GN DAL03105.110 Securing the Claims Folder When a Hearing Is Filed

See GN 03105.040

A. Operating policy - general

District Offices (DOs) have the primary responsibility for referring a request for a hearing to the hearing office (HO). This responsibility includes initiating any search effort needed to locate the title II and/or title XVI folder(s), forwarding the located folders to the HO, advising the HO of any unsuccessful attempts made to locate the folder(s) .

When a hearing request is filed, strictly follow the search and referral procedures in GN 03103.080 and GN 03105.040. Instructions for reconstructing folders when a hearing is pending follow in the sections below.

See GN 03103.000 for instructions on reconstruction of folders that cannot be located for actions below the hearing level. GN 03105.060 provides instructions on ODAR's reconstruction of cases pending at the Appeals Council level.

If a folder is lost/destroyed after a favorable hearing decision is made but before effectuation, process the case in the same manner as a lost/destroyed favorable reconsideration (GN 03105.020) and partially reconstruct the folder.

B. Operating procedures - contact with the HO

The HO must be notified of all requests for request for hearings that are filed. Timely communication with the hearing office is essential in folder reconstruction situations, as it is in all hearing situations. Communication with the hearing office should begin with the field office receipt of the hearing request. Per GN 03103.080, “When a request for hearing is filed, forwarding the HA-501-U5 and claims folder to the HO expeditiously has the highest priority.”

This POMS reference provides specific instructions for forwarding a copy of the hearing request to the hearing office within five business day of the receipt of the request. If the claims folder is not readily available and is not being sent with the copy of the hearing request, GN 03103.080 also provides instructions for requesting the folder and providing the hearing office with documentation of the FO actions.

If the hearing office does not receive notification of the decision to reconstruct the folder or the requested development, the hearing office will contact a manager in the servicing field office.

When necessary, the hearing office will contact the Office of the Regional Chief Judge for assistance.

C. Folder located in DO

When a request for hearing is filed and the folder(s) for the title(s) under appeal are in the DO, immediately forward the folder(s) to the HO along with the HA-501. It is important in concurrent cases that both the title II and title XVI folders be sent. If there are multiple title II claims involved (e.g., a DWB and an HA claim), ensure that all title II folders are located and sent to the HO.

Update the appropriate system(s) to show folder movement to the HO.

EXCEPTION:

If the FO discovers that informal remand procedures apply, forward the case to the DDS and send a properly annotated pink copy of the HA-501 to the HO.

D. Folder cannot be located in DO

1. Thoroughly search the DO for the folder(s).

  1. If the claims folder (either title II and/or title XVI) cannot be located in the DO, send the HA-501 immediately to the HO with an explanation of what efforts have been made to locate the folder(s). Document all efforts on RPOC, DROC, SSA-5002 or RMKS screen listing queries used in search when trying to late the folder.

  2. Queries the DO should request to learn the location of the folder(s) include PCACS, DDSQ, OHAQ, MDW, QSRL, and SSID. In addition, use the Seattle Region's Automated Folder Location Web Site. Simply enter the claimant's SSN and this system will access a series of systems records in a logical order and provide a list of locations that can be eliminated and a list of locations that are potential leads to the whereabouts of a specific file.

  3. If the folder is reading in another DO, contact that DO and ask that they send the folder to the HO and make appropriate folder movement input (provide them with the HO address and code if needed).

2. Search reveals folder is in a non-DO location.

  1. If query responses indicate the title II folder is in a PSC or