TN 15 (11-22)

GN 03360.025 Certification of Copies of Documents and Extracts from Records


42 U.S.C. 1306

A. Introduction

Types of requests and the reasons for them are discussed in this section. Policy does not currently exist for formal CD certifications; however, procedures are being developed. In the interim, documents on CDs requiring formal certification should be printed and certified using the paper process provided in this instruction.

1. Types of requests

SSA frequently receives requests for certification of documents. Typical requests are listed below. However, requests may come from other sources such as:

  • General Accounting Office

  • U.S. Attorney

  • SSN holders or their representatives

  • Private attorneys

2. Reasons for requests

Reasons for requests are to:

Get evidence in civil suit cases supporting claims to recover incorrect payment of Social Security benefits.

Support a case in criminal action for fraud.

Get court evidence in actions concerning:

  • A wrongful death statute,

  • A workers' compensation law,

  • Welfare fraud,

  • Spousal and child support,

  • Divorce, and

  • Murder and other felonies.

B. Policy

The policy for certification of copies of documents and extracts from records is explained below.

1. Scope of authority

The Secretary of HHS has delegated to the Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget the authority to:

  • certify true copies of, or extracts from, books, records, papers, computer printout or other documents on file;

  • certify the nonexistence of these materials; and

  • cause the Department Seal to be affixed to this certification.

This authority was redelegated to the Commissioner and published in the Federal Register on October 6, 1982.

2. Redelegated authority

The Commissioner redelegated the authority to the SSA positions listed in the chart in C. below. Only the Assistant Secretary and the Commissioner may redelegate this authority. This includes authority to certify true copies or extracts of any books, records, papers or other documents on file within SSA. The delegates may certify:

  • true copies of any books, records, papers or other documents on file within SSA;

  • extracts from material on file within SSA;

  • that the copies are true copies of the entire record on file within SSA;

  • that the complete original record is on file within SSA;

  • that particular records are not on file within SSA.

Also, the delegates may cause the Department Seal to be affixed or impressed to the certifications specified above.

3. Certifying documents and affixing department seal

The chart in C. below lists the positions that have been:

  • delegated authority to certify records (with the limitations stated above).

  • given authority to cause the Department Seal to be affixed or impressed to agreements, award citations, diplomas and similar documents.

C. List of positions authorized to certify documents and affix seal



SSA-wide Authority

  • Deputy Commissioners

  • Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Finance, Assessment, and Management

  • Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Human Resources

Within Headquarters

  • Associate Commissioners

  • Deputy Associate Commissioners

  • Office Directors

  • Deputy Office Directors

  • Division Directors

  • Deputy Division Directors

Within Regions

  • Regional Commissioners

  • Deputy Regional Commissioners

  • Assistant Regional Commissioners

  • Directors, ORPIR

  • Deputy Directors, ORPIR

Within DOCs

  • Directors

  • Deputy Directors

Within PSCs

  • Directors (Operations)

Within ODO/OEIO (DIO, Process Branch) -Jurisdiction includes cases processed under totalization agreements with foreign countries

  • Liaison Clerks

  • Foreign Claims Specialists

  • Technical Assistants

  • Process Module Managers

  • Assistant Module Managers

  • Process Branch Managers

  • All intervening positions in the direct line of supervision between the positions specified above and the Director, ODO/DIO.

Within ODAR - Jurisdiction is ODAR field offices

Regional Chief Administrative Law Judges

Additional ODAR Positions - Jurisdiction is OCA, OAO, ODAR

  • Director, OCA, OAO, ODAR

  • Deputy Director, OCA, OAO, ODAR

D. Procedure - field offices

1. Certification of earnings records (E/R) under department seal

  1. a. 

    Send all requests for certification of earnings records to:

    Office of Central Records Operations

    6100 Wabash Avenue

    Baltimore, Maryland 21215

  2. b. 

    See GN 03311.005 for instructions on fees.

2. Records other than E/R or disability

If other records are requested and the information can be disclosed, send the request through the office having actual custody of the material to the CO, RO, or PSC component who has authority to certify the requested record.

EXCEPTION: If a subpoena is served, the FO will obtain the information from the servicing PSC or ODO/DIO by requesting the folder be sent to the FO or that the certified copies be sent directly to the requester. (See GN 03330.000ff for more information on subpoenas.)

E. Policy - DIB certifications received in DDS

Requests for disability insurance benefit (DIB) certifications are sometimes received in the DDS.

  1. a. 

    Kinds of Requests

    • verify disability insurance benefits;

    • verify date disability began.

  2. b. 

    Routing of requests

    • DDS sends to parallel FO;

    • parallel FO determines folder location, and sends request to office having folder; i.e., PSCs or ODO/DIO.

Certification of documents must be performed by the office having custody of the record.

F. Procedure - PSC'S and ODO/DIO

PSC's and ODO/DIO should determine when it is appropriate to furnish certified information, prepare a certification form and affix the Department Seal.

1. Forms to be prepared

  1. a. 

    Prepare a cover letter to the requester in accordance with current correspondence policies.

  2. b. 

    Prepare an original certification (Form SSA-1841) (see GN 03360.999, Exhibit 2), yellow filebox (Form SSA-1841A) (see GN 03360.999, Exhibit 3), and two copies of the filebox.

  3. c. 

    Prepare two copies of the requested evidence.

2. How to assemble

Assemble as follows:

  1. a. 

    Clip one copy (do not staple) of the requested evidence to the original certification form and staple the other copy to one of the filebox copies.

  2. b. 

    Place the certification forms (the original and appropriate copies) and the cover letter (the original and copies) on top of the claims folder. Ensure that the filebox copies are signed in accordance with unit instructions.

3. How to route

Route the material as follows:

  1. a. 

    Handcarry the package to an individual delegated the authority to certify documents in the servicing PSC or ODO/DIO. See GN 03360.025B.3. above for signature.

  2. b. 

    Send the original certification form and filebox copy with attachments to the Office of the Director of the servicing PSC or ODO/DIO where the ribbon and Department Seal will be affixed.

  3. c. 

    Attach route slip (Optional Form 41) to the material to request the necessary action and to identify the requester.

  4. d. 

    Send the original certification form (with attachments) and cover letter to the requester.

  5. e. 

    Retain the remaining filebox copy of the certification form and the filebox copy of the cover letter in the file.

G. Reference

Responding to requests from State and local law enforcement agencies, requesting certified photocopies of checks and payment extracts to be used as evidence in fraud cases and investigations, see GN 02406.000, Failure to Receive a Check/Payment-Title II and Black Lung.

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GN 03360.025 - Certification of Copies of Documents and Extracts from Records - 11/28/2022
Batch run: 11/28/2022