TN 19 (05-07)
GN 01070.310 DIRCON Signature Requirements
A. Overview of signature requirements for DIRCON
Certain adjudicative actions involving an initial or reconsideration determination require that statements or forms be signed by the claimant/beneficiary. This subsection addresses what to do when a signature is required.
Note: As SSA expands its electronic processing, SSA has adopted alternative signature methods to the traditional pen-and-ink or “wet” signature. These methods are referred to by the general term of “signature proxy.” POMS GN 00201.015 gives background on the signature proxy initiatives and what forms can currently be “signed” by this method. Although normally used by FO personnel when processing initial claims, it is possible that signature proxy could also be used by PC personnel when the purpose of the DIRCON is to obtain or clarify entries on the MCS claims screens, and the information obtained results in an amendment to the application itself (see GN 00201.015I).
B. Signature requirements
1. Signature is required
Accept and act upon the telephone response until the signed statement is received. Properly document the oral response and diary for 20 calendar days pending receipt of the signed statement.
Note: This period may be extended to 30 days at local management discretion.
If the statement has not been received by the end of the diary period, re-contact the source for the statement. Re-diary if the statement was recently mailed.
If the claimant cannot be contacted or refuses to cooperate, or if the statement has not been received 30 days after the second contact attempt, use DOTEL procedure to notify FO that direct contact was made, and request FO follow-up. When FO development is completed, it will supersede the direct contact oral response. Take appropriate action based on the information provided by the FO.
2. Signature is not required
If the requirement for a signature is not specified in POMS, documentation of a claimant/beneficiary's statement is sufficient.
C. Miscellaneous signature guidelines
1. Disadvantageous month of election (MOEL)
Contact the claimant by telephone and explain the disadvantages.
Change is permissible under the option initially chosen on the application
Do not obtain a new signature.
A new month that is more advantageous is not permissible under the original option chosen
Obtain the claimant’s signature (See GN 00204.047A.).
No change is desired
Document the file specifying what disadvantages were explained to the claimant and that the claimant declined to change the MOEL.
In end-of-year review situations involving questionable MOEL’s
Contact the claimant by telephone. Always document the file.
2. Incomplete application forms
Obtain any data relating to factors of entitlement and/or the payment of benefit over the claimant's signature. (See GN 00205.015 for more detailed information and situations in which telephone contact would be appropriate. Also see GN 00201.015I regarding possible use of signature proxy if the additional information obtained by phone would result in an amendment to the application.)
3. Reconsideration or ALJ reversal cases
Obtain by telephone updated application data such as work deduction or suspension information.
4. Claimant and third party reports - Post-adjudicative Actions
Do not obtain a signed statement to verify address and student information.
Use the telephone to verify a date of death, divorce or marriage without obtaining a signed statement.
Foreign address - Do not accept by telephone a change of address to a foreign country.
Adverse action - Verify all third party reports resulting in an adverse action, with the claimant/beneficiary or payee before payments are reduced or stopped.
5. Work or earnings (Post-adjudicative Actions Only)
Obtain an oral report of work or earnings if it is given by an acceptable reporter (see GN 03001.012), and accurately identifies the working beneficiary.
Accept an oral statement from the claimant regarding time devoted to his/her self-employed trade or business per RS 02505.075 and RS 02505.100.
Obtain claimant's signature in questionable retirement cases. (RS 02505.100.)
Note: Obtain proof if a significant decline in earnings would result in payment of a substantial amount of benefits which would not otherwise be payable. (RS 02505.085)
7. Student verification reports
Student verification reports require the signature of both the student and the school official.