I-3-1-26.Exhibit – Claim(s) File and Hearing Recording Search Checklist

Last Update: 5/26/17 (Transmittal I-3-157)

CLAIM(S) FILE AND HEARING RECORDING SEARCH CHECKLIST

Name ____________________________

SSN _____________________________

Claim Type _______________________

X-Ref ____________________________

Application Date ___________________

Request for Review Date ____________

Hearing Decision Date ______________

RR Timely Yes No

Note: After any request(s) or follow-ups to other components, be sure to annotate the remarks section of the Appeals Review Processing System (ARPS) and set the appropriate diary. If the file is not received in 28 days, notify your branch chief and continue to search for the file.

A. Claim(s) File Search

1. Checking the location of the claim(s) file:

  • a) Be sure that the file is not electronic. Even if it is not a Certified Electronic File (CEF), check the Electronic Disability Collect System (EDCS) to determine what information is available online.

  • b) Check the branch for the file.

  • c) If not in the branch, use the Automated Folder Location (AFL) website. If the search locates a file, request it through AFL.

  • d) If the AFL search returns “folder unavailable,” use the Personal Communication (PCOM) system queries to locate the file. To use the site, log into Session A in the PCOM system.

    Possible queries:

    • AACT (Abbreviated Account Query or Master Beneficiary Record)/FACT (Full Account Query) (Note: it is best to request FACT);

    • SSID (Supplemental Security Record Display – SSR) Full Record (Note: it is best to mark “all records”) and the SSA-8028 (see No. 7);

    • DDSQ (Disability Determination Services Query) for DDS records;

    • PCACS (Processing Center Action Control System) for title II files (see No. 3);

    • CSR (Customer Service Record) – may show which office the claimant is currently working with; and

    • MDW (Modernized Developmental Worksheet) – may contain updated information from the field office (FO) personnel.

  • e) For hearing office (HO) records, use the Case Processing Management System (CPMS) through ARPS. To access CPMS, query the HO records in ARPS.

NOTE:

If a paper claim(s) file exists, the AFL system will present a worksheet showing all potential locations for the file. Also, consider searching:

  • previous names;

  • beneficiary's and representative payee's previous addresses (the file could be in an FO servicing a previous address);

  • cross-referenced Social Security numbers;

  • concurrent claim(s) files; and

  • when calling an HO or FO, suggest searching pending files and checking closed files or boxes awaiting shipment.

Most of the instructions below say to email the offices where records indicate a file may be located. To expedite a case, phone calls may be used; however, we suggest sending a follow-up email to provide a written record of the request and the name and email address of the contact in the other office. This email also gives the other office your information in case the information from the phone call is not available later. Best practices show that putting both the office email address and one or more contact names as addressees on the email has been most successful in obtaining files. Also, be sure to include your office code in the text of the email so the HO or FO can find it on the Detailed Office/Organization Resource System (DOORS) and make any necessary case control inputs.

2. Requesting a claim(s) file from an HO (if applicable)

If the CPMS or any other query or document indicates that the file is in an HO, or if the last known location of the file was an HO, request the file from the HO:

  • a) Send an email to the general email box of the HO adding the name(s) of a Group Supervisor (GS) and/or the name of the Hearing Office System Administrator (HOSA):

    • To find an HO's general email address, type ¦ODAR R[region number] into the global address book and locate the appropriate hearing office. For example, to locate the Boston HO email address, type in ¦ODAR R1 in the global address book and locate the Boston office.

    • Alternatively, the addresses can be found at http://odar.ba.ssa.gov/hq-components/oao/servicing-field-hearing-office-locator/ or http://odar.ba.ssa.gov/hq-components/ocalj/field-staff-listings/. (The names of the GS and HOSA may be found in the Outlook Global Listing for the office).

    • If the case is critical, include this information in the email and request that the claim(s) file be forwarded within 10 days. A follow-up call should be made to a Group Supervisor (GS) after 10 days.

      Date requested___________ GS or HOSA (Name) ________________________

    • If you need to contact a National Hearing Center (NHC) to locate a missing paper claim(s) file (this should rarely happen, because they handle mostly electronic records), the general email address is ¦¦¦ODAR OCALJ NHC (name of NHC location).

    NOTE:

    If there is a remark in CPMS that the HO is trying to reopen the case, the Appeals Council may be able to adjudicate without the paper file.

  • b) If no response in an additional 14 days, email the Hearing Office Director (HOD), with a copy to the GS.

    Date requested____________ HOD (Name) ____________________________

3. Requesting a claim(s) file from a processing center (PSC), including the Office of Disability Operations (ODO-PSC7)

  • a) If the PCACs request was made by AFL, the first follow-up will be automatically generated in 14 days.

  • b) If the AFL did not make the request, make the request through PCACS on PCOM; the first follow-up will be automatically generated in 14 days.

  • c) Follow-up 28 days from the original request by calling the Module Manager (Mod. Mgr). Use DOORS to determine which module has jurisdiction or see the MOD telephone list on the ODO or PSC Intranet site for PSC or ODO Mod. Mgr. telephone number.

Decoding SSNX Field on PCACS

  • First digit is PC code (e.g., 7=ODO);

  • Second two digits are counters (e.g., 01=first action; 02=second action);

  • Last two digits indicate:

    • Files (e.g., 01=RIB; 11=DIB; 21=Temporary; 12=DWB (Disabled Widow's/Widower's Benefit); and 13=DAC (Disabled Adult Child, now referred to as Childhood Disability Benefit (CDB))); or

    • Actions (e.g., 30=miscellaneous receipt; 31=Phone; 33=Claim Receipt; or 40=computer input)

  • Many codes do not relate to claim(s) files (i.e., post-entitlement, temporary files, or effectuation actions) and cannot be obtained via PCACS.

4. If the AFL or PCOM search shows that the claim is in an FO, request by one of the following methods:

  • FO contact____________________________________ FO code ____________

  • Telephone______________

  • E-mail__________________

  • FAX____________________

  • Remarks___________________________

If more than one FO must be contacted:

  • 2nd FO contact______________________________________ FO code ____________

  • Telephone______________

  • E-mail__________________

  • FAX____________________

  • Remarks___________________________

  • Follow-up in 14 days with FO management

  • Date of Contact: __/__/_____ Mgmt. official's name: ______________________________

  • If the claim(s) file is not received in 14 additional days, assume it is not available; however, if any further indication is found during the 14 days that the file is in the FO, contact the FO and share the information to help locate the file.

5. Title II Claim(s) File in Social Security Administration's National Records Center (SSANRC) or Federal Record Center (FRC)

  • If the file is in the SSANRC (N88), then request the file via the AFL or PCACS.

    DO NOT REQUEST files from SSANRC if they are reading:

    • L47 = File Meets Destruction Criteria/File Destroyed;

    • L50 = Unable to locate (UTL) in SSANRC;

    • L51 = UTL in the FRC;

    • Claim(s) File in DDS Location (e.g., Snn) (unless there is also an FRC code (Lnn) indicating a file is in SSANRC/FRC); or

    • Files located at the SSANRC can also be requested through the SSANRC website.

    NOTE:

    The SSANRC may declare a file missing, but a “lost” title II claim(s) file may be attached to a title XVI claim(s) file, or elsewhere, e.g., disabled widows benefit claims and childhood disability claims. For example, title II claim(s) files may be stored under a wage earner's Social Security number (SSN) instead of the claimant's SSN. Do not assume it cannot be located.

6. Title XVI Claim(s) File in SSANRC or FRC

If the file is in the SSANRC (LOE) or FRC (L##) (where ## denotes the year of inactivation), then request the file via one of the following methods (in the order of priority shown):

  • a) Request for the file can be made on the AFL. If not, go to PCOM and use the SSA-8028: The Type of Action (TA) field will be “A” for alert, the Alert Response (AR) field will be “AR: 33 Recall” (see Program Operations Manual System SM 01201.055).

  • b) AR: 25 can be used to find the last six locations (offline response). This means that the response will come to the printer assigned to your PIN the next day. To be sure you get the query, be sure to fill out the Unit field. The three letters of your name are often used.

  • c) Follow up after 14 days with a call to 1-888-281-2999 or e-mail to ^NRC QAT Action Items, and document:

    Date of Contact: __/__/____ Contact Name __________________________

  • d) If the claim(s) file is not received 14 days after the follow-up with SSANRC/FRC, assume it is not available from SSANRC/FRC.

NOTE:

The SSANRC may declare a file missing, but a “lost” title XVI claim(s) file may be attached to a title II claim(s) file, or elsewhere, e.g., childhood claims and SSI couples' claims. For example, in SSI couples' cases, the record of one member of the couple may be housed under the SSN of the other member of the couple. Do not assume it cannot be located.

7. Call to appointed representative (for request for review cases only)

  • If unable to locate the file, call the appointed representative, if any, for a copy of the record.

  • If a copy is available, diary the case in ARPS for 14 days and follow-up as needed.

  • If a copy of the claim(s) file is not received 30 days after a request for a copy of the file from the representative, assume it is not available.

If the representative only has a partial file, and it does not appear that the remainder will be located, do not request the partial file. The case will be remanded, and the representative may forward his or her records to the HO.

Representative's Name________________________ Telephone No. __________________

Date of Contact __/___/_____ Remarks: ____________________________________

8. If no appointed representative (for request for review cases only)

  • If there is no appointed representative, and it appears likely that the claimant has a copy of the claim(s) file material, contact the claimant for a copy of the record. You may advise the claimant that they may have them copied at the local Social Security office.

    Claimant's Telephone Number_______________ Date of Contact __/__/____

    Comments ____________________________________________________

  • If a copy is available, diary the case in ARPS for 14 days and follow-up as needed.

  • If a copy of the claim(s) file is not received 30 days after a request for a copy of the file from the claimant, assume it is not available.

The Office of Appellate Operations has attempted to locate this claim(s) file; however, we are unable to locate it at this time.

Branch chief's signature: _______________________________________

Title_______________ Date: __/__/_____

NOTE:

The branch chief only needs to sign the form one time, even if both the file and recording are missing (or the recording is inaudible).

B. Hearing Recording Search

  • Not applicable (e.g., no hearing was held, or an audible recording is in the electronic record). No branch chief signature is required below.

  • 1. Check eView, even if it is a paper case. The HO sometimes uploads the recording even when the claim(s) file is paper.

  • 2. Check with the HO

    • Send an email to the HO (see above for finding HO email addresses). You can find the name of the GS or HOSA in the Outlook Global and add his or her name to the email recipients.

    • The body of the email should include the name of the claimant, the SSN, the date of the hearing, and the name of the adjudicator.

    • If no response is received after 14 days, send a follow-up email to the GS or HOD. For critical cases, if no response is received after 10 days, make a follow-up call to the GS or HOD.

  • 3. If the recording is not located 14 days after steps 1 and 2 above are completed, refer the case to your branch chief, who may take further action to locate the recording or certify that the recording is lost.

  • 4. Some recordings may not be audible. If the recording is inaudible, follow the instructions in HALLEX I-3-1-12 B and below.

    • 1) Contact the HO by email, add a remark to ARPS showing when the request was made to the HO and update ARPS status code to DACP. Diary the case in ARPS for 14 days (or 10 days for critical cases).

    • 2) Send a follow-up email if an audible recording or negative response is not received by the diary date.

The Office of Appellate Operations has attempted to locate an audible recording of the hearing; however, we are unable to locate one at this time.

  • Branch chief certifies that the recording is lost or missing.

  • Branch chief certifies that the recording is not audible.

Branch chief's signature: _______________________________________

Title_______________ Date: __/__/_____