GN BOS00301.035 SSA Access to State Records Online (SASRO) - Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) - (TN 2-91 — 10/2003)
SSA is currently entering into agreements with state agencies across the United States in order to obtain online information from their records. CR/SR's have traditionally obtained the same information by phone, paper, or fax requests. Online access means you will be able to bring the information up on your computer screen, decreasing telephone, fax, and paper traffic between SSA field offices and the State agencies.
SSA Boston Region has an agreement with the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) which allows Social Security field office employees access to the DSS eligibility system, the Eligibility Management System (EMS). EMS contains information about TANF and Medicaid clients as well as unemployment information that comes directly from the Connecticut Department of Labor.
EMS is generally available Monday through Friday 7:30 A.M - 7:00 P.M. It is not available on weekends and also after 5:30 P.M. on the first and last day of the month. The following details how this process works.
1. PIN Issuance and De-Activation
DSS provides access to EMS through a PIN and password system similar to that used by SSA. Access is limited to those employees who need to use the data to perform their jobs. Title XVI CRs, Generalist CRs, MSSs and OSs will be the primary users. SSA employees who will access State data must be registered as systems users by the State. To register his/her employees, each field office manager must complete the form, "State of Connecticut, Department of Social Services, Request for EMS User I.D. Numbers," found on the Boston Regional SASRO page on BOSNet.
When completing the , “State of Connecticut, Department of Social Services, Request for EMS User I.D. Numbers” ignore the columns for DSS Office Number, Unit Type, and Unit Number. Send the form to the name and address shown in the upper left-hand corner of the state form. DSS will complete the Office Number, Unit Type and Unit Number and return the form to you with the identification numbers added.
Management should supply each employee requesting a PIN with copies of the State manual section and State laws related to confidentiality. These materials are also located on the Boston Regional SASRO page.
Management should also notify the EMS Help Desk at 1-860-424-4930 to de-activate registered employees who no longer require access. Call the EMS for assistance if an employee's PIN has been suspended or password expires. Employees should log into the system at least once a month to prevent suspension of their passwords. Also, employees will have to change their passwords every 30 days.
The Federal Privacy Act and other disclosure regulations protect SASRO information. Information obtained from the State must be treated in the same confidential manner as SSA data.
SASRO information (both custodial and collateral) is protected by the Federal Privacy Act and other disclosure regulations in the same manner as other SSA records (GN 03301.020). Access is restricted to authorized FO employees. Employees must protect the confidentiality of the information received and safeguard the assigned user identification number.
3. Calling the DSS Help Desk
The Department of Social Services has agreed to accept questions on the use of the EMS from a limited number of SSA employees. When the online access was initiated each office provided the name(s) of the
one or two people in each Connecticut field office who would be the liaison with the EMS Help Desk. The DSS Help Desk will not accept
phone calls from anyone other than these individuals. FO staff should raise questions about using the EMS to the local office expert. If he/she is unable to resolve the issue, the designated liaison will contact the EMS Help Desk.
Only management should notify the DSS Help Desk of any changes in the designated individuals. Policy questions about how to use the data should be referred to the Center for Programs Support in the Boston Regional Office.
4. Accessing SASRO Data
Field office employees access State data online from the SSA Main Menu. Instead of using a menu option, the FO employee enters a code (CTHS) after the “Select the Desired Function:” entry. This connects the FO employee to the State database. Employees will use a State-assigned USERID to enter the database.
5. Using SASRO Data
You may use DSS information to help determine the eligibility and payment of individuals for benefits under title XVI of the Social Security Act. It should be considered as confidential and sensitive as the data on SSA's systems.
Two kinds of data are available through SASRO:
Custodial Data - Records created and or maintained by the agency or official who is charged under law to safeguard records. SSA can use this information as verified since it is from the custodian of the record.
Collateral Data - Information available from an entity that is not the custodian of the record. For example, the TANF database may contain information about earned or unearned income from other sources. SSA cannot use this information as verified since DSS is not the custodian of the record. You will need to verify the information with the actual source of the income if applicable.
b. CT SASRO Data Considered Verified to SSA Employees
c. General Guidelines
The following information obtained from DSS data is considered “verified” (i.e., no further verification is necessary):
Receipt of TANF (to verify PA household per SI 00835.130b or to exclude TANF recipients from deeming computation per SI 01320.141)
Receipt of Food Stamps, and
Termination date of TANF (limited issue cases)
Unemployment Benefit information from the Department of Labor (not wage information)
The following DSS information can assist interviewers in completing applications or redeterminations and must be verified with other sources:
Other income or resources
Number of household members and their SSNs
Dates of birth for household members.
Instructions for using SASRO to verify TANF amounts and termination dates in Connecticut are in SI R00830.403. You are not required to verify that an individual does not have income from the DSS. (This type of verification is referred to as "negative verification".)
d. How to Document SASRO Data
Document online verifications for MSSICS, MCS, and other SSA systems per current POMS and MSOM instructions (GN 00301.286-290 Electronic Evidence Documentation and Retention). Follow existing POMS procedures in resolving discrepancies between evidence obtained online and the claimant's allegation.
When entering online custodial data into any of SSA's systems, the information should clearly indicate that data were obtained from an online query. In general, the data entered must contain sufficient audit trail information to support the determination. In addition to the pertinent data being documented, some of the data that should be recorded includes the name of the agency, the screen name and the date accessed.
The original training package and guides are available on the Boston Regional SASRO page on BOSnet. The package describes the screens and the information that is available.