DI DAL20505.010 Locating/Obtaining Prior Folders

A. Operating Policy - General

Three POMS sections establish component responsibilities for locating/obtaining prior folders:

  • DI 20505.015 deals with obtaining prior folders needed for current initial and reconsideration claims;

  • DI 13015.000 deals with obtaining comparison point decision (CPD) folders needed for current continuing disability reviews (CDRs); and

  • GN DAL03105.110 deals with obtaining folders needed for Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) claims.

The following table summarizes component responsibilities:




Title II or XVI prior folder needed for current initial or reconsideration claim - DDS development already in progress


DI 20505.015

Title XVI CPD folder needed to initiate CDR


DI 13015.030

Title II CPD folder needed to initiate CDR


DI 13015.030

Title II or XVI denial folder needed for current ODAR hearing


GN DAL03105.110

1. Prior Folder Needed for Current Initial or Reconsideration Claim

DI 20505.015

The FO must determine if an individual filing an initial claim has previously filed for any type of SSA benefit. The FO must also provide documentation of prior claims activity (or the lack thereof), and attach the prior folder if it is housed in the same FO. If the prior folder is housed in another FO, the FO must request that the folder be shipped to DDS, and must notify DDS in case the prior folder arrives before the current folder.

If the prior folder is housed in any other location than an FO, the DDS must determine if the prior folder is needed. If so, the DDS must request it. Detailed DDS procedures for locating and requesting prior folders can be found in DI 20505.015 and SM 01201.205 - SM 01201.235.

2. CPD Folder Needed for Current CDR

DI 13015.000

The FO is responsible for locating/obtaining the title XVI CPD medical folder, and the Processing Center (PC) is responsible for obtaining the title II CPD medical folder.

If the CPD folder (title II or XVI) is not located, and the DDS determines the beneficiary/recipient is not disabled currently, the DDS will return the file to the FO to prepare a replacement folder under the full reconstruction process (DI 13015.090).

B. Operating Procedures

Component Responsibilities

If a current claims folder becomes lost in transit from one component to another, the receiving component must search for the folder using its internal guidelines. For example, if a folder becomes lost en route from DDS to DQB, DQB must search for the folder using DQB guidelines. Exception: if a folder needed for an ODAR hearing becomes lost, either before or after the hearing, FOs must conduct a search following the procedures in GN 03105.000.

DDSs should use folder location instructions in DI 20505.015.

C. Guidelines for Locating Folders

Many systems queries can provide clues as to a folder's whereabouts. Users are encouraged to use the Office of Quality Assurance (OQA) Query Master whenever possible for assistance in interpreting codes. Below is a list of suggested queries to review when attempting to locate a folder:

1. Title II Queries

  1. a. 

    AACT - The first entry on the ACCOUNT line is the PCOC (Program Service Center Office Code) field. The numeric entry in this field indicates the Program Service Center (PSC) with jurisdiction of the folder (e.g., PCOC-6 is Mid-America PSC). To retrieve a folder from a PSC, follow the instructions under PCACS (below).

  2. b. 

    PCACS (Processing Center Action Control System)

    To locate a title II folder:

    1. 1. 

      Log on to NS Elite.

    2. 2. 

      On the “SSA Menu” screen, type 26. ENTER.

    3. 3. 

      On the “PCACS Main Menu” screen, type 01 and the SSN of the claimant (or number holder). ENTER.

    4. 4. 

      On the “Standard Query” screen, look at the SSNX field. Each folder has a 5-digit SSNX code. The following table interprets common SSNX codes:

      Last 2 digits of SSNX code

      Folder type






      DAC (or CDB)

      The third digit of the SSNX code indicates the number of the folder or the order in which it was established. For example, 70111 is the first (oldest) DIB folder; 70212 is the second DWB folder, etc.

      Type X next to the folder you would like to locate. ENTER.

    5. 5. 

      The “Folder Query” screen provides detailed information on the location of the folder.

*NOTE: OQA Query Master now interprets PCACS. A helpful online guide can also be found on the SSA Intranet at the PSC / FO Communication Guide.

2. Title XVI Queries (SM 01201.100)

SSID or SSI2 - The CCTL line contains four fields that reflect folder locations:

  1. a. 

    CFL (Current Folder Location) - a 3- or 4-digit office code.

  2. b. 

    MV (Movement) - the date the current folder was sent or received.

    • A date followed by “R” means that the location in the CFL field has received the folder.

    • A date followed by “C” means that the folder was cleared to the location in the CFL field, but that location has not yet received it.

    • A date of 00/00/00 means the National Records Center (NRC) is processing a request for the folder under the AR 33 process.

  3. c. 

    PFL (Prior Folder Location) - a 3- or 4-digit office code for the prior SSI folder.

  4. d. 

    FRC (Federal Records Center) - a 3-digit code beginning with “L.”

    • L47 - folder destroyed

    • L50, L51 - NRC unable to locate folder

    • Lnn - Any NRC/FRC holding the file (nn = year of accession), e.g., L86, L02, etc.

3. Other Queries to Review

a. MDW (Modernized Development Worksheet)

Screens in this query often contain narrative descriptions of actions that have been taken on the record, all of which can give clues as to the folder's whereabouts. Not all claims have MDWs, however.

To access the MDW:

  • Log on to NS Elite.

  • On the “SSA Menu” screen, type 24. ENTER.

  • On the “Modernized Development Menu,” type 3 and 1 . ENTER.

  • Advance through subsequent screens using ENTER.

b. QRSL (Inquiry Response)

This query consolidates information from a number of other queries and displays it in a user-friendly format.

To access the QRSL:

  • Log on to NS Elite.

  • On the “SSA Menu” screen, type 09. ENTER.

  • On the “Master File Query Menu,” type 17 then type the claimant's SSN. ENTER.

  • On the “Query Response Selection List,” look for the claimant's name in the beneficiary list in the lower half of the screen. Type H in the block next to the claimant's name. ENTER.

  • On the “General Query” screen, type 1 in the “Select Subject Queries” field at the bottom of the screen. ENTER.

  • Advance through subsequent screens using ENTER.

c. FO Locator

Use the Detailed Office Organization Resource System (DOORS) to translate 3-digit office codes into component/office locations.

To access DOORS, go to the Detailed Office/Organization Resource System (DOORS)

D. Guidelines for Obtaining Folders

1. Title II or Title XVI - Field Office, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, or Appeals Council Location

Take the following actions depending on the location of the folder:

  1. a. 

    FO - Telephone the FO and request the prior folder be sent to the DDS.

  2. b. 

    ODAR - Telephone the ODAR site and request copies of pertinent materials be sent to DDS. ODAR will not release folders with pending hearings or decisions.

  3. c. 

    Appeals Council (AC) - Telephone the Docket and Files Branch of the AC at (703) 605-7990 and determine the location of the folder. If the folder can be released, request the entire file. If the folder cannot be released, request that photocopies of the necessary medical evidence be made and sent to you.

2. Title II - PSC Location

To request a title II folder from a PSC using PCACS:

  1. a. 

    Log on to NS Elite.

  2. b. 

    On the “SSA Menu” screen, type 26. ENTER.

  3. c. 

    On the “PCACS Main Menu” screen, type 16 and the SSN of the claimant (or number holder). ENTER.

  4. d. 

    On the “Diary Request Menu” screen, type 1 (“Establish”) and 3 (“Folder Request”). ENTER.

  5. e. 

    On the “Folder Request” screen, type the reason you need the folder in the “Justification” field (e.g., “Prior folder needed to adjudicate current claim”). Type X next to the file you wish to request. ENTER.

  6. f. 

    Diary the case for 28 days. See DI 20505.015A.3, step c for instructions on following up PCACS requests.

3. Title XVI - FRC Location

On the SSID or SSI2 query, examine both the CFL and FRC fields. The CFL field displays the location of the current folder. For FO, ODAR, and AC locations, follow the instructions in section DI 20505.010D.1. An FRC field means that there is a folder in the NRC or in one of the FRCs.

  1. a. 

    If there is an FRC field on the query, and the code is not L47 (destroyed) or L50/L51 (lost), use the automated recall process (SSA-8028 AR 33) to request the folder. Instructions for the use of the SSA-8028 AR 33 can be found in SM 01201.055 and SM 01201.205 - SM 01201.210.

  2. b. 

    To request a title XVI folder using the SSA-8028 AR 33:

    • Log on to NS Elite.

    • On the “SSA Main Menu,” type 15 (“SSI Data Inputs”). ENTER.

    • On the Title XVI Menu, type 12 (“8028--SSI Control System Input”). ENTER.

    • The “SSI Control System Input” contains numerous rows in which folder request data can be input. Use one row for each folder request. Each row contains six fields: TA, AH, AR, MV, AN, and DC. Complete these fields as follows:


      Type A.


      Type the first 5 letters of the claimant's last name, followed by a comma, followed by the claimant's first initial. For example, if the claimant's name is John Williams, type WILLI,J.


      Type 33.


      Input the month, day, and year of your request, using the format MMDDYY. For example, if you are requesting a folder on December 11, 2002, type 121102 .


      Type the claimant's SSN, omitting dashes and spaces. For example, if the claimant's SSN is 123-00-6789, type 123456789.


      Leave this field blank.

      • When you have entered values in these fields, ENTER.

      If the folder has not been received within 30 days, obtain a new SSID or SSI2.

4. Administrative Message Request for SSI Folder

An SSI folder should be requested from the NRC by Administrative Message only in rare instances when an automated AR 33 request is not possible. For example, a spouse's folder is not always retrievable via AR 33. Always start with an AR 33; however, if the system cannot reach the spouse's folder or a message is received to that effect, then a request by Administrative Message will be needed.

To make a request via Administrative Message:

  • Log on to NS Elite.

  • Type 16 on the “SSA Main Menu Screen” (“Administrative Applications”). ENTER.

  • Type 15 on the “Administrative Applications Menu” (“ADMS”). ENTER.

  • Complete the “Administrative Message” screen according to guidelines in SM 01201.215.

5. Folder Not Received

If the folder has not been received within 60 days, obtain a new SSID or SSI2.

  • If code L50 or L51 has been posted, this means that the NRC was unable to locate the folder. The system should have generated an “UNABLE TO LOCATE” message. Codes L50 and L51 indicate that the folder may be lost.

  • Determine whether the matter under consideration can be processed without the folder. If not, attempt to locate the folder using prior folder location information shown on queries.

6. Title XVI - Folder Destroyed

If the CFL field shows code L47 and the FRC field is blank or shows L47, the folder has been destroyed. Document the current folder that the prior folder is unavailable.

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
DI DAL20505.010 - Locating/Obtaining Prior Folders - 06/08/2012
Batch run: 06/06/2023