TN 11 (09-87)
RM 03844.018 Reviewing Evidence
A. Only Primary Evidence Submitted
Normally, primary evidence is sufficient to resolve an earnings discrepancy case. As long as the evidence is in exact or substantial agreement with the allegation, prepare an SSA-7010 U5 (or allocate from a dummy report per RM 03803.067) to establish the earnings based on the primary evidence.
B. Primary And Secondary Evidence Submitted
If the amount of earnings on the evidence is not in exact or substantial agreement, the field office should have also secured secondary evidence. Evaluate all the available evidence, determine the correct amount and prepare a SSA-7010 U5 (or allocate from a dummy report per RM 03803.067) to establish the earnings. Annotate item 13 of the SSA-7010 U5 to document the reasons for the decision. If the space in item 13 is inadequate, prepare an informal determination on an SSA-553.
C. Only Secondary Evidence Submitted
Follow the guidelines in RS 01403.053 for evaluating secondary evidence. Decide if there is sufficient evidence to establish earnings and, if so, determine the correct amount and prepare a SSA-7010 U5 (or allocate from a dummy report per RM 03803.067) to establish the earnings. Annotate item 13 of the SSA-7010 U5 to document the reasons for the decision. If the space in item 13 is inadequate, prepare an informal determination on an SSA-553.
D. Evidence Tolerance
Consider the earnings record to be in agreement where evidence has been submitted and the difference between the reported amount and the evidence does not exceed the amount required for a quarter of coverage, no EO or NR period is involved, and there is no indication in file of an incorrect reporting practice by the employer.
E. Withdrawal Requests
Where a request for “withdrawal” is attached to the file material, make certain that the “withdrawal” is acceptable per RM 03849.001.
F. Determination Of Wages
1. IF THE FIELD OFFICE HAS MADE A DETERMINATION:
Review Forms SSA-7010 U5 and SSA-553.
Take into consideration the amount and quality of the evidence submitted, the comments, and opinions expressed by the field office in their reports of contact.
Consider previous determinations, pertinent opinions from the Office of the General Counsel, Program Operations Manual System, or Regulations No. 4.
Each case must stand on its own merits. Be guided by, but not bound by, precedent.
Evidence acceptable in one case may not be acceptable in another case because of qualifying circumstances such as employer-employee relationship, amount of “wages,” quarters of coverage, age of individual, etc.
Usually more than one type of secondary evidence will be needed in order to establish wages.
In all cases the secondary evidence which seems to be necessary will be governed to a great extent by what it is possible to obtain.
If the determination is correct, sign your name as reviewer.
If the determination is in error, prepare, or correct the determination.
If the determination is of precedent value, prepare a card for the employer precedent file.
2. IF THE FIELD OFFICE HAS NOT MADE A DETERMINATION:
Examine the case to see whether a determination is required.
Where all necessary development has been completed but the field office failed to furnish a required determination, prepare one. Forms SSA-7000 U5 and SSA-7010 U5 require two signatures, one in the “determination made by” and one in the “approved by” blocks.
G. Referring Cases To ORSI
Refer cases to ORSI that are not covered by existing instructions and precedents by preparing a Form SSA-4597 U3, Record of Material Referred To. However, before referring any case to ORSI make sure the requirements in RM 03844.047 have been met.