I-2-5-74.Obtaining Earnings Record Information

Last Update: 12/6/17 (Transmittal I-2-215)

A. General

Hearing office (HO) staff will obtain and associate updated queries on each claim before a case is adjudicated. Updated queries are particularly important when there is reason to believe that the most recent earnings information in the claim(s) file does not accurately reflect all of the claimant's earnings or when clarification of the earnings information is needed for case adjudication. For example, an administrative law judge (ALJ) may need updated earnings information to:

  • Determine whether insured status is met on a certain date;

  • Verify reporting of lag earnings (see Program Operations Manual System (POMS) RS 01404.005);

  • Determine deductions in retirement or survivor's insurance cases; or

  • Ascertain work history, work activity after onset, or employer information.

B. Necessary Queries

Generally, HO staff will obtain and associate the following queries with a claim(s) file:

  • Informational/Certified Earnings Record (ICERS);

  • Detailed Earnings Query (DEQY);

  • Summary Earnings Query (SEQY); and

  • New Hire, Wage and Unemployment Query (NDNH).

For additional instruction, see Standard Hearings Operations Procedure (SHOP) sections 2.1.2,, and 3.2.9.

Information on reading and interpreting the SEQY is found in POMS SM 00345. For information on the Detailed Earnings Query (DEQY), see POMS SM 00344.


In some cases, the Disability Insured Status Calculator Online (DISCO) may also be helpful, especially in evaluating date last insured issues. Instructions for using the DISCO query can be found in the DISCO user guide at: http://toolbar.ssahost.ba.ssa.gov/UserGuides/DISCOUserGuide.pdf. (The DISCO query, however, does not provide definitive information about insured status and the ICERS query should be used for that purpose). Additionally, the Work History Assistant Tool (WHAT) is also helpful in retrieving DEQY data and displaying it in an easy to read format.

C. Unposted Earnings

Some claim(s) may involve unposted earnings. For example, unposted earnings commonly appear for one of the following reasons:

  • The earnings were received prior to 1978;

  • The earnings were reported under an incorrect name or Social Security number (see POMS RS 02201.022); or

  • The earnings were received during a lag period (see POMS RS 01404.005).

When an ALJ needs information about unposted earnings to adjudicate a claim, and the worker cannot provide independent corroborative evidence of unposted earnings, HO staff may request assistance from the servicing field office. HO staff will diary the case for 45 days and follow up if the field office has not provided a response within that timeframe.