TN 19 (05-07)

GN 01070.425 Modes Of Responding To Request For Assistance

A. Overview of methods for responding to request for assistance

1. Electronic response

SSA offices are permitted to provide a response to another office solely by electronic means (e.g., annotating the MDW or EVID screen), without any further action from the assisting office, if an authorized SSA employee (see GN 00301.090 for list of authorized employees):

  1. Saw and authenticated the original document or a certified copy of the original or extract; and

  2. The information was:

    • Certified to one of SSA's electronic records (e.g., MCS, MSSICS, etc.) (see GN 00301.286) and retrieved from there; or

    • Retrieved from a copy of the document already in SSA's possession.

2. Paper response

A paper response may be required if the issue is too complex to respond to electronically, or if attachments are needed. If a paper response is provided, the FO will send:

  • The actual document; or

  • A certified copy

B. Interim documentation

1. Overview of interim documentation

In some instances, it may be possible to accept a reply by telephone, fax, etc., until the evidence or information, which is in the possession of the FO, is forwarded to the PC. This may occur when:

  1. The existing rules of evidence require more substantial documentation (e.g., a signed statement from the claimant, the original document, a certified photocopy, copy certified by the custodian, etc.) which results in entitlement/eligibility or disallowance/denial of a claimant's rights to benefits or payment in initial claim situations or suspension/ termination in continuing eligibility situations (see GN 00301.001); and

  2. The information/evidence is being procured from outside of the Agency (i.e., the document is obtained from the claimant/beneficiary or a third party or from a file that is maintained in a Non-SSA site).

2. When to use interim documentation

The rules governing interim documentation requires that the assisting office must:

  1. Have the needed evidence in their possession at the time of their reply to the PC,

  2. Determine whether interim documentation is appropriate, given that the amount, types and weight of evidence available vary widely from case to case,

  3. Provide all material facts shown on the evidence; and

  4. Immediately forward the actual evidence to the PC.

C. Procedure for responding to requests

1. Responding to high priority telephone request

FOs need to use one of the following means to respond to a telephone request for assistance:

  1. Telephone.

  2. Annotate the response directly to the Report of Contact (RPOC) screen in MCS or the DROC screen in MSSICS. Telephone the requestor to inform him/her that the response has been entered electronically.

  3. Fax. Transmit via fax when responding to a request for precedent/legal information.

    Note: Always obtain prior approval from the requesting office before responding by fax. (See GN 00301.031 for policy on acceptance of faxed document.)

    Exceptions: Use Fax, MDW, or mail whenever:

    • Responses are too complex or lengthy to handle over the phone or to annotate on the RPOC/DROC screen; and

    • Attachments are needed, but the FO can begin development without them.

  4. Manager-to-Manager (M2M) web application --Managers in Field Offices, Processing Centers, and National 800 Number Network (N8NN) sites may use this method. See GN 01070.228A.5

2. Responding to routine request

Use one of the following means of responding to a routine request for assistance.

  1. Telephone.

  2. Annotate the response directly onto the RPOC screen in MCS or the DROC screen in MSSICS. Telephone the requestor to inform him/her that the response has been entered electronically.

  3. MDW.

  4. PCACS Request For Assistance

    When the FO responds, the Response To/Transfer of Assistance Request (RTAR) screen comes up. The response to a request of assistance will create a record in the P