I-2-0-65.Congressional Inquiry Requesting or Implying a Request for a Hearing
Last Update: 3/9/16 (Transmittal I-2-166)
A. Congressional Letter
1. Hearing Requested
If a hearing office (HO) receives a written inquiry from a Member of Congress that reflects a claimant's dissatisfaction with a determination or decision listed in 20 CFR 404.930 and 416.1430, and the letter expressly states or implies that the Member of Congress is requesting a hearing on the claimant's behalf, the HO will accept the letter as a valid request for hearing (RH) and take the following actions:
Prepare a written response to acknowledge receipt of the congressional letter, informing the Member of Congress that the letter has been accepted as an RH on behalf of the claimant;
Ensure the congressional letter is date-stamped and the postmarked envelope in which the letter was mailed is not destroyed (for purposes of establishing the filing date); and
Associate the RH and acknowledgement letter with the claim(s) file.
The Member of Congress will be deemed to be acting for, but not representing, the claimant or party to the hearing. Therefore, HO staff will not enclose appointment of representative forms with the acknowledgement letter to the Member of Congress, but rather, will designate the case in CPMS as one involving congressional interest. See HALLEX I-1-6-1 for further instructions on handling congressional inquiries at the hearing level.
2. Hearing Not Requested
If a HO receives a written inquiry from a Member of Congress that reflects a claimant's dissatisfaction with a determination or decision listed in 20 CFR 404.930 and 416.1430, but does not expressly state or imply that the claimant intends to request a hearing, HO staff will take the following actions:
Prepare a written response to acknowledge receipt of the congressional letter, requesting that the Member of Congress advise the claimant to contact the appropriate field office (FO) if the claimant wishes to file an RH;
Ensure the congressional letter is date-stamped and the postmarked envelope in which the letter was mailed is not destroyed;
When possible, associate a copy of the congressional letter with the claim(s) file; and
Send the original letter to the appropriate FO with a copy of the HO's acknowledgement of the congressional letter.
B. Congressional Inquiry by Telephone
If the HO receives a telephone inquiry from a Member of Congress (or staff) requesting a hearing, HO staff will inform the person making the inquiry of the following:
A request for hearing must be in writing; and
The claimant should contact the appropriate FO if he or she wishes to file an RH.
After the telephone call has concluded, HO staff will prepare a form SSA-5002, Report of Contact, to document the inquiry. To access a Report of Contact in the Document Generation System, HO staff will select “Correspondence,” “Other,” and “Report of Contact.” HO staff will then forward the Report of Contact to the appropriate FO for any action it deems necessary.