TN 4 (05-92)

RM 05017.001 Establishing the Correspondence File

A. Definitions

The following are definitions you will need to know to properly sort and file incoming correspondence.

1. Alphabetical

Correspondence or other materials which do not bear Social Security Numbers (SSNs) or Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) or which for some reason are to be filed by name rather than by number.

2. Employee numerical

Correspondence or other material to, from or concerning individuals whose SSNs are known.

3. Employer numerical

Correspondence or other materials, to, from or concerning employers whose EINs are known.

4. Not properly annotated

Correspondence is not properly annotated if one or more of the following deficiencies is present:

  • Does not bear a disposition notation

  • Does not bear a file retention period

  • Does not have filing position underlined in red

  • Number underlined is impossible or incorrect

  • Alphabetical filing indicated, but a number appears on the material and that number is not marked as incorrect or bears no reason for alphabetical filing

B. Procedure - general

After you receive previous correspondence or file copies of outgoing material take the following actions to sort and classify the material.

If the material is... Then...
marked “destroy” place it in the receptacle used to house destruction material.
properly annotated •  sort the single pieces and groups of materi-
   al into; Alphabetical, Employee
  Numerical and Employer Numerical
•  follow the instructions in C. below.
not properly annotated return the correspondence to the originating office asking for a clarification.

NOTE: Do not make a special review of filing/disposition instructions. However, if it is apparent that disposition instructions are not consistent with previous instructions for the same type of material, refer the material to your supervisor for a decision.

C. Procedure - new correspondence folders

Use the following procedure to label and insert material in new correspondence folders.

1. Cases with a prepared correct label


 1 Obtain kraft folders 9 1/2 by 11 1/4 inches.
 2 Affix the label to the tab on the folder so that it will be visible to those who must examine it.
 3 Insert each piece of material for filing into the correspondence folder. Verify the accuracy of typed or printed information on the label and ensure each label shows proper retention period.

2. Cases with a prepared incorrect label


 1 Maintain a record of the SSN items, showing both correct and incorrect numbers.
 2 Destroy the incorrect label.
 3 Prepare a correspondence update sheet to delete the incorrect number and create a label for the correct number (See RM 05016.001).

3. Where no label was prepared

Send correspondence update sheet per RM 05016.001. Upon receipt of label, handle in accordance with C.1 and 2 above.

D. Procedure - sorting folders

Sort the corresondence folders as follows:

  • Alphabetical - alphabetically by the name first appearing on tab. Then when necessary, by second, third etc., name appearing on the tab.

  • Employee Numericals - numerically by SSN.

  • Employer Numericals - numerically by EIN.

E. Procedure filing newly established folders

  1. a. 

    File each correspondence folder in proper position within alphabetical and numerical portions of correspondence file.

  2. b. 

    If there is a folder already in file then combine material into “Earnings Discrepancy” folder or folder labeled “P” or folder with year of destruction closest to current year, in that order. If the amount of material requires more than one folder, consecutively number each folder - 1, 2, etc. Indicate this number on upper left corner of folder label with a ballpoint pen.

  3. c. 

    If necessary, and using a ballpoint pen, change label notations to reflect the presence of merged material.


Labels show      Labels should show

“P” and “79”       “P” - “79”

“P”-80 and “79”    “P” - “79”

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
RM 05017.001 - Establishing the Correspondence File - 09/13/1994
Batch run: 02/06/2015