TN 4 (05-92)

RM 05002.001 Preliminary Action on Correspondence - No Money Involved


You will receive a variety of correspondence. How you process it is determined by the type received.


The following are definitions of types of correspondence.

1. Priority Mail

Correspondence that needs immediate attention. It includes:

  • Telegraphic messages

  • Complaints about SSA

  • Statement that writer has not received a reply to a letter sent more than 3 weeks ago

  • Replies needed promptly, by a specified date, by telegram or by special delivery

  • Writer requests reply by special delivery and sends correct postage or stamped envelope

  • Cases that indicate delayed handling would have adverse affects

  • Requests for certification for court purposes

  • Certified, registered, insured or special delivery mail

  • Request indicates Presidential or Commissioner involvement

2. Misrouted Mail

Mail delivered to an address other than the one shown on the interoffice envelope

  • Mail received in an interoffice envelope addressed to your branch but some of it is addressed to another branch

3. Untranslated Foreign

Foreign language mail not yet translated. It includes:

  • SSA forms preprinted in Spanish and having an English equivalent

  • Material written entirely in a foreign language

4. Threats to harm Government Officials/Employees

  • Any direct or implied threat

  • Any threat to use illegal, violent or harmful means to satisfy a grievance

  • Any activity directed toward officials or employees in their official capacity that might result in interference with, harassment of or harm to those officials or employees

  • Any threat that indicates a violent attitude toward any administrative, program or legislative decision, policy or action of Federal, State or local governments

  • Any expression of a philosophy that advocates the overthrow of the Government by force or subversion

5. Congressional, Presidential, Secretarial or Commissioner involvement

Correspondence from the public indicating they have or intend to write to one of the subject individuals. It may be in the form of a direct statement, a “cc” annotation or a carbon copy of a letter.

6. Compliments/Complaints

Correspondence either complimenting or complaining about SSA policies and/or procedures

7. Undeliverables

Mail that OCRO attempted to deliver but was not successful

8. Suicide Correspondence

Mail that indicates the writer intends to take his/her own life


After you classify the correspondence handle as follows:

1. Priority Mail

Carry the correspondence to the appropriate person immediately.

2. Misrouted Mail

  • If the mail was delivered to an incorrect address, return the envelope and contents to the mail pickup and delivery station for rerouting.

  • If part of the mail is addressed to another branch, forward it to that branch. If the address cannot be determined, return it to the Incoming Mail Section, Upper Basement (UB-37) with an explanation.

  • Place mail determined to be the responsibility of another Department, Administration or Agency of the Federal Government in an interoffice envelope. Forward it to the Outgoing Mail Section, Lower Basement (LB-37).

3. Untranslated Foreign Mail

Use the following table to process the correspondence.

If you receive... Then...

SSA forms preprinted in Spanish and having an English equivalent

Process as usual unless some annotation on the form needs translation. If so, prepare Form SSA-533 (Translation Request) as follows.


In the space marked...




Central Translation Section (INTPSC) 406 Operations Bldg.


“Name of Wage

The wage earners name, if known otherwise enter the name of the letter writer.


“Social Security

The SSN if available.



The current date.



The language in which the material is written. If it cannot be determined enter “Unknown.”



Your return address.


Staple the SSA-533 to the material and place it in an interoffice envelope. Send it to the Central Translation Section.

NOTE: Complete only one form SSA-533 for each multi-page letter, document, etc.

Material written entirely in a foreign language or is not/cannot be determined to be the responsibility of the receiving branch

Forward the material to the Mail and Work Distribution Section (MWDS) under cover of an Optional Form 41 annotated “Translation of the attached material needed.”

Material that is determined to be the responsibility of your branch

Complete form SSA-533 and send it with the material for translation. See instructions above.

Material returned from translation

Associate it with the case. Process in accordance with normal procedures.

4. Threats to harm Government Officials/ Employees

Bring any threats to the attention of your supervisor for forwarding to:


    Protective Security Branch

    Office of Material and Information Resources

    1-L-19 Operations Bldg.

5. Congressional, Presidential Secretarial Commissioner Involvement

Immediately upon receipt, take it to the reconsideration specialist for disposition. Do not control or attempt to process.

6. Compliments/Complaints

Use the following table to process this correspondence.

If the correspondence... Then...

Is to be processed entirely by OCRO

  • Handle promptly and take any necessary action.

  • Prepare any necessary reply and make a copy of replies sent in response to a complaint letter.

  • Send original incoming letter to the appropriate component.

Is to be partially processed in OCRO but belongs to another SSA segment

  • Prepare a copy of the outgoing letter before routing to another segment.

  • Annotate the copy “Transferred to (segment) on (date).”

  • Detach any internal forms, route slips, etc., not needed by the other segment.

  • Forward the copy and the original incoming letter with pertinent attachments to the appropriate SSA component.

7. Undeliverables

Use the following table to process this correspondence.

If ... Then...

The correspondence was received from the Postal Service without an “X” on the envelope

Examine all material for a better address.

If found: 

  • correct or retype the letter/envelope to show the proper address and current date;

  • prepare file copies if they were prepared for the original reply;

  • annotate file copy previously prepared “undeliverable” and staple it to and beneath the retyped file copy.

  • if the correspondence requires the personal signature of an OCRO official attach a note explaining the reason for the current action. Attach all background material to the official file copy.

If not found:

  • remove the material from the original envelope and place it in a new envelope for remailing to the same address;

  • retype a closed-face envelope if such an envelope was originally used;

  • place a small, but visible, “X” using a ballpoint pen on the lower right corner of the reverse (flap) side of the new envelope;

  • release for mailing and destroy the original envelope.

The correspondence is returned by the Postal Service with an “X” on the flap side, lower right corner of the envelope

  • Remove any informational pamphlets.

  • File correspondence containing information which could be costly to duplicate and which the addressee may subsequently request (e.g., birth certificates or other proof documents).

8. Suicide Correspondence

Immediately notify the Office of Public Inquiries.

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RM 05002.001 - Preliminary Action on Correspondence - No Money Involved - 08/18/1994
Batch run: 02/06/2015