TN 6 (12-93)

NL 00601.600 Spanish Language Notices

A. Background

1. Cruz v. Califano provisions

The “Cruz v. Califano” agreement of September 26, 1978, still in effect, stipulates that:

  • a Spanish language “cover notice” containing appeal rights and procedures be sent in connection with adverse agency actions to persons, either claimants/beneficiaries or representative payees, who request them or meet one of 5 criteria.

  • the above procedure does not apply to individuals meeting one of the criteria if they indicate in writing they do not desire Spanish “cover notices.”

  • an indicator be established in the computer system permanently identifying claimants who will receive Spanish “cover notices” so they will automatically receive future Spanish language materials.

2. Implementation of Cruz v. Califano

Since 1978, many preprinted Social Security notices, both pre-adjudicative and post-adjudicative, have been translated into Spanish and sent to individuals who meet one of the 5 criteria (see C.1. below) and/or have the Spanish indicator in the MBR. However, the Spanish “cover notice” attached to notices of adverse decisions has been the most common way of written communication with the Spanish speaking title II population.

In order to provide better service to the Spanish speaking population, beginning in September 1994, MCS will automatically produce a complete Spanish award, abatement, withdrawal or disallowance notice for individuals with Spanish language indicators. MCS will also automatically produce a Spanish cover sheet for notices which require dictated language.

Notices from the other object programs, such as MADCAP, will continue to need "cover notices" until such time as they are produced in Spanish.

B. Preview

In the following sections wherever we speak of Spanish notices, we mean whatever Spanish notice is now sent or will be sent to individuals with Spanish language indicators. This could be a “cover notice” , a preprinted Spanish notice, a special computer notice in Spanish such as the COLA, or a complete MCS or other computer-generated notice that will eventually be produced.

NOTE: For title XVI procedures on Spanish notices, see NL 00801.025.

C. Policy

1. Criteria

Criteria for sending Spanish notices are:

  • The application shows the individual was born in Puerto Rico or a country where Spanish is the predominant language; e.g., Mexico; or

  • The individual has a Spanish surname; or

  • The individual lives in a known Spanish- speaking area, e.g., “Little Havana” or East Los Angeles; or lives in Mexico; or

  • The interview is conducted in Spanish or with the assistance of a translator; or

  • The individual has difficulty with English during the interview but shows familiarity with Spanish.

2. Cover notices

  1. Agency Actions Requiring a Cover Notice

    • Initial denial of application.

    • Affirmation on reconsideration of initial denial of application.

    • Cessation of disability benefits.

    • All other adverse postentitlement actions.

  2. RSI Cover Notices That Are Sent

TYPENUMBERTITLE
Initial disallowanceSSA-L245-SPSocial Security Notice of Disapproved Claim
Affirmation of denial on reconsiderationSSA-L244-SPSocial Security Notice of Reconsideration
Adverse Postentitlement actionsSSA-L4360-SPSocial Security Benefit Information

3. Pamphlets

The following pamphlets are enclosed:

  1. Initial disallowances or denials; benefit suspension, termination, reduction or deferral notices.

    Unless the claimant lives in Mexico, always enclose the Spanish pamphlet, Your Right to Question the Decision Made on Your Social Security Claim—SSA 05-10958

  2. Reconsideration affirmation of denial

    Unless the claimant lives in Mexico, always enclose the Spanish pamphlet, Appeal Rights Under the Social Security Law—SSA 70-10283.

D. Procedure

Provide Spanish language notices as follows:

1. If criteria met

The FO interviewer will identify during the initial interview those individuals, including representative payees, who should be sent Spanish language notices per C.1. above.

If the claimant or the representative payee meets one of the five criteria, the interviewer will ask (unless it is absolutely clear that the individual does not speak Spanish) if the claimant, or representative payee, wants to receive Spanish language notices.

If the answer is yes, establish the “S” indicator on the MBR. (See D.3. below.)

2. Refusal of spanish notices

  1. One or More Criteria Met but Individual Does Not Want Spanish Notices

    • In MCS claims, place in the Remarks Screen, the language in English that is on the SSA-381-SP, which says:

      “I have been advised that the Social Security Administration is making certain notices available in the Spanish language. I prefer to receive notices only in the English language. I understand that if I change my mind, I can request to receive available notices in the Spanish language.”

      Do not activate the foreign language indicator. The MBR will automatically show an “E”.

    • In non-MCS claims, obtain signed waiver Form
      SSA-381-SP, Waiver of Option to Receive Spanish
      Notices

      English the “E” indicator on the MBR (See D.3. below.)

  2. Individual Does Not Wish to Receive Spanish Notices but Refuses to Sign SSA-381-SP

    • In MCS cases, indicate in the Remarks Screen that the person does not wish to receive Spanish language notices.

      Do not establish the “S” code on the MBR. Then “E” will be automatically established on the MBR.

    • In non MCS cases, if the individual refuses to sign the
      SSA-381-SP, prepare a report of contact for the files to document the person's decision. Do not establish the “S” code on the MBR. Instead establish the “E” indicator on the MBR. (See NL 00601.600D.3. below.)

  3. Individual Does Not Speak Spanish

    If the interviewer elects not to send Spanish language notices because, although the claimant meets one or more of the first three criteria, he/she does not speak Spanish (e.g., a Vietnamese person living in a known Spanish speaking area):

    • In MCS cases, use the Report of Contact (RPOC) screen (MSOM MCS 008.007 ) stating the reason for not offering Spanish notices.

    • In non-MCS cases, prepare a Report of Contact for the file stating the reason for not offering Spanish language notices.

      Establish the "E" code on the MBR. (See NL 00601.600D.3. below.)

3. FO processing - initial claims/reconsideration requests

In the FO processing of initial claim and reconsideration requests:

  1. Awards - Claimant Wants Spanish Notices

    Establish on the MBR the Spanish language indicator “S”.

    • if MCS, see MSOM ICD 002.004 Client Language (CLLG)

    • if MADCAP, code “S” in the Language field on the Benefit Data (BEN) screen. (See SM 00842.025 BENEFIT DATA (BEN))

  2. Awards - Claimant Does Not Want Spanish Notices

    • In MCS claims, an “E” indicator is automatically established if the “S” indicator is not.

    • In MADCAP cases, an “E” indicator is automatically established and appears on the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) if the language field is left blank on the Benefit Data (BEN) screen.

  3. Disallowances When Claimant Wants Spanish Notice

    Establish on the MBR the Spanish language indicator, as with awards.

    Annotate on the following routing forms that Spanish Form SSA-L245-SP is required.

    • SSA-3601 - Check the 4.f. block and show in remarks

    • SSA-3293 - check Item 4 “Special Notice for (BIC)” and enter SSA-L245-SP in section c

  4. Reconsideration requests

    If the claimant or representative payee meets at least one of the five criteria, verify if the language indicator has been established on the MBR.

    • If no language code has been established, follow NL 00601.600D.3.a. above and establish the language code on the MBR.

    • If the “S” code is established, alert the PC on an SSA-5002 (Report of Contact) that Form SSA-L244-SP will be needed if the denial is affirmed.

4. Request for higher level of appeal

In a request for a higher level of appeal:

  1. Hearing or Appeals Council Requests

    If the claimant or representative payee meets at least one of the five criteria, verify if the language indicator has been established on the MBR.

    • If no language code has been established, follow D.3.a. above and establish the language code on the MBR.

    • If the “S” code is established, have the individual file one of the following forms as appropriate:

      Request for Hearing (HA 501-U5 or HA 501-U5-SP);

      Request for Review of Hearing; Decision/Order
      (HA 520-U5 or HA 520-U5-SP); or

      Request for Hearing Part A Health Insurance Benefits (HCFA 5011-U6 or HCFA 5011-U6-SP)

  2. Indicate whether or not the individual wants to receive Spanish notices in the section of the form that gives the reason for filing for a hearing or review.

5. Change or addition of language indicator

  1. Add or change the indicator when:

    • The beneficiary or representative payee has changed the language preference.

    • The claimant or representative payee meets at least one of the criteria but no language indicator has been established on the MBR.

    • The case was processed through MADCAP, and an “E” indicator is needed.

    • The claimant lives in Mexico and wants Spanish notices (the BCF of LF can only be input if the claimant has a domestic address.

  2. Add or change the indicator as follows:

    • MCS - Use the MBR Record Corrections (POS) input screen, or

    • Non-MCS - Prepare a MONET action (See MSOM T2PE 007.001 )

6. PC handling of manual notices (“S” code on MBR)

In the processing center handling of manual notices (“S” Code on MBR):

  1. Initial disallowance

    Prepare as in 5.e. above

  2. Reconsideration affirmation

    • Prepare Form SSA-L244-SP and attach to the English reconsideration cover letter.

    • Always enclose the Spanish language pamphlet,
      SSA-70-10283, unless the individual resides in Mexico.

7. Postentitlement actions

In postentitlement actions:

  1. Attach an SSA-L4360-SP to the English notice when a benefit suspension, termination, reduction, or deferral notice is produced and the MBR has the Spanish language indicator.

  2. The following object programs signal the need for a Spanish cover notice:

    • MADCAP

      The enclosure remark on the notice shows
      “SSA-L4360-SP”

    • TASTE, SALT, TATTER (Disability Cessation, only)

      The folder document output for these three programs shows the alert remark “SPANISH LTR NEC.”

  3. Follow notice preparation instructions in 5.c. through 5.e. above substituting the SSA-L4360-SP for the SSA-L245-SP.


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