TN 26 (09-08)
GN 00301.010 What is Evidence
Evidence is any information presented orally or in writing that helps to establish a fact. Oral statements must be reduced to writing to be considered evidence for our purposes. For accepting evidence submitted at Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearings, see GN 00301.110.
2. Probative Value
Probative value is the weight given to a particular piece of evidence.
Rules for determining the probative value of specific types of evidence are in the POMS chapter covering the issue to be proven. When other POMS chapters provide no specific guidelines, use the guidelines in GN 00301.030 and GN 00301.045.
B. Policy for categories of evidence
Acceptable evidence for establishing factors of entitlement or eligibility may take many forms, but will generally fall into one of these categories:
1. Original record
An original record is the actual written public or private record of the event and is usually maintained by the custodial source. Original records include SSA records and other governmental records.
NOTE: For evaluating souvenir certificates (SC) and to use SCs as proof of age and secondary evidence of marriage, see GN 00301.050E.1.
2. Extract record
An extract record is a record in which only certain information has been taken from the original record or certified photocopy and certified as accurate by the record custodian or an SSA certifier, who records the information on the Evidence (EVID) screen, the form SSA-704-F3, Certification of Contents of Documents or Records, or the form SSA-4385, Certification of Contents of Court Records. For personnel authorized to certify documents and records, see GN 00301.090; acceptability of documentary evidence, see GN 00301.030, and for extract translations, see GN 00301.400.
Some States only maintain extracts when the original is too lengthy, e.g. divorce records.
Some States are beginning to issue computer generated birth certificates. These certificates fall under the category of “extract” certificates and are acceptable for our purposes provided the record custodian properly certifies the computer generated birth certificate and the birth certificate has the needed audit trail information for us to verify at the record source. For determining whether sufficient audit trail exists, see GN 00301.015B.1.b. If there is any indication that the extract record has been altered or corrected, see GN 00301.050B.
3. Certified photocopy
A certified photocopy is a photocopy of the original document in the custodian's possession to which the custodian affixes a signature, stamp, or seal attesting to the accuracy of the photocopy. An electronically certified copy is not acceptable as a certified photocopy.
4. True and exact copy
A true and exact copy is a typed or handwritten replica of the original document, which an SSA certifier prepares. For personnel authorized to certify documents and records, see GN 00301.090.
5. Signed statement or affidavit
A signed statement or affidavit is a formal assertion of relevant facts based on personal knowledge. For statements and/or opinions, see GN 00301.305.
6. Personal observations
Personal observations are reports of what the individual saw or heard.
7. Common knowledge
Common knowledge is reports or information generally known in the community.