TN 19 (05-07)
GN 01070.410 FO Handling of High Priority Request From PC
1. General modes of handling priority requests
If the request is made via telephone, determine the mode of response before terminating the call. (See GN 01070.425)
If the request is made via Manager-to-Manager (M2M) web application, these requests are treated as “High Priority”. For M2M guidelines, see GN 01070.228A.5
If the request is made via MDW or mail, take care in distinguishing which requests are high-priority vs. routine. If the subject line indicates “PRIORITY,” treat the request the same as a “High Priority” request received via telephone.
Make every attempt to secure the information timely. Once received, communicate the information immediately to the PC.
2. Interim contact with the PC
Contact the PC immediately and advise them to adjust the follow-up timeframe if:
FO determines that the request should be transferred to another office. This situation will normally occur when a third-party contact is involved and another FO services the third party contact.
FO needs clarification or additional information.
FO completes development on a request over 45 days old. This will preclude unnecessary follow-ups by the processing center to the Area Director's office.
A delay is expected in obtaining the requested information which is outside of the FO's control. For example, the FO has requested documentary evidence from another agency and past experience has shown that the evidence will not be received for 40 days.
The request involves contact with the claimant and the claimant refuses to cooperate. Make every reasonable effort to secure the requested evidence. However, if a capable claimant refuses to cooperate, follow the normal guidelines in GN 01010.410 to contact the claimant and send a closeout letter. Clearly document all efforts made while attempting to complete the necessary development.
Always exercise caution before making a decision regarding disallowance of the claim. Be sure the claimant understands what evidence is needed, and that the claimant is physically and mentally able to pursue the claim without assistance (see GN 00301.180).
NOTE: Telephone and/or interim documentation are not acceptable when a disallowance results from a claimant's failure to cooperate or furnish essential evidence. See GN 00501.005 concerning the protection of the rights of minor children and incapable beneficiaries.
3. Completing the request
Process the request for assistance as soon as the evidence/information becomes available.
When telephone documentation of the requested information is not sufficient, the FO will forward the document/information to the PC. (See GN 01070.425B for more in-depth instructions on interim documentation.)
B. Questionable request received
In some instances, the PC may not be aware that the requested development:
In such instances, the FO should telephone the requester to discuss the situation and explore whether alternative methods or evidence can be used to document the file properly. If equivalent evidence is available, it should be forwarded together with an explanation of the situation.
If the FO disagrees with the request for assistance and the issue cannot be resolved between the FO and PC managers, the FO may:
Send a memorandum to the ARC, PCO of the requesting PC (do not use the telephone to protest a questionable request).
Send the memorandum by mail, E-Mail or Fax. If sending by mail, mark the envelope “PROTEST MEMO” to facilitate a faster reply.
Development on the request will not be stopped as this could cause a delay in processing the claims action. The ARC, PCO will respond directly to the FO.
If the response does not resolve the issue, the FO may submit the question to the ARC, MOS in the FO's regional office.