Last Update: 9/28/05 (Transmittal I-2-66)
In January 2004, SSA began a phased implementation of the electronic disability claims process. SSA has created an electronic disability folder to store case related data and images. Even when an electronic folder (EF) exists, the paper Modular Disability Folder (MDF) will remain the official Agency record for disability cases until SSA certifies that all processing components within a state are able to process cases in a fully electronic environment and that the simultaneous maintenance of the paper MDF is no longer required.
Under the Electronic Disability Process, the majority of initial disability hearings conducted before an Administrative Law (ALJ) are to be conducted electronically. The entire claims file, commencing with the initiation of the application process at the District Office, through the processing of a determination of disability by the State Disability Determination Services through the administrative hearing conducted by an ALJ, will be maintained and available from the electronic folder (EF). The Commissioner of Social Security has decided that certain cases will be exempt from electronic processing. These types of cases will continue to be processed utilizing the current processing guidelines contained in Division II of HALLEX. Thus, Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) personnel should follow the procedures contained in Chapters 0 through 9, inclusive, of Division II for processing the cases exempt from EF processing.
For EF cases, OHA personnel will need to know how files will be handled from initial receipt by the Hearing Office (HO) until the case is closed by the ALJ issuing a final decision on the case in eFile.
The roll-out of the new electronic process began in January 2004. Mississippi was the first state to implement the electronic process and in January 2005, became the first state to receive certification to process EFs in a fully electronic process (without creating a paper MDF). Until certified, only offices that have had the special EF software/hardware installed and received security access will be able to process claims electronically. These offices will use the electronic record to process the case, but must document both the EF and the paper MDF to ensure non-EF sites also are able to take actions on the case.
Because Electronic Disability Collect System (EDCS) forms are accessible to all offices through eView, these forms will not be printed by FO or DDS staff. Thus, for any case in which an exhibit list is prepared, hearing office staff must print and exhibit the EDCS forms.
Roll-out of the electronic disability process in HOs began in July 2004. HOs will need the following to process the EFs:
the Case Processing and Management System (CPMS);
special EF hardware/software;
interface between the EF and CPMS; and
security access for employees.
Documentation that must be filed in the disability folder must be imaged (faxed or scanned) into the EF. Hearing Offices have the option of scanning onsite or sending documents to the national scanning contractor to be added to the EF.
HOs that have not received the special hardware and software needed to process EFs and image documents will continue to process the paper MDF and to use eView to access information that was entered by the FO into EDCS during the disability interview.