DI 81020.100 Electronic Assistance Requests (AR)
A. General - ARs in Disability Determination Services (DDS)
ARs allow one component to contact another for assistance, while still retaining full jurisdiction of the Certified Electronic Folder (CEF). Any office processing CEFs or paper cases with an Electronic Folder Interface (EFI) download, including DDS, Office of Disability and Review (ODAR) and Office of Quality Review (OQR), can initiate or receive an AR.
NOTE: Field Offices (FO) may receive but cannot initiate AR.
Only offices with jurisdiction of the CEF or a paper case with an EFI download may initiate an electronic AR. Once an office accepts an AR, the receiving office has Limited Access Control (LAC) of the case which provides the ability to:
Categorize imaged documents; and
Add, delete, and modify bookmarks and annotations (see Annotations, Bookmarks, and Categories (ABCs) – DI 81020.095).
Follow current procedures to notify offices when assistance is needed on paper folder cases.
B. Processing an Electronic AR
The DDS processes an electronic AR (e.g., initiating, following up, cancelling, and receiving) using their case processing system. Not all DDS case processing systems support full AR transactions (e.g., accept, reject, follow-up, cancel, close, and transfer). However, these DDSs can still request and respond to electronic ARs. If either the requesting or the receiving DDS involved in the A/R process does not have full electronic AR software, certain actions require direct DDS contact. Notify the other DDS (by phone or email) and document the contact in the Certified Electronic Folder (CEF) when:
Rejecting an AR to the office that requested it;
Transferring an AR to another office;
Canceling an AR because it is no longer needed;
Following up on an AR to check the status; or
Closing an AR when completed.
C. Initiating an Electronic AR
The DDS initiates an electronic AR (e.g. need for 820/821; need for death certificate; need for CE) using the case processing system. Follow current policies and procedures when developing evidence through a FO or another DDS (see Developing Evidence through a Field Office (FO) or Another Disability Determination Services (DDS) - DI 22505.020 .
1. To Initiate an Electronic AR:
Ensure there is an image of a signed SSA-827 (Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration [SSA]) in the CEF if it is needed to process the AR.
When requesting a Consultative Examination (CE), categorize the relevant background material in the CEF.
NOTE: Due to system limitations, if the DDS has a local image repository, all categorized material must be printed and sent to the receiving office. DDSs with local repositories include Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.
Complete an SSA-883 (Request for Assistance) and electronically transmit it to the receiving office.
If paper documentation is associated with the AR, add a Message to the CEF to alert the receiving office that paper documentation is associated with the AR;
Indicate on the SSA-883 that paper documentation is being sent to the receiving office; and
Mail the paper documentation to the receiving office after electronically sending the AR.
When the receiving office processes the request, the CEF updates and an alert transmits to the initiating office.
2. Initiating DDS Receives an Alert
The initiating DDS receives an alert when:
The AR is sent to an office that does not have the software needed to accept, reject, follow-up, cancel, close, or transfer electronic AR. The alert states: “Assisting Office is unable to respond electronically to this Assistance Request. Receiving Office can respond in the form of an imaged document, fax, or email.”
The receiving office rejects the electronic AR or, if the receiving office is unable to support the reject function, when the receiving office adds a CEF Message rejecting the AR.
The receiving office completes the AR and adds the reply to the CEF.
D. Following Up on AR
If needing a follow up on the progress of an electronic assistance request:
NOTE: Not all DDS Legacy systems support the follow up function of the Electronic AR. For those offices that do not, follow up requests are made by contacting the receiving office.
E. Cancelling AR
If, prior to completion of the AR, the requesting DDS determines that the electronic AR is no longer necessary: