TN 9 (09-18)

DI 20503.003 Duplicate Evidence

In this section, we define and discuss duplicate, non-duplicate, and composite evidence. For a complete definition of evidence, refer to DI 22505.001.

A. Policy for Duplicate, Non-Duplicate and Composite Evidence

We determine whether the submitted material is duplicate evidence, non-duplicate evidence, or composite evidence comparing it to the evidence in the record. Duplicate evidence is non-essential material for purposes of disability determination or continuing disability reviews. However, non-duplicate evidence may be essential or non-essential, depending on various factors.

NOTE: Disability Determination Services (DDS) staff can refer to DI 20503.001 Documenting the Disability Folder for the definitions and procedures on how to handle essential and nonessential material.

B. Duplicate Evidence - Definition and Examples

1. Definition of duplicate evidence

Duplicate evidence is any material that is submitted by the same medical or non-medical source and is an exact copy of evidence already in the record.

By exact copy, we mean an accurate reproduction of the original evidence by a mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other equivalent process or technique that does not result in substantive differences due to reproduction, pagination, or transmission (e.g., page number, electronically placed headers, and format).

2. Definition of non-duplicate evidence

Evidence is non-duplicate when it is:

  • Similar in substance, but not an exact copy;

  • Distinct in substance and format from other evidence in the record; or

  • Submitted by a different medical or non-medical source.

NOTE: When one source submits an exact copy of evidence from another source that is already in the record, the evidence is non-duplicate evidence.

3. Definition of composite evidence

When we receive combined duplicate and non-duplicate evidence together in the same submission (e.g., when a medical source submits exact copies of records that the source previously submitted and includes new records from a subsequent visit), we refer to this evidence as “composite” evidence. The new records from the subsequent visit are non-duplicate evidence, but the exact copies of records that were previously submitted are duplicate evidence.

NOTE: When possible, we will retain only the non-duplicate evidence. If it is not possible to separate the duplicate evidence from the non-duplicate evidence, we retain the submission in its entirety.

4. Examples of duplicate include:

  • An exact copy of evidence previously submitted by a source that is submitted again by the same source, but has different pagination or fax information, such as a cover or transmittal page.

  • An exact copy of evidence previously submitted by the same medical source, with new, but non-substantive marks, such as stains, blots, holes or tears.

  • An exact copy of clinical or laboratory test results or radiology reports (e.g., blood tests or x-rays) previously submitted by the same medical source, resubmitted with new, more recent treatment notes. In this example, the laboratory test results or radiology reports would be duplicate evidence, but the new treatment notes would be non-duplicate evidence.

  • An exact copy of evidence by the same source previously received through an electronic health exchange, but the subsequent submission has different pagination, formatting, or headers for routing.

5. Examples of non-duplicate evidence include:

  • Sets of laboratory test results marked, for example, as “initial” and “final” or “final—verified.”

  • An exact copy of medical records (e.g., blood tests, x-rays, physical examinations) submitted by different medical sources, clinics, facilities, or centers.

  • An exact copy of previously submitted evidence, but with the addition of a handwritten treatment note.

  • Evidence resubmitted by a different source with a cover page (e.g., by an appointed representative to list evidence, make disclosures pursuant to 20 CFR 404 1740(b)(5) and 20 CFR 416 1540(b)(5), or provide updates or clarifications to previously-submitted evidence or information).

NOTE: Field Office technicians will continue to accept submitted evidence and store it in the Disability Folder for further review and determination.

C. References

  • GN 00301.010 What is Evidence

  • GN 00301.030 Acceptability of Documentary Evidence

  • DI 20502.001 General - Folder Content/Review

  • DI 20503.001 Documenting the Disability Folder – Disability Determination Services (DDS).

  • DI 22001.001 Sequential Evaluation of Title II and Title XVI Adult Disability Claims

  • DI 22505.001 Medical and Nonmedical Evidence

  • DI 23060.010 Excluded Medical Sources of Evidence - Introduction and Definitions

  • DI 24503.001 Evaluating Evidence - Basic Policy

  • DI 25205.005 Evidence of a Medically Determinable Impairment

  • DI 70005.005 Overview of the Paper Modular Disability Folder (MDF)


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
DI 20503.003 - Duplicate Evidence - 09/19/2018
Batch run: 05/09/2019