TN 18 (02-02)

DI 39524.001 DDS Travel


Regulations - 20 CFR 404.1626 and 416.1026

A. Policy

SSA will give the State funds for necessary costs in making disability determinations.

The cost of administrative travel is considered a proper charge to the SSA disability program funds provided it is carried out in accordance with the instructions in this subchapter and provided it is carried out in accordance with State law, regulation, and administrative procedure.

Proper Charges include:

  • per diem or subsistence in lieu of per diem, and

  • registration fees for meetings/conferences (if the State practice is to pay these fees).

B. Definitions

1. DDS travel costs

DDS travel costs include in-State and out-of-State travel of State agency personnel in the execution of the SSA disability determination function.

2. DDS travel period

The period of time between departure from the employee's official station until return to that station (or to/from residence, if appropriate) for the purpose of conducting SSA disability determination functions.

C. Process - approval

1. Travel not requiring prior SSA approval

Specific prior SSA approval is not required when travel is directly related to SSA disability programs and the costs are consistent with authorized funding limitations. Examples of travel not requiring prior SSA approval follows.

a. Case development travel

Travel performed to develop evidence necessary to make SSA disability determinations.

b. Supervisory or administrative travel

Travel by Supervisory or administrative personnel to:

  • attend parent agency meetings of State officials and supervisors to discuss administrative matters

  • attend other agencies for planning and liaison visits

  • conduct disability program related studies.

c. Travel for disability program meetings, functions or training

Travel to attend:

  • disability program meetings or other SSA disability program functions

  • orientation meetings (by new disability staff members)

  • professional or program related training

  • DDS sponsored training activities in disability adjudication and related areas

  • briefings for invited lecturers on DDS requirements and methods (for personnel responsible for training).

d. Travel for management of the consultative examination (CE) process

Management of the CE process which includes travel to:

  • orient and train new CE providers

  • conduct onsite reviews of key CE providers.

e. Professional and medical relation travel

Includes travel by review physicians or other DDS personnel responsible for professional relations activities:

  • to explain DDS evidentiary requirements at medical society meetings or medical conventions

  • to recruit medical panel members

  • to explain program needs at medical facilities.

f. Meetings convened by SSA

Travel to meetings convened by SSA central office or the regional offices for the proper administration of the disability program.

g. DDS management forum

This includes travel to attend:

  • Forum sponsored seminars

  • Planning sessions for the Forum.

h. State Agency Systems Users Services (SASUS)

This includes travel to attend:

  • SSA and vendor sponsored annual SASUS conference

  • SSA and vendor sponsored planning sessions.

2. Travel requiring prior SSA approval

All travel not outlined in DI 39524.001C.1. requires prior SSA approval. Examples of travel requiring prior SSA approval include the following:

  • Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) meetings

  • National Association of Disability Examiners (NADE) meetings

  • Medical society meetings or medical conventions at which no official DDS activity will occur

  • Physician's relicensure.

3. Obtaining approval

The State agency should obtain approval and include estimated costs in the annual and/or quarterly spending plan request. See PM 00203.000 for instructions on preparing the spending plan request.

If the travel was not approved as part of the annual and/or quarterly spending plan process, specific prior SSA written approval must be obtained before the trip is authorized by agency officials.

Whenever advance written approval is required, the DDS will provide the regional office (RO) with the following documentation:

  • location of the conference, meeting, training, etc.,

  • name of the sponsoring agency,

  • number and job titles of the DDS staff to attend,

  • documentation on subject matter relevance in terms of contributions/effectiveness for disability staff, and

  • estimated travel costs.

NOTE: Substitutions may be made in the staff designated to attend such meetings provided the positions of the staff members are similar.

D. Procedure - planning and reporting travel costs

1. Planning

Complete a separate line item for travel costs in the DDS annual and quarterly spending plan submissions. Include employee travel expenses associated with training. Explain the specific travel plans and include appropriate justification.

2. Prorating shared costs

Travel costs for a DDS employee--who performs duties in both the regular program of the parent agency and the SSA disability insurance program--will be charged in accordance with one of the methods described below.

NOTE: Assess costs when the travel is completed. If the DDS uses the indirect cost method for payment of services provided by the parent agency, this prorating system is not pertinent.

a. Case-related travel

Prorate costs in accordance with the division of direct personal services time recorded during the trip.

Example: Employee leaves official station at 9:00 a.m. and returns at 12:00 noon. Total travel cost was $6. On this trip, the employee spends 30 minutes direct time on the SSA disability insurance program and 60 minutes direct time for work on the parent agency program. The DDS should charge one-third of the total--or $2--to the disability insurance program.

b. Non case-related travel

Evaluate whether the cost is program determinable and charge time accordingly.

· Time Devoted to Each Program Determinable

Charge the costs according to the division of direct personal services time recorded during the trip.

Example: The DDS administrator substitutes for the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) director at a national meeting of State VR directors which lasts 3 days. The next 2 days he/she attends a meeting of the Committee on Social Security Relationships of the CSAVR. A proportion of the cost of this trip (two-fifths) may be charged to the disability program based upon the proportion of total time spent at the committee meeting.

· Time Devoted to Each Program Not Determinable

Charge the costs in the same proportion as salary is charged to both programs for the fiscal year in which the travel is performed.

Example: The chief medical consultant of a DDS--whose salary is charged 60 percent to the parent agency program and 40 percent to the DDS--attends a State medical society meeting as a representative of both programs.

A proportion of the costs of this trip (two-fifths) may be charged to the DDS based on the percentage of salary charged to the disability program.

3. Reporting

Report travel related expenses to SSA on the Monthly Obligations Report (MOR) and quarterly Form SSA-4513 (State Agency Report of Obligations for SSA Disability Programs). Refer to DI 39506.000 (DDS Financial Management) for reporting responsibility and instructions.

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DI 39524.001 - DDS Travel - 08/22/2012
Batch run: 04/01/2013