BASIC (03-04)

GN 01085.010 Essential Material Retained For Title II and Title XVI Claims

A. Policy

Essential material is integral to the claimant's case and, whether favorable or unfavorable, must be retained by SSA in either an electronic or paper environment for a specified period. In support of the Agency's paperless initiative, annotate the electronic claims file as allowed by appropriate subject-matter procedures.

B. Definitions

Essential material is evidence that establishes fact or supports statements relevant to a point in issue.

A claims file is either an electronic file (e.g., MCS, MSSICS or RPS) or a paper file (see GN 01010.001B.7.).

C. Procedure - specific material to retain

1. Title II Claims

Retain the following for title II claims:

  1. Applications for RSDHI benefits (MCS or paper).

  2. Protective writings for RSDHI applications.

  3. Application support forms (e.g., common law marriage questionnaires, questionable retirement forms, etc.).

  4. Entitlement proofs (e.g., age, relationship, death, etc.), unless the procedures in GN 00301.286 apply.

  5. Statements signed by a claimant or third party regarding an entitlement factor.

  6. Earnings records that could not be replicated and supporting proofs or determinations.

  7. Initial and appellate determinations and decisions.

  8. Material that relates to or may relate to the resolution of overpayment or underpayment issues.

  9. Copies of notices or notice language that could not be reconstructed (e.g., SSA-573s, file copies of manually prepared notices or dictated paragraphs; especially those that form the basis for determinations that are less than fully favorable).

2. Title XVI claims and postentitlement actions

Retain the following for title XVI claims and postentitlement actions:

  1. SSI applications (MSSICS or paper).

  2. Protective writings for SSI applications.

  3. Application support forms (e.g., SSA-8006-F4, Statement of Living Arrangements, In-Kind Support and Maintenance and SSA-8010-BK, Statement of Income and Resources).

  4. Redeterminations (e.g., SSA-8202-F6 or SSA-8203-BK)

  5. Entitlement proofs (e.g., age, citizenship, residency, etc.).

  6. Statements signed by other persons and used as evidence to support the determination of benefit amounts (e.g., statement relating to living arrangements by the householder or other knowledgeable person).

  7. Verification of earnings, bank accounts, living arrangements, citizenship, etc., including RCs prepared as a result of telephone contacts.

  8. Initial and appellate determinations and decisions, including payment calculation sheets, overpayment determinations and hearing cassettes.

  9. Material that relates to or may relate to the resolution of overpayment or underpayment issues.

  10. Copies of notices or notice language that could not be reconstructed (e.g., file copies of manually prepared notices or dictated paragraphs; especially those that form the basis for determinations that are less than fully favorable).

3. Disability involvement

In addition to the material outlined in GN 01085.010C.1. and GN 01085.010C.2., ensure that title II claims and title XVI claims or postentitlement actions that involve disability contain only that medical material which:

  1. is essential to the disability determination (see the NOTE below),

  2. documents that the necessary development steps were completed in the proper sequence, and

  3. will be required for the appeals process or to conduct future continuing disability reviews.

Discard material which is not essential to the determination. See DI 20503.001 for instructions on “Essential Claims Folder Material.”

Note: All documents pertaining to drug addiction and alcoholism should be retained while there is any possibility that the recipient will be receiving benefits for substance abuse.

D. Procedure - Retention period

Retain material listed in GN 01085.020 until the paper claim or postentitlement file is destroyed. For information on the SSA NRC IRG and the OCO IRG, see GN 01070.600.