TN 15 (01-00)

GN 00301.295 Nonessential Material to be Omitted from Title II and Title XVI Claims Folders

A. Procedure — general

Although all claims folders must be fully documented to support the adjudicative decision, do not include in the folder any material that is clearly nonessential and without present or probable future value.

Nonessential material in the claims folder:

  • hampers subsequent reviews of Title II and Title XVI claims actions;

  • increases folder storage costs for SSA; and

  • adversely impacts limited storage space.

Follow the guidelines in the AIMS, Chapter 07, Schedule 2, Category 2 of the Material Resources Manual (MRM), Records Management Handbook to determine retention periods for SSA claims related forms.

B. Procedure — forwarding claims materials

Review and remove all extraneous material before either initial or subsequent claims folders or materials are forwarded from:

  • The FO to the SSA National Records Center (SSANRC)

  • The FO to the PC; and

  • PC's to their respective storage facilities.

C. Procedure — guidelines to reduce nonessential material

All claims processing personnel should:

  • Document the file electronically whenever possible;

  • Use the “Remarks” section of application forms, where possible, to obtain a claimant's statement instead of a separate SSA-795;

  • Use the same RC to record multiple contacts made on the same issue instead of using separate RC's for each contact. The source and date of each contact should be clearly identified;

  • Use claims transmittal forms for alerts to the PC and special instructions, where possible, instead of a separate RC; and

  • Avoid recording routine development notes on RC's when entries on the SSA-250 would serve as well.

D. Procedure — material to be excluded /purged from claims folders

Purge and exclude the following:

1. Notes, drafts, etc.

  1. Initial notes or rough drafts made for the convenience of the FO.

  2. Route slips, such as Form SSA-408, etc.

  3. RC's recording follow-up efforts made for evidence that is now in the claims folder or letters requesting evidence now in file.

  4. Signed authorization forms (such as the SSA-827, SSA-4641-U2, SSA-8510, etc.) which have not been used.

2. Duplicate copies

  1. Multiple photocopies of proofs.

  2. Carbon copies of multiple-page forms.

  3. Photocopies of material already in file.

  4. Computer output material on the right side of the folder which has no future documentation value. In Title II claims retain only the latest computer output (such as MBR, ROAR, etc.) in file.

  5. Extra copies of RC's.

3. Mailings

  1. Blank forms or blank questionnaires returned to the FO.

  2. Envelopes not required to establish a filing date or necessary for other documentation purposes.

  3. Copies of routine development correspondence with claimants or third parties. (This does not include correspondence which might be considered an application or might be important to a determination.)

E. Procedure — issues unique to the SSI program

1. Initial claims

Because final adjudicative responsibility in the SSI program resides with FO's, initial claims folders receive no additional review after leaving FO's except for the sample of cases reviewed by Program and Integrity Review Staffs. Thus, FO's must ensure that only material pertinent to the adjudicative, redetermination, overpayment and appellate process is retained.

2. Posteligibility processing

The redetermination process in the SSI program requires FO's to obtain systems data, such as updated SSIRD's and SSI-2 queries, to properly determine ongoing eligibility. Cases in which the SSI claims were filed several years ago, with frequent changes in status in the interim period may have records several pages in length.

Computer output material generally is not useful in any future claims development because whenever an SSI issue arises it is usually essential to acquire updated systems data. Therefore, discard the computer material unless computer output provides the initiative to investigate a change, documents the basis for a change in status or is to be used in