TN 2 (05-10)

DI 27025.010 Personalized Explanation Requirements

A. Basic tests of personalized explanations

Personalized explanations sent to the claimant and or beneficiary must meet two basic tests. They should:

  • be legally sufficient; and

  • not be offensive in any way.

The first test is met by following the instructions contained in this chapter for preparation of personalized explanations. The second test involves what is said and how it is said and is met by avoiding the use of:

  • abbreviations

  • acronyms,

  • jargon,

  • technical terms; and

  • complex medical phrases

The information provided must be:

  • relevant,

  • concise; and

  • meaningful.

The DDS examiner must be sensitive to the claimant and beneficiary's feelings and information in the personalized explanations must not denigrate these feelings and needs in any manner.

NOTE: The personalized explanation is written in the third person when it is to a person filing on behalf of a claimant, or if the claimant has died after filing. Dates may be abbreviated numerically (e.g., 12/14/09), if necessary, to save space.

B. Clarity of personalized explanations

In addition to meeting the two basic tests, it is equally important that the personalized explanation be written as simply and clearly as possible, i.e., understandable to anyone with at least a 6th grade education. Proper use of the English language is also important to avoid conveying an unintended negative message to the claimant and beneficiary.

Poorly written notices can have a significant impact on SSA and impair our ability to serve the public interest

C. Impairments addressed

The personalized explanation should address alleged impairments and other impairments which are discovered during the course of the evaluation provided that the impairments are known by the claimant. Numerous closely related impairments may be grouped by body system.

D. Specific case instructions

For instructions on notice and personalized explanations for specific case situations (e.g., prisoner cases), see the appropriate subchapters in DI 23500.000.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0427025010
DI 27025.010 - Personalized Explanation Requirements - 05/06/2010
Batch run: 05/06/2010
Rev:05/06/2010