DI 52530.005 Identification, Notification and Response
The policy for identifying and notifying potential Grant class members and handling responses is explained in this section.
To the extent possible, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will, by means of its data processing systems, identify those individuals who are potential Grant class members.
SSA will mail individual potential class membership notices (see
DI 52530.095A., Exhibit 1) along with a reply form (see DI 52530.095B., Exhibit 2) and a pre-addressed, postage-paid return envelope.
NOTE: An individual who does not receive the potential class member notice but becomes aware of the Grant case and believes that he or she is eligible for relief, may request a review of his or her Grant claim(s) by contacting any SSA office within 90 days (plus 5 days for presumptive receipt) after the date that SSA mails the most recent notices to the system-identified potential class members.
Individuals who receive the potential class member notice (see DI 52530.095A. Exhibit 1) must reply within 90 days after receipt of the notice (or of the date of mailing of the second copy of the notice) by either:
Returning the reply form in the pre-addressed, postage-paid envelope (see DI 52530.095B., Exhibit 2) to the: Office of Central Operations
Class Action Section
Attention: Grant Coordinator
P.O. Box 32909
Baltimore, MD 21241-2909; or
Contacting any social security office in person, by telephone or in writing.
NOTE: SSA presumes receipt of the notice within 5 days after the date of the notice. If receipt is shown to be actually later, the 90-day limit runs from the later date.
If the individual does not respond timely, his or her class claim(s) will not be reviewed unless the individual provides SSA evidence of “good cause” for an untimely response (See DI 52530.010C.).
The Office of Central Operations (OCO), the field offices (FOs) and the 800 number answering sites will enter response and change of address information into the Civil Action Tracking System (CATS). OCO will enter returned reply forms, including change of address information, into CATS when the self-addressed return envelope is used. FOs and the 800 number answering sites will enter response and change of address information into CATS that is received in the FO or the 800 number answering sites. CATS generates court case folder alerts (DI 52530.095C., Exhibit 3) to OCO. The alerts will be used to locate and retrieve Grant claim files.
4. Undeliverable notices
Undeliverable potential class member notices will be returned to OCO to update CATS. (See DI 52530.005B.7. for the address.) After the undeliverable notices are scanned in, CATS will produce a list of names and last known addresses of individuals whose notices were returned as undeliverable. The list will be provided to Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and to the Office of Hearings Operations. OGC will provide class counsel a copy of the list. Class counsel will have 180 days after receipt of such names to furnish current addresses for such individuals. Upon timely receipt of such addresses from class counsel, SSA will mail a second copy of the potential class member notice to those claimants potentially eligible for relief. These individuals will have 90 days (plus 5 days for presumptive receipt) after mailing of the second notice to request relief.
5. Alert/Query package
OCO associates the alert/query package with the reply form and forwards it to the appropriate component for folder retrieval (i.e., National Records Center (SSANRC), field offices (FOs), program service centers (PSCs), etc.) The alert/query package includes a FACT, SSIRD, AR-25, OHAQ, SEQY, and a SSA-831/SSA-832/SSA-833 query. A full PCACS query can be obtained on the NS Elite for the most current folder location.
6. Folder retrieval
The following identifies which component is responsible for folder retrieval after an individual requests review:
OCO will be responsible for retrieving OCO jurisdiction title II only and concurrent title II/title XVI claims covered by the Grant timeframes as well as subsequent claims except for those pending in OHO. OCO will forward all other alert/query packages to the appropriate component for folder retrieval.
The PSCs will be responsible for retrieving PSC jurisdiction title II only and concurrent title II/title XVI claims covered by the Grant timeframes as well as subsequent claims except for those pending in OHO. (See DI 52530.015C. for OCO and PSC folder retrieval procedures.)
c. SSANRC and FOs
The SSANRC and the FOs will be responsible for retrieving all title XVI claims except for those pending in OHO.
d. For all components
All efforts to locate and retrieve a folder(s) will be documented on a Court Case Folder Retrieval Worksheet (See DI 52530.095D., Exhibit 4)
NOTE: In instances in which OCO, the PSCs, an FO or the SSANRC receives a Grant alert and an action is pending on a subsequent claim, the subsequent claim will be processed separately.
7. Folders located
When folders are located, OCO, the PSCs, the FO or the SSANRC will:
Place the alert/query package and the Court Case Folder Retrieval Worksheet (DI 52530.095D., Exhibit 4) in a manila folder;
Attach it along with the Grant folder flag (DI 52530.095C., Exhibit 3) to the front cover of the folder(s);
Prong file the reply form on the right side of the folder and forward the folder(s) to OARO for screening to: Office of Disability Adjudication and Review
Office of Appellate Operations
Attn: OARO Class Action Coordinator
5107 Leesburg Pike, Room 701
Falls Church, VA 22041-3200
Screening for the timeliness of the reply form, class membership and entitlement to relief is conducted as follows:
OCO, through CATS, screens for the timeliness of the reply form. A reply form is considered untimely if it is not mailed back to SSA within 90 days after the claimant receives the most recently mailed potential class member notice. SSA presumes receipt within 5 days after the date of the notice. If receipt is shown to be actually later, the 90-day time limit runs from the later date.
NOTE: SSA will release an emergency message when the first potential class member notices are mailed.
If the reply form is not timely returned to SSA, the FO develops “good cause” for the late response (see DI 52530.010C.)
OHO screens the claim(s) for class membership eligibility. If OHO determines that an individual is not a class member eligible for relief under the Grant settlement agreement, OHO will send a not eligible for relief notice (see DI 52530.095F., Exhibit 6) to the claimant, any representative, and a copy to class counsel.
The notice will specify the reason(s) for SSA's decision not to review the prior denial(s) and will tell the individual that he or she should contact the Office of the General Counsel if he or she wishes to contest the decision. The notice will specify the timeframes in which the decision must be contested. (See DI 52530.005B.9. for handling class membership disputes.) If the individual is a class member, OHO will proceed with the redetermination.
OHO will hold the nonclass member folder(s) for 90 days. After 90 days, if the not entitled to relief notice has not been disputed by the individual, OHO will return the folders to the appropriate component for filing.
9. Class membership disputes
The following constitutes the method of challenging the not entitled to relief notice:
If the individual disagrees with the not eligible for relief notice, he or she must contact the Office of the General Counsel at the following address within 60 days of receiving the notice: Social Security Administration
Office of the General Counsel
Attn: Grant Attorney
Room 617, Altmeyer Building
6401 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21235
Fax (410) 597-0528
Failure by the individual to notify OGC within 60 days of receiving the notice, makes the nonclass membership determination final and not subject to further review absent a showing of good cause.
The individual may request inspection of the claim file, and data or documents relied upon by SSA in making a decision as to whether or not an individual is a Grant class member entitled to relief. All requests to inspect SSA records must be in writing.
The individual will have 60 days to review the claim file and/or related documents after SSA notifies him or her that the claim file and/or related documents are available for inspection. The claim file and/or related documentation will be available for review at the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Office of Hearings Operations.
The parties will negotiate in good faith to resolve any disputes as to whether the person who has requested review is entitled to a new hearing under the settlement agreement.
If the parties are unable to resolve any dispute, SSA will send the individual a written confirmation of the decision that the person is not entitled to a new hearing.
If the issue is not resolved, the individual, by motion, within 60 days after written confirmation, may submit the unresolved matter to the court for resolution.
If the issue is resolved and the claimant is determined to be a class member, OHO will proceed with a new hearing.