DI 52715.015 Field Office (FO) Responsibilities
It is the FO responsibility to obtain the prior file or, if the file is unavailable, a copy of the administrative law judge (ALJ) or Appeals Council (AC) decision any time the Albright AR applies in adjudicating a subsequent claim.
1. Prior claim activities
See DI 11005.085 for guidance on prior claims activities. (Per DI 11005.085B.3.a. FOs should provide the disability determination services (DDS) with prior files located in any FO location.)
2. Initial disability interview/development
In addition to the usual development, take the following actions:
Ask the claimant about any prior disability claims and the last adjudicative level at which each claim was decided.
Obtain an Office of Hearings and Appeals query (OHAQ) to verify the last adjudicative level at which each prior claim was decided and the status of the claim. The OHAQ does not include decisions made before 1982. Include a copy of the OHAQ in the file to the DDS. The OHAQ codes for disability cases are as follows:
DIWC = TII Disabled wage earner/child
DIWW = TII Disabled Widow(er)
SSIB = TXVI Blind
SSID = TXVI Disabled
SSBC = TII/XVI Concurrent Blind
SSDC = TII/XVI Concurrent Disabled
Obtain a copy of the prior ALJ or AC decision and include it with your DDS material to DDS. If the claimant or his/her attorney cannot provide a copy of the decision, document this in Remarks of the SSA-3367.
Whenever there is a prior ALJ or AC decision, the FO will request the prior folder from any location. Enter the date you requested the folder in section 7 of the SSA-3367. Send your case to the DDS. Notify the DDS within 30 days of the results of your folder request.
Notify the DDS within 30 days if the folder is not received, is lost, or has been destroyed.
If the AC takes an unfavorable action on a claimant"s request for review, the claim file is retained in ODAR Headquarters for 5 months pending potential filing of a civil action. In such instances, obtain a copy of the ALJ or AC decision and forward it to the DDS.