TN 8 (10-02)
RS 02803.120 Emergency Situations Requiring Telephone Processing or Electronic mail contact (E-mail)
Only a member of the FO management or designated staff may personally request assistance via telephone contact or electronic mail (e-mail) with the processing center. It is the responsibility of this staff to assure that the telephone inquiries or e-mails cannot be better handled through normal procedures and that the inquiries either meet the critical case definition and are of an emergency nature or are otherwise supersensitive. Telephone calls or e-mails which are clearly outside the emergency critical/supersensitive case area are time-consuming and delay processing of the truly critical cases. See DOORS for the special telephone numbers which have been set up in each processing center to receive emergency critical/supersensitive telephone calls.
The following situations are examples of when a telephone call or e-mail may be appropriate:
A beneficiary has returned to work but his benefit payments are still being issued each month. Direct input has not been successful in stopping the payments. The beneficiary becomes irate about having to return the checks each month and threatens to contact the media about the problem.
A beneficiary has not received an award notice which is needed to determine the amount of or eligibility for a private pension or some other payment. Prior contacts with the processing center via other methods have failed to produce any results.
A claimant for a lump-sum death benefit has not received payment. Regular procedures have failed to produce a payment and the claimant is upset and in constant contact with the FO.
Survivor benefits have been suspended (S9 status on the MBR) pending RRB determination of jurisdiction. The beneficiary seeks assistance from the FO. Although SSA cannot issue a payment (except as noted in RS 01602.606), the FO should ask the PC to call the RRB and request that the determination be expedited. (See RS 02803.145A.3.)
Prepare a summary of each telephone call, including an explanation of the emergency situation which prompted the call, for the critical case file. (If a critical case referral was previously sent to the PC, interfile the summary of the call with the other critical case material to prevent duplicate referrals.) If using e-mail, retain a copy of the sent message electronically on the computer or in paper.
Forward a copy of the e-mail or telephone summary marked CONFIRMATION to the appropriate processing center. The confirmation copy of the telephone request must be signed by the individual who made the call. Send an informational copy to the Office of the Assistant Regional Commissioner. Annotate the case as RIB or DIB, on the informational copy.
B. CANCELLATION OF A CRITICAL CASE TELEPHONE REQUEST
Notify the processing center by telephone or e-mail of the cancellation request (See DOORS for PC telephone numbers).