TN 4 (09-14)
GN 03105.040 Locating and Reconstructing Paper Claims Folders for Hearings
A. Field Office (FO) procedure for locating claims folders
When a claimant files an HA-501 (Request for Hearing), the FO generally forwards the hearing request and claims folder to the hearing office (HO). However, if the claims folder is not in the FO, follow instructions in GN 03105.020 to locate the folder. Based on the folder’s location, follow the appropriate instructions in GN 03103.080.
If unable to locate the folder, notify the HO that the folder is missing. If the administrative law judge (ALJ) requires a reconstructed claims folder to make a determination, the HO submits a reconstruction request either directly to the FO or through the regional office (RO), depending on procedures established in each region.
For information on when an ALJ may not need a prior claims folder, see HALLEX I-2-1-13.
B. FO procedure for reconstructing claims folders
Upon receipt of an ALJ reconstruction request:
reconstruct the folder following instructions in GN 03105.010;
notify the HO of your anticipated reconstruction completion date;
complete the reconstruction of a non-disability folder or the nonmedical portion of a disability folder within 15 business days. Expedited action is necessary to avoid a further delay in the appeal process;
telephone the RO and HO with status if you do not complete development within 15 business days; and
document search actions on the Folder Retrieval Checklist located in GN 03105.070.
For information on the paper modular disability folder, see DI 70005.005 and DI 70010.001.