TN 13 (11-11)
Upon receipt of the request for a legal opinion, fully review the provided information
to decide whether you need an opinion. After review, follow the procedures below.
If no opinion is necessary (e.g., if resolved, the issue would not affect the adjudicative
decision), return the request to the originating component with an appropriate explanation
and ensure that the claim is adjudicated properly.
If a pertinent opinion is available and there is no question about its continued applicability,
cite the opinion per GN 01010.810, ensure that the claim is adjudicated accordingly, and advise the requesting component.
If no pertinent legal opinion is available but it is needed, ensure that all claims
actions for claimants not affected by the legal question are complete before requesting
If no precedent opinion exists, take the following actions:
Review the information and if the state in question is not within the jurisdiction
of the requesting component (see GN
00305.001), forward the request to the ARC, MOS or his or her designee for the region in which
the state is located.
If the state involved is within the jurisdiction of the requesting component, approve
and submit the request for an opinion to the corresponding Regional Chief Counsel
(RCC) and include the following language in the submittal:
“Please forward a copy of your response by e-mail as a WORD attachment to the Office
of PolicyNet and Program Support (OPPS) using the following e-mail address: ^Regional
Provide an informational copy of the submittal to the originating component and maintain
a copy in the claims file.
If the request concerns a possible amendment to a state law which appears in the POMS
(e.g., small estate statue, state law on legitimation, etc.), ask the RCC to provide
appropriate language for a new POMS entry and the effective date of the change if
Approve and submit the requests for interpretation of federal law to the Office of
Disability and Income Security Programs (ODISP).
Provide an informational copy to the originating component and maintain a copy in
the claims file.
Approve and submit the request through the Office of International Policy (OIP) to
the Office of General Council (OGC) and include the following language in the submittal:
“Please forward a copy of your response by e-mail as WORD attachment to the Office
of PolicyNet and Program Support (OPPS) using the following E-Mail address: ^Regional
If an issue involves a foreign law but the NH is not domiciled in a foreign country or was not residing in one at the time of death:
Approve and submit the question to the RCC in the region where the NH is or was domiciled
and include the following language in the submittal:
Provide an informational copy to the requesting component and maintain a copy in the
The following situations are not considered requests for legal opinions within the
meaning of this subchapter but should also be approved and forwarded to the appropriate
Compromise offers regarding an overpayment (see GN
Bankruptcy documents (see GN 02215.200C); and
Questions regarding a Court’s authority to issue a garnishment order (see GN 02410.210).
For title II claims, if the request for a legal opinion is pending due to a submission
for the same issue on another social security number (SSN):
Forward the request to the RCC for association with the original submission. If the
pending request has a listing code, use it to list this case.
If a listing code was not previously assigned, list the case using a listing code
within the 900 series (i.e., not one assigned for national use, see GN 01040.005C).
If you receive new information or unusual circumstances occur which should be taken
into consideration in evaluating the issue, forward the pertinent claims material
to the RCC for association with the original submission.