I-3-0-84.OAO Branch Screening For Copies of Material

Last Update: 9/08/05 (Transmittal I-3-36)

A. General

A claimant or the claimant's authorized representative, hereafter “claimant,” in accordance with I-1-4-3, Privacy Act, has the right to examine the contents of the claim file and request copies of the exhibits or other claim file material. The claimant also may request duplicate hearing recordings and a transcript of the hearing recording. If the claim file indicates that the claimant was provided copies of the exhibits or other claim file material by the hearing office see C.2. below.

B. Requests for Materials For a Non-Program Purpose

When the claimant, a Member of Congress or a third-party (a party other than the claimant or a Member of Congress) requests, for a non-program purpose, copies of claim file material or a typed transcript of the hearing, forward the claim file and the request to the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act (FOIA/PA) Staff in Suite 1608. The waiver of charges provisions contained in C.2. below do not apply to these requests.

C. Requests For Materials For a Program Purpose

1. Appeals Council Does Not Charge For Materials

When the claimant requests, for program purposes, a duplicate hearing recording, or makes an initial request for a photocopy of claim file material, we will fill the request at no charge. When a third party submits the request, forward the claim file and the request to the FOIA/PA Staff.

2. Appeals Council Charges For Materials, But May Waive Charges

a. General

When the claimant requests a typed transcript of the hearing or requests additional copies of claim file material (i.e., when the claimant requests copies in addition to those SSA provided at no charge), the branch staff will estimate the cost of providing those materials, as shown in 2. b. below, and then proceed as shown in either 2. c. or 2. d., and D. below.

b. Estimating Cost of Materials

We charge a fee of $2.50 per page to prepare a typed transcript. To estimate the number of pages to be typed, divide by 2 the number of minutes the hearing lasted, and add 1. (Example: a 34-minute hearing/2 = 17; 17 + 1 = 18 pages, estimated.) In addition to transcript typing charges, we charge $0.10 per page to provide additional copies of claim file material.

c. Cost Does Not Exceed $50

When a claimant requests additional copies of claim file material and/or a transcript for program purposes, and the total cost of requested materials would not exceed $50, all charges are waived in accordance with Appeals Council policy.

d. Cost Exceeds $50

When a claimant requests additional copies of claim file materials and/or a transcript for program purposes, and the total cost of requested materials would exceed $50, the claimant must send payment before we release the requested materials. The branch staff will enter both the estimated transcription charge and the charge for copying claim file material on a form letter, if the form letter is required under the conditions below.

  1. If the cost exceeds $50 because the claimant requested a typed transcript of the hearing but the cost of any copies requested and a duplicate recording would not exceed $50, we will send the claimant the copies, a duplicate recording, and appropriate letter (see the Appeals Text Guide). Send a copy of that letter, with the branch number shown clearly at the top, to Travel and Payroll Services Staff.

  2. If the claimant pays for a transcript after receiving a duplicate recording, Travel and Payroll Services Staff will return a copy of the above correspondence to the branch with a notation that payment has been received. The OAO branch will forward the hearing recordings to Contracts Staff, through the Office of the Director of Operations, OAO, using a Transcript Request Routing Slip (see I-3-0-94 Exhibit). The branch staff will diary the file for 30 days. When the transcript is returned, retain a copy for the claim file and transmit the claimant's copy by appropriate correspondence (see Appeals Text Guide). If the typed transcript is shorter than estimated, send a copy of the above correspondence to Travel and Payroll Services Staff requesting them to prepare a refund to the claimant.

D. Hearings and Appeals Assistant Responsibilities

To obtain photocopies of exhibits, the hearings and appeals assistant will submit the exhibits with a Reproduction Service Request, Form SSA-615, to the Division of Program Support (DPS). To obtain a duplicate hearing recording, send the recording via route slip to DPS.