TN 1 (06-86)
GN 01050.235 Preparing Reports for the File
Prepare reports of contact to explain discrepancies in the file, to clarify or supplement statements and other evidence. A claimant's signed statement is usually required when information affects entitlement, etc. However, there are situations as indicated by specific POMS sections where a Report of Contact (RC) may be used in lieu of a signed statement in obtaining information from a claimant. Use the RC to explain development actions or their omissions, and to show the basis for certain conclusions when the facts are not obvious from other information in the file. RC's may also be used to supplement standard forms when the circumstances in a case cannot otherwise be
A. Relevance of reports
DO's frequently prepare reports concerning the character, personal appearance, or credibility of claimants or other individuals. These reports are intended for SSA use as guides for development and case review and they may constitute evidence which can be used at hearings or in fraud prosecutions. It is important that the reports do not contain information relating to other issues.
Because it is SSA policy to provide objective, uniform, and equal treatment of people under the law, reports should not contain statements which characterize the claimant or other person by his race, religion, natural origin, or economic condition when these factors are irrelevant to the issue involved. Gratuitous references of this type tend to defeat objective, uniform and equal treatment and have no real evidentiary value.
B. Confidential reports
Occasionally an informant will provide information only in confidence, i.e., he does not want the claimant or beneficiary or other person to whom we might be expected to discuss the information to know the source of our knowledge or possibly even the fact that we possess it.
Inform the person making the request that we cannot promise that the information will not be disclosed in the event of a hearing. Any evidence which is considered by an administrative law judge in making his decision must be made part of the hearing record and may be disclosed to the party or parties to the hearing.