TN 1 (04-12)
NL 01001.110 Procedure for First-class Mail and a Follow up Telephone Call Special Notice Option for the Blind or Visually Impaired
A. What happens when the person selects the option of first-class mail and a follow up telephone call?
In addition to receiving notices in standard print by first class mail, the person will receive a supplementary telephone call made by SSA or Disability Determination Services (DDS) within 5 business days from the date of the notice. Be sure to:
Emphasize to the person that it is his or her responsibility to keep us informed of his or her correct telephone number;
Inform the person that we will mail every notice to him or her;
Advise the person that the date of the standard print notice is the controlling date for their appeal or due process rights;
Explain to the person that we will attempt to contact him or her three times by telephone during normal business hours to read the notice;
Explain to the person that we will ask for identifying information, including his or her SSN, when we call to read the notice; and
Advise the person that he or she must choose another notice option if his or her telephone service is disconnected.
SSA-generated notices include a paragraph explaining that the person will receive a telephone call to read the notice within 5 business days from the date of the notice. DDS-generated notices do not contain the paragraph.
B. Which component is responsible for making the follow up telephone call?
Different SSA components are responsible for making the follow-up telephone call, depending on the type of notice involved. Here are the types of notices and responsible components:
1. SSA automated (or centrally printed) notices
These are the components responsible for making follow-up telephone calls for automated (or centrally printed) notices:
Automated title II notices - the servicing processing center (PC) reads automated title II notices to the person. The PC receives the notices to be read via the Centralized Special Notice Option (CSNO) application;
Automated title XVI notices - the servicing field office (FO) reads automated title XVI notices to the person. The FO receives the notice to read via an email that refers to CSNO; and
Automated title II and title XVI representative payee notices and accounting forms - the servicing FO reads automated title II and title XVI representative payee notices and accounting forms to the person. The FO receives the notice to be read via an email that refers to CSNO.
The system holds the email for 2 business days from the notice production date to allow time for the notice to store in Online Retrieval System (ORS). The corresponding regional office email box receives any undeliverable email. The regional office promptly sends undeliverable email to the FO and requests the FO update its email address in the Detailed Office Organization Resource System (DOORS).
2. Manual (or locally printed) notices issued by the FO or PC
If a component produces a local notice for the follow-up telephone call option, that component must call the person within 5 business days to read the notice. If the blind or visually impaired person is in the FO or on the telephone with SSA at the time you are generating the notice, read the notice to the person before ending the interview. Document the call per NL 01001.110E and NL 01001.110F in this section.
3. Manual (or locally printed) notices issued by National 800 Number Network (N8NN) components
A N8NN agent who generates a locally printed notice, (i.e., through the Customer Help and Information Program (CHIP) or the Document Processing System (DPS)) should
read the notice to the person before ending the call, and
document the call by faxing the notice and a report of contact into the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRED) or eView.
4. 800 Number notices
Technicians who establish 800 Number System referrals (e.g., appointments) annotate the referral to show that the FO needs to make a follow-up telephone call. The FO
5. Disability Notices issued by Disability Determination Services (DDS), Disability Processing Branch (DPB), Disability Processing Unit (DPU), and Office of Medical and Vocational Expertise (OMVE)
DDS, DPB, DPU, and OMVE make the follow-up telephone call for their case processing correspondence issued on both electronic and paper cases, and their personal decision notices (PDNs) issued when the official folder is paper.
Office of Central Operations (OCO) makes the follow-up telephone call for disability denials, cessations, and less than fully favorable PDNs issued on certified electronic cases.
The FO makes the follow-up telephone call for paper cases when the Office of Quality Review (OQR) selects the disability case for sampling. When OQR completes the quality review and no further action is required by DDS, OQR:
Prepares form SSA-847 (Social Security Administration Request for Case Action) advising that a telephone call is required, and
Returns the case via overnight courier to the appropriate FO to make the follow-up telephone call.
6. Notices issued by Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR)
ODAR makes the follow-up telephone call for all ODAR case correspondence and case development letters and notices.
C. What do I do before I make a follow up telephone call?
Make sure you have a copy of the notice ready before you make your follow-up telephone call.
D. When should I make the follow up telephone call?
Within 5 business days after the date of the notice, make a first attempt to telephone the person to read the notice. If unsuccessful, make a second and third attempt within 7 business days from the date of the notice. Make the attempts at different times on different days.
If the notice is available for reading, you may start your first attempt up to 3 business days before the notice date.
EXCEPTION: You may not attempt to read the title II COLA notice before the first business day in December.
Control the action until you read the notice to the person or until you complete the three attempts to read the notice. Document the file per NL 01001.110E and NL 01001.110F in this section.
1. What do we consider an attempt?
We consider it an attempt if you:
reach the person, but the person is unable to take the call,
reach another person at the correct telephone number,
do not get an answer, or
reach an answering machine or voice mail. (Follow your component’s normal procedures for leaving messages.)
IMPORTANT: Do not consider getting a busy signal an attempt.
2. What should I do if I reach someone but it is the wrong telephone number, or I get a message that the telephone is disconnected or out of service?
If the telephone number is temporarily out of service, you should continue calling until you make three attempts on different days.
If you reach someone at the wrong telephone number or if you reach a non-working number, you should query other systems, e.g. Master Beneficiary Record (MBR), Supplemental Security Record (SSR), Representative Payee System (RPS), and iSNO to determine if we have another telephone number. You must make three attempts for all other available telephone numbers.
If you are unable to locate a valid working number, you do not need to make further attempts. Mail a courtesy notice explaining that we could not call the person to read the notice because we do not have the person’s current telephone number. You do not need to make a follow up telephone call on the courtesy notice. The notice is available in DPS in the General folder under the title “SNO Request for Telephone Number,” and in Aurora as exhibit letter E4012. DDS components should prepare the courtesy notice using local procedures and store a copy of the notice in eView.
REMINDER: If you locate a working telephone number, be sure to update the new telephone number in iSNO per NL 01001.020F. Also, update any other necessary systems (e.g., MBR, SSR) with the new telephone number.
3. What should I do if the person is in an institution and is not permitted to receive telephone calls?
If the person is unable to receive telephone calls within the next 5 business days, do not make further attempts. Otherwise, continue calling until you make three attempts.
4. What should I do in adverse action situations if I am unable to reach the person after three attempts?
If you are unable to reach the person after making three attempts to read an advance (due process) notice, complete the proposed action as usual.
For information on advance notices for title II, see GN 03001.015. For information on advance notices for title XVI, see SI 02301.300.
5. What should I do if I keep getting busy signals?
If you called at different times on 3 different business days, and encountered busy signals at least six times, you can stop trying to call the person to read the notice. Mail a courtesy notice explaining that we tried to call the person, asking the person to confirm that we have the correct phone number, and suggesting other formats that may work better. You do not need to make a follow-up telephone call on the courtesy notice. The notice is available in DPS in the General folder under the title “SNO Busy Signal Letter,” and in Aurora as exhibit letter E4010. DDS components should prepare the courtesy notice using local procedures and store a copy of the notice in eView.
6. What should I do when I reach the person?
When you reach the person,
Verify his or her identity before you read the notice; see GN 03380.005.
Do not read the notice if you are unable to verify the person’s identity.
Advise any person whose identity you cannot verify to contact their servicing field office.
After verifying the person’s identity, you must:
read the entire notice and any enclosures verbatim in the language in which they were issued (We issue notices in English and Spanish);
answer any questions the person may have about the notice;
assist the person with completing any forms, if requested; and
complete any necessary changes to SSA records (e.g., address or income updates) following existing procedures.
NOTE: If an enclosed form contains lengthy instructions, you must offer to read the entire form and its accompanying instructions verbatim. However, you can read the notice and just complete the form over the telephone with the person if the person agrees.
7. What should I do if the person has an appointed representative?
If a person has an appointed representative,
Call the person directly instead of the appointed representative, within 5 business days of the date of the notice;
Verify the person’s identity, read the notice and any enclosures, and assist the person with any questions he or she may ask about the notice.
GN 03910.050 Contacting a Represented Claimant
IMPORTANT: When you read the notice to the person, do not initiate a request for information, complete forms, or ask additional questions unless the appointed representative gave SSA permission to communicate directly with the person.
8. Should I read enclosures like pamphlets and forms?
Yes, SSA requires you to read verbatim pamphlets and other notice enclosures to a person with a follow-up telephone special notice option. Assist the person if they need help completing forms. If the person has an appointed representative, see NL 01001.110D.7 in this section.
9. What action should I take if the person wants to file reconsideration?
Assist the person in completing the request for reconsideration form if he or she disagrees with the notice that you read over the telephone and requests a reconsideration.
For additional instructions on completing a request for reconsideration, see:
10. What is the procedure for telephone calls when the person wants the notice read in a foreign language (i.e., a language other than the language in which we wrote it)?
See instructions for using the Telephone Interpreter Service
GN 00203.011B.5 Special Interviewing Situations: Limited English Proficiency (LEP) or Language Assistance Required
DI 23040.001 DDS: Interpreters for Individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) or Individuals Requiring Language Assistance
11. What is the procedure for telephone calls when we send the notice to a foreign address?
Fax a copy to the appropriate module (1-6) in the Office of International Operations, based on the SSN range. To determine the appropriate module and fax number, see http://ocoweb.ba.ssa.gov/oio/Organization/Mods.asp. The module will fax a copy to the appropriate Foreign Service post personnel responsible for making the telephone contacts.
E. How do I document the follow up telephone call if the notice is in CSNO?
Processing centers (PCs) and field offices (FOs) must use the Centralized Special Notice Option (CSNO) application to document follow-up telephone calls whenever notice data appears in CSNO. Notice data appears in CSNO only for persons who have selected the special notice option of a follow-up telephone call.
If a notice recipient comes into a local FO asking us to read a notice and that FO does not have jurisdiction of the notice, the FO technician must transfer the notice to his or her own office in CSNO. The FO technician will then be able to read and document the notice in CSNO. CSNO will send an email to the originating office to inform them of the transfer. CSNO will also send an email to the receiving office if the PC transferred the notice. The PC must then close out the issue in paperless.
CSNO User Guides
F. How do I document the follow up telephone call if the notice is not in CSNO?
Where you document the follow up telephone call depends on the type of notice:
1. SSA notices stored in ORS
For SSA notices stored in ORS:
Use the notes feature in ORS to document the follow-up telephone call. Show your office and unit code on the note. For instructions on using the notes feature in ORS see, Notice Search Summary (NSS) MSOM ORS 003.009;
For successful contacts, show the date of the contact and any pertinent information resulting from the contact, such as a statement that the person is appealing the determination; and
For unsuccessful attempts, show the dates and times of the three attempts to contact the person and annotate the contact was unsuccessful.
If you close out the telephone call due to multiple busy signals, annotate the dates and times of the six busy signals and the date you sent the “SNO Busy Signal Letter.”
If you cannot locate a working telephone number, annotate the date you sent the “SNO Request for Telephone Number Letter.”
2. SSA notices not stored in ORS
For SSA notices not stored in ORS:
Document the successful contact or unsuccessful attempts by annotating the hard copy of the notice or a form SSA-5002 Report of Contact (RC);
Fax the annotated notice or the RC into either eView if there is an electronic disability file or NDRED if there is no other electronic folder. For instructions on faxing documents into the CEF, see DI 81010.090.
3. DDS notices
DDS staff follows normal business procedure for documenting claims communications.
4. ODAR notices
ODAR staff should document the follow-up telephone call per the requirements in