TN 55 (08-96)
DI 12586.005 Identification and Notice -- Stieberger
On 3/08/93, and on several subsequent dates, SSA mailed notices to the potential class members identified by a computer systems run. All individuals who request reopening under the Stieberger settlement agreement, including individuals who request reopening by contacting an FO or OHA office directly, regardless of whether or not they received a notice, i.e., "walk-ins," are "responders" and are to be provided with a written acknowledgement (DI 12586.095, Exhibit 3) of their request for reopening.
NOTE: Any response to the class notice which is ambiguous or unclear is to be construed as a request for reopening.
The central office (CO) provides every responder (including those responding in person at an FO or OHA) with a written acknowledgement that a request for reopening was received.
The acknowledgement states " Stieberger Acknowledgement" with the name, address, and SSN of the responder and the date of the request for reopening.
CO makes every effort to provide written acknowledgement within 30 days of the receipt of the request.
NOTE: A response is deemed to be timely unless the acknowledgement contains a statement that the timeliness of the request is disputed or uncertain; and either (a) the date on which the request was received or (b) a statement to the effect that the request was received on or after a date that is at least 185 days after the date on which SSA sent the pertinent notice. CO sends a copy of any such statements to the Office of the General Counsel (OGC).
2. FO and/or OHA Responders
Where the individual responds by letter, telephone, or in person to the FO or OHA, the FO or OHA office will immediately provide written and dated confirmation that the request for reopening was received.
3. Screening for Timeliness of Response
CO screens for timeliness of reply to the systems generated notice. If a reply is not timely, CO may request the FO to develop for "good cause" and return the material to CO for a good cause determination. Where the individual responds to an FO, by telephone or in person, more than 185 days after the Stieberger notice was generated, the FO includes an SSA-5002 statement regarding the reason(s) for late response and sends it with the response to the Office of Disability and International Operations (ODIO).
4. Undeliverable Notices
Undeliverable notices were returned to CO and, as required by the settlement agreement, SSA secured updated addresses from New York Department of Social Services' records. New notices were mailed to each potential class member for whom an updated address was received. Undeliverables from the second mailing will be given to class counsel so that they can attempt to locate new addresses for another mailing.
The following explains how class members were identified and the stages in the notification process (also, see B.1.).
Potential Stieberger class members were identified in CO by a computer systems run.
Systems generated notices (DI 12586.095, Exhibit 4) were mailed by first class mail, along with the court case reply form (DI 12586.095, Exhibit 5), and postage-prepaid envelope.
Notified individuals were instructed to return the response form to ODIO within 180 days after receiving the notice. Presumed receipt date is 5 days after the date of the notice, unless evidence of later receipt is shown.
For individuals contacting the FO about class membership, the FO forwards identifying information to ODIO (see D.2.b.). If contact is more than 185 days after the date of the notice, the FO includes a statement regarding the reasons for late response (see B.3.). All walk-ins are given proof of response.
CO issues acknowledgements and determines timeliness of reply.
ODIO processes undeliverable notices.
Accept responses if the individuals replied by:
returning the court case reply form (DI 12586.095 Exhibit 5) in the self-addressed postage-prepaid envelope to ODIO;
contacting any SSA field office or hearing office, in person, in writing or by telephone; or
contacting the Appeals Council in writing or by telephone.
If an individual brings a Stieberger reply form to an FO, accept the reply form, provide written acknowledgement of receipt of request, and forward the reply form to the ODIO (see 2. below).
2. FO Contact
If the claimant contacts the FO, take the following steps:
If the claimant has the court case reply form (see Exhibit 5, DI 12586.095), provide assistance in completing the reply form, if needed. Have him or her complete it and return it to ODIO in the self-addressed, postage-prepaid envelope (see address in b., below). Advise the claimant to keep a record of the date of response. If the contact is in person, give the responder a photocopy of the signed response form.
NOTE: Claimants should hold any potentially important documents (e.g., medical evidence, etc.) until their case is called up for review. Attach any SSA 1696-U4 and forward it with the reply form to ODIO (see b.).
If the reply form was lost or the claimant was never notified, complete a “Request for Court Case Review/Change of Address Worksheet” (see Exhibit 6, DI 12586.095). Verify the SSNs and/or claim number(s) via numident, MBR, and/or SSR. Also, verify any current entitlement. Send the information to:ODIO - Class Action Section
Attn: Stieberger Workgroup
P.O. Box 17369
Baltimore, MD 21298-0050
To acknowledge the individual's request for review, provide the claimant with a dated copy of the worksheet. If the contact is more than 185 days after the notice was generated, include an SSA-5002 listing the reasons for the late response.
3. Status Inquiry
Take the following steps if an individual inquires about the status of his/ her Stieberger review.
Prepare an SSA-5002 (Report of Contact) containing the remark “Stieberger Status Request” and also include the claimant's:
date of birth,
If the green folder (see DI 12586.010A.2.) is in the FO, associate the inquiry with the folder and send a status notice to the inquirer.
If the green folder is not in the FO, obtain a DDSQ and, if the folder is in the New York DDS (the DDSQ will show a “LIT” code of “889” for Stieberger ), phone the DDS for status and send a status notice to the inquirer. (If the folder is in a DDS other than New York, follow regular procedures for handling inquiries.)
If the green folder is not in either the FO or the DDS:
Obtain a CATS query using local procedures. Direct all questions to the Disability Programs Branch in the regional office.
NOTE: NY Region FOs Only - Refer to POS 93-95, dated 7/30/ 93.
Prepare and release a status notice to the inquirer based on the information provided by the regional office.
Forward the inquiry and a copy of the response to the green folder's location. If the case has not yet been alerted, send the material to:SSA, ODIO, Class Action Section
ATTN: Stieberger Coordinator
P.O. Box 17369
Baltimore, MD 21298-0050.
4. Completed Folders
Please do not forward completed folders to The Class Action Section (CAS) located in Baltimore, Maryland. Upon completion of a case, the folder should be forwarded to the appropriate storage facility (PSC, WBDOC, ODO). CAS does not house completed folders.