC) for review and approval. If approval is granted by the DCC, the Principal Investigator of the HRS will sign the Confidentiality Agreement, and the restricted data product(s) will be made available to the researcher.

Post-application Activities. If the institutional or physical circumstances of the Researcher change, (e.g., new persons added to the project, hardware/software changes, or office moves) s/he should contact the HRS in order to modify the underlying agreement. In addition, researchers should be aware that an annual renewal of the restricted data agreement is required. Researchers who wish to continue with analysis of the data after the expiration of the initial agreement will need to submit a formal extension request. Finally, all users of HRS restricted data should be aware that they will periodically undergo a site inspection by a representative of the HRS in order to ensure that all conditions of the Restricted Data Agreement are being met.

Termination. Once the date specified in your contractual agreement for access to HRS restricted data has passed VDI access is automatically terminated. For Licensing Agreement users, you are required to return or destroy the original restricted data and all derived data files. If you choose to destroy the data, you must provide a counter-signed statement certifying the destruction of the restricted files.