Basic (04-08)

DI 81030.100 Signing Electronic Documents

A. Background

Many official SSA forms used in the disability process were converted into an electronic version or eForm. Most forms used by the Office of Quality Review (OQR) review components have already been converted and are available through the Disability Case Adjudication and Review System (DICARS). Forms with signature blocks have an embedded electronic signature process with Sign and Text buttons that must be used to complete the signature. This process identifies the user logged on at the workstation, and enters his/her name as the signature.

B. Policy - eForms signatures

1. General Policy

  • Per “CFR 404.1615(c)” - Permissible SSA-831 signatures are as follows:

    • DDS Adjudicative Team – DDS disability examiner and the DDS medical consultant,

      Or, in instances when DQB takes corrective action or assumes jurisdiction,

    • DQB quality reviewer and the regional medical contractor (RMC).

  • Changes may be made to an unsigned eForm at any time.

  • Signing an eForm and saving it to DICARS finalizes the form.

  • If changes need to be made on a signed eForm, DQB and Medical Contractor Staff (MCS) users may unsign certain eForms up until the time the case is cleared by DICARS. The eForms are locked at case clearance, and no further changes can be made.

2. DQB Quality Reviewer's Signature

DQB quality reviewers must sign any SSA-831 and SSA-5002, Report of Contact, prepared using DICARS eForms. For all other electronic documents that DQB prepares, signing the document is optional at management's discretion.

NOTE: When the DQB assumes jurisdiction of a claim and prepares a new SSA-831, and the regional MC/PC is not completing the doctor's signature block on the SSA-831, DICARS completes the medical contractor’s/psychological contractor’s (MC/PC) signature information based on the Overall Medical Reviewer code recorded in DICARS.

3. Regional Medical Consultant Staff (RMCS) Signature

a. CEF Cases

For CEF cases, all medical assessment and review forms prepared electronically by RMCS must be signed electronically.

b. Paper Modular Disability Folders

For paper modular disability folders (MDF), the printed version of an electronically signed document that is filed in the paper MDF does not require an added “wet” signature. However, if a paper version of the form is completed in lieu of using the eForm, the form must be hand signed (i.e., a “wet” signature is required).

NOTE: When the RMC completes an “advisory assessment,” it, by definition, does not complete the medical portion of the disability determination

4. Regional Vocational Consultant (VC) Signature

The Form SSA-1047 macro prepared electronically by the VC must be signed electronically.

C. Procedures - signing electronic forms

1. To sign a document prepared using DICARS e-Forms

  • Select the “Sign” button;

  • Select “Yes” to sign the eForm; and

  • Save the form to DICARS.

  • Pop-up confirms that eForm has been saved to the DICARS database.

The signature that appears is that of the person logged on at the workstation.

NOTE: To save a signed form to both your local folder and DICARS, save it to the local folder first before saving to DICARS. Once it is saved to DICARS, the action buttons on the toolbar are disabled, and the form must be closed and opened as a copy before it can be saved again locally. See DI 81030.100B.2.b.

2. Changing a signed eForm that has been saved to DICARS:

Any user can sign any eForm, but only MCS users are allowed to unsign MCS forms and only DQB users are allowed to unsign DQB eForms.

To determine who can unsign an eForm, go to the “Select New Form” window. If the “MCS Form?” column = 'Y', then only MCS can unsign the form. To sort all MCS forms together, select the “MCS Form?” column heading.

NOTE: Unsigning a form unsigns all signatures on the form.

To unsign a signed eForm that has been saved to DICARS:

  • Select “Cases/eForms” from the DICARS menu (or “eForms” on the button bar);

  • Open a signed eForm;

  • Select the Unsign icon.

  • Select Yes on the Confirm Unsign and Save pop-up Window.

  • Select OK on the “Form has been saved” message box.

  • Select OK on the Unsign completed pop-up message. Note that you can immediately resign the form, but, to make other changes, you must first re-open the form.

  • To reopen the form, select Open on the eForm toolbar to open the Forms in DICARS for this WU screen. Select the form, and select Open Form to open the form that was unsigned to make changes.

  • Make the desired changes.

  • Select “Yes” to sign the eForm; and

  • Save the form to DICARS.

D. Signing DDS-prepared electronic SSA-831

1. No Changes to SSA-831

If you agree with the DDS disability determination and are not making any changes to the SSA-831, when the case is ready to be effectuated:

Code “Y” on the DICARS clearance screen next to “SSA-831/832/833 Approval.”

Code “Y” indicates that you are signing off on the DDS-prepared SSA-831 as written. DICARS will send the examiner signature information to the CEF, where it is displayed on the Case Data Disability Determination(s) page.

2. Changes to the SSA-831

If you are making changes to, or modifying, the DDS-prepared SSA-831, including preparing a new determination form, when the case is ready to be effectuated:

Code “M” on the DICARS clearance screen next to “SSA-831/832/833 Approval.”

Code “M” indicates that the DDS determination form was modified or replaced. DICARS sends the examiner signature information to the CEF, where it is displayed on the Case Data Disability Determination(s) page. The reviewer is not required to add a wet signature to the DDS SSA-831.

NOTE: If you are making any pen-and-ink changes to the DDS SSA-831, follow the instructions in GN 04440.237, Determination Forms Technical Corrective Action (TCA). If you are assuming jurisdiction of the claim to correct a basis code error, follow the instructions in GN 04440.245, Assuming Jurisdiction Procedures.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0481030100
DI 81030.100 - Signing Electronic Documents - 02/10/2014
Batch run: 05/05/2015
Rev:02/10/2014