I-4-1-12.Obtaining Files and Recordings

Last Update: 9/13/05 (Transmittal I-4-15)

A. File Requests

Upon receipt of the FAX notification of suit or complaint, staff in the CCPRB must enter the notification of suit into OHA CCS and LOTS. The staff must obtain an OHA CCS and, if necessary, an Appeals Council Automated Processing System (ACAPS) query to verify the plaintiff's name and social security number (SSN) and to determine if the file is located in OHA. If there is a problem in ascertaining the correct social security number, the staff must call the OGC office that has responsibility for the case, the Office of the U.S. Attorney, plaintiff's attorney, the Hearing Office or the OAO Disability Program Branch (DPB). If the file is located anywhere other than OHA's Headquarters, it will be necessary for the staff to obtain a Processing Center Action Control System (PCACS) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) query. After the staff determines the file location, the folder is requested from that component. The staff must request the claim file on the same day (or no later than the following day) that the CCPRB receives notification of suit.

1. File in Mega-site

If the OHA CCS or ACAPS query shows a file is located in the Mega-site, the CCPRB staff will:

  • Obtain a MSCCS query to determine whether the file is or should be on a shelf in the Mega-site.

  • Add the claimant's name and SSN to an Excel spreadsheet that will be kept on the CCPRB's “Q:” drive.

  • Ensure that the Branch Chief's designee attaches the spreadsheet to an e-mail and sends it to the Mega-site manager with copies to the Branch Chief and the Mega-site supervisor, once each day before 3:00 p.m.

The Mega-site staff will pull the files and ship them to the individual CCPRBs on a daily basis. Before the close of each business day, the Mega-site will run a report to show the “Cases to Retrieve for Skyline” based on the Excel spreadsheet request. This report identifies:

  • Files which the Mega-site staff has located and placed in mail tub to be shipped to CCPRB.

  • Files that Mega-site staff has been unable to locate.

The Mega-site staff faxes the report to the CCPRBs each day before shipping the files.

2. File in OAO Branch

If the OHA CCS query shows a file is located in one of OAO's operating branches, the CCPRB staff generates a file request form through LOTS (see I-4-1-115). The DPBs handle disability (Title II and XVI) cases. The Retirement and Survivors Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (RSI/SSI) Branch handles retirement and survivors benefit cases, non-disability widow's cases, and Title XVI non-disability cases. The request form, generated by LOTS, includes the following information:

  1. the OAO branch to which the request is being sent;

  2. the date of the request;

  3. the staff person's name, telephone number and room number;

  4. the CCPRB's OHA CCS code;

  5. the claimant's name, and social security number; and

  6. an attached copy of the OHA CCS printout.

The staff must retain the original request form and hand carry a copy of the request form to the OAO branch and deposit it in the designated place. The OAO branch chief must ensure that either the claim file is retrieved or the CCPRB is advised that the claim file cannot be located. The request form will be properly annotated to reflect efforts made to locate or retrieve the file.

3. File Not in OHA Headquarters (HQs)

If the inquiry shows that the claim file is located outside OHA HQ (e.g., in the Office of Disability Operations (ODO)), the CCPRB staff notes this information on the request form (see I-4-1-115), clearly indicating the claim file location, and retains the request form in an accordion file for diary control purposes. The staff must request the file from the appropriate location through PCACS (or other acceptable means) and simultaneously request the hearing recording from the OAO Mega-site via the Mega-site Information Management System (MIMS).

If the location on the PCACS or SSI query is a field office, Disability Determination Section (DDS), Program Service Center (PSC) (other than ODO), Hearing Office, the Federal Record Center, or other component outside OHA HQ, the staff must contact the component by e-mail, fax, or telephone. The staff must annotate the request form indicating the component contacted. In addition, staff must note, on the request form, the date of the request, the person contacted, telephone number and location.

4. LOTS Entries

The staff must enter the appropriate information for new court cases pursuant to the LOTS handbook.

B. Follow-up Procedures for Claim File Requests

For files requested from the Mega-site, if the CCPRB staff does not receive the file within three (3) full workdays of the request, the CCPRB staff notifies the Branch Chief, who contacts the Operation Coordinator, who resolves the problem.

For cases requested from an OAO location, if the CCPRB staff does not receive the file within two (2) workdays, the CCPRB staff will hand carry the follow-up request to the appropriate OAO branch chief. The CCPRB staff will annotate the request form with the date of the follow-up, the name of the person providing the information and the reason for the delay.

If an OAO branch advises that the file is located in another OHA HQ component, the CCPRB staff will contact that component directly by telephone. If the case is in a component outside OHA HQ, the CCPRB staff will follow-up by telephone with that office after five (5) calendar days from the original request date. The CCPRB staff will annotate the request form with all follow-up telephone contacts. Every Friday morning, the CCPRB staff will print a list of cases requested from OAO branches (as of Monday of the same week) but have not received and submit the list to the Director of Operations through the operations supervisor (OS). The Director of Operations' office will prepare a memorandum to the appropriate OAO branch(es) concerning non-receipt of the files.

C. Action if File Not Received After 10 Days

For files requested from any location, if the files are not received after ten (10) calendar days the CCPRB staff will inform the OS. The OS will continue to search for the file for another five (5) days. If the file is not located during that period, the OS will request the Director of Operations' office to issue an OHA HQ search memorandum. The search memorandum process normally takes five (5) working days to complete. If the search process fails to locate the file, the CCPRB Chief and the OS will review efforts to locate the file and discuss other OS actions.

D. Staff Actions

The CCPRB staff may hold the case and continue to search for the file; however, he or she must be alert to the date answer is due in court. OGC issues two daily listings of new court cases (called the “ANSWER LISTS”) on which answer is due in court in 5 or 18 calendar days and OGC has received no response from OHA. The CCPRB staff will use these lists as alerts to ensure all appropriate actions have been taken timely. They will check the status of each of these cases; annotate the lists with the current status; and return the annotated list to OGC. After the claimant's name appears on the Answer List, the CCPRB staff will ensure that they handle the case expeditiously.

E. Action Upon Receipt of File

After the CCPRB staff receives the file and enters the receipt on LOTS, he or she will verify that the complaint was timely filed (see I-4-1-31 A).

If the complaint is untimely filed, the CCPRB staff will prepare a declaration (see I-4-1-31).

If the complaint is timely filed and if the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an Order of Dismissal or the Appeals Council (AC) issued a dismissal action, the CCPRB staff will assign the case to a CCPRB analyst for a declaration and update the LOTS.

If the complaint was timely filed, a hearing was held, and a hearing decision was issued, the CCPRB staff will remove the recording and envelope from the file and request a transcript of the hearing (see I-4-1-14). If the file does not contain a hearing recording and a decision was not issued on the record, the CCPRB staff will immediately request the recording via the Mega-site Information Management System (MIMS), print out a copy of the request , and retain a copy of the request. The CCPRB staff will staple a copy of the MIMS request to the Request for File form (see I-4-1-115). If a hearing recording is certified lost, the CCPRB staff will assign the case to a CCPRB analyst.

If no hearing was held and a decision was issued on the record, the CCPRB staff will update LOTS and assign the case to a court records assistant (CRA) to prepare the certified administrative record (CAR).