TN 19 (05-07)

GN 01070.315 Direct Contact By Telephone

A. Overview of direct contact by telephone

Priority is normally given to using the telephone for direct contact as opposed to mailing the request. However, there may be instances where local instructions or special circumstances dictate use of mail DIRCON without attempting phone contact.

B. Procedure for telephone contact

1. Placing the call

Obtain the telephone number from the BTN field in the TELE DATA line on the MBR. If the MBR phone number is missing or invalid and the individual has also filed for SSI, check the SSID for updated information. If you are still unable to locate a valid number, use agency or commercial directories instead of operator assistance (e.g. 411 or (area code) 555-1212).

2. Make proper contact

Identify yourself and the office from which you are calling. Make certain that the party being contacted understands that your call is not from the local field office (FO).

3. Request the information

  • Be sure the individual understands what information you need and why you need it. Should you reach someone with a language barrier, or who does not understand your request, try to end the call quickly and as gracefully as possible. Then, either send a mail DIRCON request or refer the case to the servicing FO for development.

  • Do not encourage the individual to ask any questions, but be as receptive as possible to questions raised. If the individual inquiries about information in his or her record, follow instructions in GN 00203.020 to properly identify the claimant. You may disclose information about entitlement or benefit payment as permitted under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act.

    If you cannot answer a question on a particular subject, suggest that he /she call the teleservice center at 1-800-772-1213 or their local Social Security office.

    NOTE: Questions that could be interpreted as a lead or protective filing should be disposed of by either scheduling an appointment, sending a closeout notice, or referral to the FO (see GN 00202.001 for additional information).

  • Do not reveal any information about entitlement or benefit payments if a determination has not yet been made. You may wish to indicate, as appropriate, that the claimant will receive a notice within the next 30 days if the action being taken will result in a benefit adjustment.

4. Documenting the call

When the call sufficiently resolves the issue, document the file as follows:

Initial claim situations the requesting claims adjudicator will

  • Document the response onto the RPOC screen in MCS

  • Always record sufficient data to describe and authenticate the evidence/statement given and support the action to be taken

  • Annotate the appropriate application screen(s) or the RMKS screen in MCS as required.

Post-adjudicative situations:

Item being worked as a paper item:

Item being worked paperless:

  • Record the results on an SSA-5002 or SSA-795 and have the response scanned into the Paperless System as a non-actionable item in addition to storing the form in the folder (if present).

  • The results of the contact should be recorded on one of the available electronic forms available within the Paperless system.

Disability claims processed using an electronic folder

Refer to the instructions in POMS for storing documents in the electronic disability folder. SSA also will be establishing a non-disability repository for the electronic storage of evidence on non-disability cases. Once established, records of phone contacts will be stored there.

When the call serves as interim documentation, document the file as above and prepare a diary for 30 days pending receipt of whatever material the individual has promised to furnish.

5. Giving Out PC Telephone Numbers

Give telephone numbers to individuals to call back with necessary information based on individual PC instructions.

NOTE: The ARC, PCO will apply whatever guidelines are most practical, given the particular geographic and telephone configurations of the PC.