TN 2 (08-23)

DI 23515.005 Disability Determination Services (DDS) Receipt, Development, and Evaluation of Non-Citizen Cases


Social Security Act, Sec. 1621(f) (1)
Regulations — 20 CFR Sec. 416.1166a (d) (3)

A. Policy on deeming and medical determination for non-citizen cases

When non-citizens apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), they are deemed with the income and resources of their immigration sponsor(s) and the sponsor’s spouse for a period of 3 years after admission into the U.S., unless they become blind or disabled after admission to the U.S. for permanent residence, or a sponsor-to-alien deeming exception applies.

The DDS makes medical determinations on cases submitted by the field office (FO) when the claimant:

  • Meets 1619(b) eligibility;

  • Elects to change the type of claim category (multi-category case); or

  • Is subject to alien-sponsor deeming.

NOTE: The deeming exception does not apply to most individuals who are admitted into the U.S. under “new” affidavits of support, as described in Sponsor-to-Alien Deeming (1996-1997 Legislation) (see SI 00502.200A.2).

B. Identifying non-citizen and non-citizen age 65 and over cases

1. Electronic claims:

Check eView or the Disability Case Processing System (DCPS) for a special case handling flag (see DI 81010.080B.2).

2. Paper claims

Check the SSA-3367 (Disability Report - Field Office) for the remark “Non-citizen Case - Date of U.S. Admission (date)” or “Title XVI Aged Non-Citizen Case - Blindness/Disability Alleged - Systems Limitation.”

3. Age 65 or over claims

Suppress the NDDSS systems input to the SSI record by using system override Code “C” and send the decision to the FO.

C. Determining onset of blindness or disability for non-citizens

To determine if the medical onset of blindness or disability occurred before or after entry into the U.S.:

  • Request medical evidence of record (MER) from foreign sources only when the source(s) treated the claimant during the 12-month period preceding the application filing date, and a fully favorable determination cannot be made based on evidence from domestic sources (including the medical records in the files of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

  • Send MER requests from foreign sources directly to the source or obtain assistance from the International Disability Unit (IDU).

D. Onset development for sponsor-to-non-citizen deeming claims

1. Onset after U.S. admission for permanent residence

An exact onset date is required when onset is established after admission into the U.S. for permanent residence. Use the medical onset date, rather than the filing date, as the established onset date.

2. Onset before U.S. admission for permanent residence

When the onset is established before admission into the U.S. for permanent residence, and the medical evidence does not pinpoint a precise date, use any date prior to the date of admission.

E. Developing evidence for non-citizens

The IDU assists the DDS to develop MER from foreign sources through the Federal Benefits Units (FBU) in Foreign Service Posts (FSP). When feasible, the DDS should request MER directly from the foreign source to reduce case processing time.

1. When to obtain medical evidence through the IDU

Request medical evidence from foreign sources through the IDU when:

  • The medical source is in a country where the Department of State maintains FSPs, or

  • There is some question about whether conditions will permit the DDS to develop MER through the Department of State or direct contact with the medical source (e.g., when there is political unrest or war).

2. What to request from DHS

Request medical evidence from DHS, including:

  • Form OF-157 (Medical Examination of Visa Applicants) completed by a Department of Homeland Security panel physician in the foreign country consular district where the visa applicant resided, or

  • Form I-486 (Medical Examination and Immigration Interview) completed when a non-citizen applies to DHS for permanent resident and is already in the U.S.

3. How to request medical evidence through DHS

  • Send a letter along with a signed and completed SSA-827 (Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration) to the DHS district office servicing the State where the claimant resides.

  • Send a follow-up letter if you do not receive the requested evidence within 20 calendar days from the initial request.

For model language for letter to DHS, see DI 23515.010C1.

F. Medical and vocational evaluation in non-citizen cases

For medical and vocational evaluation instructions used in assessing disability in individuals age 65 or older, see SSR 03-3p.

For onset instructions if sponsor-to-non-citizen deeming is involved, see DI 23515.005D in this section.

G. Preparing development Assistance Requests (AR) in non-citizen cases

1. Electronic requests

  • Complete an SSA-883 (Request for Evidence of Assistance Disability Case) and electronically transmit it to the IDU;

  • Ensure a signed and completed SSA-827 in the certified electronic folder (CEF), when needed to process the AR.

2. Written requests

Complete an SSA-883 and send to:

Office of Central Operations

Division of International Operations

International Disability Unit

P.O. Box 17787

Baltimore, Maryland 21235-7775
  • Indicate in the body of the SSA-883 what information is needed, and provide a complete mailing address for the foreign source;

  • Attach a signed and completed SSA-827 to the SSA-883 for each foreign MER source.

    NOTE: Foreign sources need the information on the SSA-827 to locate the claimant's medical records.

  • Apply the rules for extending the usual “reasonable effort” timeframe for follow up on requests for evidence from particular sources per DI 22505.035E.5.

  • Document the development worksheet with the follow up efforts (DI 20503.001);

  • Follow up with the IDU prior to 100 days from the date of the initial request for assistance; and

  • Apply SSI provisions for substantial gainful activity and blindness.

3. Paper documentation is associated with the AR:

  • Add a message to the CEF to alert the IDU that paper documentation is associated with the AR;

  • Indicate on the SSA-883 that paper documentation is being sent to the IDU;

  • Mail the paper documentation to the IDU after electronically sending the AR;

Upon receipt, the IDU processes the request, updates the electronic folder and transmits an alert to the initiating office.

H. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is unable to secure records

If DHS is unable to obtain the requested medical evidence, request medical evidence from domestic sources (if applicable), and purchase a consultative examination. Consider making a fully favorable determination, depending on the claimant’s impairment.

I. Disclosure to the Department of Homeland Security

SSA must disclose certain enumeration, identity and location information when requested by the Secretary of DHS or a DHS official, duly authorized by him or her, in accordance with section 290(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The local DHS offices send their requests for information to the DHS, United States Citizen, and Immigration Services District Director in Baltimore, who forwards them to the Office of Central Operation for processing(see GN 03313.095).

J. References

DI 23515.010C, Exhibit 1, Model Language for DDS Letter to DHS

DI 23515.010C, Exhibit 2, Disability Determination Notice – Non Citizens Age 65 and Older

DI 23515.010C, Exhibit 3 Map of DHS Regional and District Areas

DI 23515.010C, Exhibit 4, DHS regional

DI 23515.010C, Exhibit 5, DHS Servicing Offices by State

DI 23515.010C, Exhibit 6, DHS District Offices

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DI 23515.005 - Disability Determination Services (DDS) Receipt, Development, and Evaluation of Non-Citizen Cases - 08/01/2023
Batch run: 08/01/2023