I-3-5-41.Denial Notice Returned As Undeliverable

Last Update: 1/13/15 (Transmittal I-3-91)

A. Claimant's Copy Returned As Undeliverable

If the post office returns a claimant's notice of denial of a request for review to the Office of Appellate Operations (OAO) as “undeliverable” (e.g., the claimant moved and left no forwarding address), OAO staff will take the following actions to locate a new address.

1. Claimant Is Represented

If the claimant has an appointed representative, OAO staff will first telephone the claimant's representative to request a new address for the claimant.

If OAO staff is unable to contact the representative by telephone or the appointed representative is unable to provide an updated address for the claimant, OAO staff will proceed with the steps below.

NOTE:

Although 20 CFR 404.1715(b) and 416.1515(b) state that a notice sent to the appointed representative will have the same force and effect as if it had been sent to the claimant, OAO staff will still make every attempt to locate an updated address for the claimant using the steps below. The additional actions are very important because the claimant has a limited timeframe in which to file a civil action and the claimant may have recently contacted another agency component.

2. Locating a New Address

OAO staff will:

  • Check for a new address in both the Appeals Review Processing System (ARPS) and Personal Communications (PCOM) system queries, including the Modernized Development Worksheet (MDW) for either title, the Full Master Beneficiary Record (FACT) for title II cases, the Supplemental Security Income Display (SSID) for title XVI cases, the Customer Service Record (CSR) for either title, and the Prisoner Update Processing System (PUPS) for either title;

  • Review any subsequent application for a new address;

  • Determine whether any newly submitted correspondence or evidence, including newly submitted medical evidence, contains a new address for the claimant; and

  • Telephone or send a brief memorandum to the field office servicing the claimant's last known address requesting a new address for the claimant (using the COR 15 template in the Document Generation System (DGS)).

3. Updated Address Located

If OAO staff successfully obtains an updated address, staff will:

  • Prepare a currently dated cover letter (using the blank COR template in DGS) that informs the claimant the attached Appeals Council notice was returned by the post office as undeliverable and that the time period for appeal begins with receipt of the new cover letter;

  • Attach the original notice of denial that was returned to the Appeals Council;

  • Associate copies of the documents with the claim(s) file; and

  • Send the new cover letter with the original notice of denial to the claimant and representative, if any.

NOTE:

When OAO staff identifies the new address, staff will also take the necessary actions to notify other components of the change of address. If an eView record exists, staff will add a message in eView noting the updated address.

4. Updated Address Not Located

If all attempts to obtain the claimant's new address are unsuccessful, OAO staff will take the following actions:

  • For an electronic claim(s) file, document all attempts to obtain a new address on a Form SSA-5002, Report of Contact, and associate the form and any related documents (e.g., copies of correspondence and other reports of telephone contacts) with the file. Additionally, staff will associate a copy of the undelivered envelope with the claim(s) file.

  • For a paper claim(s) file, document all attempts to obtain a new address on an SSA-5002. Staff will associate the SSA-5002, any related documents (e.g., copies of correspondence and other reports of telephone contacts), and the original, undelivered envelope and notice of denial with the claim(s) file. (If the claim(s) file is no longer in the office, OAO staff will request the file from the Mega-site using the Megasite Information Management System (MIMS)).

It is important that OAO staff documents all attempts to obtain a new address. If the claimant appeals the action taken by the Appeals Council or later inquires about the case, the information may be needed to determine the appropriate course of action.

B. Representative's Copy Returned As Undeliverable

If the post office returns the representative's copy of the denial notice to OAO, staff will first attempt to contact the representative's office by telephone. If OAO staff cannot locate the representative, staff will:

  • Prepare a cover letter to the claimant explaining that the post office returned the representative's copy as undeliverable; and

  • Send the cover letter and a copy of the returned envelope to the claimant.

OAO staff will also document the actions taken on an SSA-5002 and:

  • For an electronic claim(s) file, associate the form and any related documents (e.g., copies of correspondence and other reports of telephone contacts) with the file. Additionally, staff will associate a copy of the undelivered envelope with the claim(s) file.

  • For a paper claim(s) file, associate the SSA-5002, any related documents (e.g., copies of correspondence and other reports of telephone contacts), and the original, undelivered envelope with the claim(s) file. (If the claim(s) file is no longer in the office, OAO staff will request the file from the Mega-site using MIMS).

It is important that OAO staff documents all attempts to notify the representative. If the representative later contacts OAO about the case, the information may be needed to determine the appropriate course of action.