TN 40 (05-12)
A valid document is one issued by the proper custodian of the record system in the
proper format prescribed by either the law or the custodian, and bearing the necessary
certification statement, signature, or seal, if applicable.
In evaluating the validity of documents and records, use the following guidelines
in this section and in GN 00301.030 and GN 00301.050.
Assume records are valid as follows:
If the Social Security Administration (SSA) receives the document from the claimant,
assume validity if the document, photocopy, or extract
is certified by the custodian of the record per GN
is not otherwise questionable.
If SSA receives the document from the custodian, assume the document, photocopy, or extract (certified or uncertified) is valid.
If SSA receives the document from the claimant, assume the document is valid.
EXAMPLES: Claimant's copy of insurance policy, bank book, or tax records.
If SSA receives the document from the custodian, assume the document is valid.
GN 00305.140 Proof of Marriage Termination - General
GN 02410.005 Bankruptcy Court Orders
GN 02410.200 Garnishment
GN 00502.130 Factors to Consider in Evaluating Payee Applicants
EXAMPLES: Copies of records from employers, medical sources, or financial institutions.
To determine the reliability of a written record when we cannot assume the validity,
consider the following criteria:
Is the record the most reliable evidence available? If not, will the evidence permit
an adjudicative decision?
Was the record created at (or shortly after) the time the event took place? Is the
What was the basis used to establish the record (other records, allegations, statements
of witnesses?) Who created the record and for what purpose? Is the record signed?
Was there any formality involved in establishing the record?
Was an oath administered; an affidavit taken; were witnesses present?
Was a penalty imposable for providing false information in creating the record?
Is the record internally consistent?
Is the record consistent with other evidence at hand?
Was there any advantage gained at the time by creating the record and providing false
Has the record been in the possession of someone who might have had reason to change
If the authenticity of a document is questionable:
Verify the document preadjudicatively.
Ask the parallel field office (FO) to examine and certify the contents of the custodian's
record or obtain a properly certified copy of the record.
Document the claim file with the FO findings.
RM 10205.305 Fraudulent Documents with SSN Application
RM 10210.700 Reported Incidents of Fraudulent Activity
GN 00301.030 Acceptability of Documentary Evidence
GN 00301.050 Evaluating the Validity of Documents and Records