Identification Number:
DI 33015 TN 13
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP ODP
Title:Procedures for Disability Hearing and Related Policy Issues
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:Disability
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part DI – Disability Insurance
Chapter 330 – Disability Hearing Unit Procedures
Subchapter 15 – Procedures for Disability Hearing and Related Policy Issues
Transmittal No. 13, 03/11/2020

Audience

PSC: DEC, RECONR;
OCO-OEIO: CTE, FCR, FDE, RECONE;
OCO-ODO: DE, RECONE;
ODD-DDS: DHU;

Originating Component

ODP

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

Background

This is a quick action transmittal. Instructions for handling whereabouts unknown at the Pre-Hearing Level were recently published in DI 29005.027. A link has been added to the recent publication has been added to DI 33015.033.

Summary of Changes

DI 33015.033 Whereabouts Unknown (WU) Occurs at the Disability Hearing Unit (DHU) Level

DI 33015.003.C was updated with a link to DI 29005.027.

DI 33015.033 Whereabouts Unknown (WU) Occurs at the Disability Hearing Unit (DHU) Level

This section addresses proper handling of WU at the DHU level.

A. Definition of WU

Whereabouts unknown status exists when the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the disability determination services (DDS) cannot locate a beneficiary (or recipient) at the last known address and after completing all required actions to locate the beneficiary (or recipient).

B. Policy for WU at the DHU level

WU may be a Group II exception and considered a reason to find disability has ended without determining the ability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) for adults or whether the impairment still causes marked and severe functional limitations for children.

When an individual timely requests reconsideration of an initial or revised medical cessation determination, he or she has the right to appear at a disability hearing unless he or she waives the right to appear. (CFR 404.914 and CFR 416.1414).

When a WU issue arises, do not return the claim to the field office (FO). The DHU must complete the actions outlined below and make a determination based on the evidence in the file.

Attempt to locate the beneficiary (or recipient) expeditiously upon receipt of returned mail.

NOTE: Do not propose a cessation if the disability hearing officer (DHO) is able to make a favorable determination with the evidence in the file.

C. Procedures for WU at the DHU level

1. Required development for WU at the DHU

If the evidence in file is not sufficient to support a fully favorable determination, the DHO must complete the following:

  1. a. 

    Complete all development not requiring the beneficiary's (or recipient's) cooperation;

  2. b. 

    Attempt phone contact with the beneficiary (or recipient) and all other authorized persons, e.g., representative payee, third party, and appointed representative. Document all attempts on an SSA-5002 Report of Contact;

  3. c. 

    Immediately request the FO assistance if phone attempts are unsuccessful in locating the beneficiary (or recipient). The DHO must allow ten days for the FO's response. Document all attempts on an SSA-5002 Report of Contact;

  4. d. 

    Consider special handling considerations and follow procedures as appropriate. See DI 33015.021.B.2; and

  5. e. 

    If the beneficiary (or recipient) does not appear at the scheduled hearing, wait ten days from the date of the scheduled hearing prior to completing a determination, unless the beneficiary or recipient waived the right to appear.

NOTE: Follow procedures for rescheduling the hearing if the beneficiary or recipient is located at any point of development. See DI 33010.005.

NOTE: If WU occurs at the PH level and exists at time of receipt in the DHU, follow instructions in DI 29005.027D.2.

2. Completing the forms

a. Writing the DHO's determination

Make a determination based on the evidence in the file. Complete as described in DI 33015.020 with the following considerations:

  1. 1. 

    Focus independently on the relevant items on the “Disability Hearing Officer's Report of Disability Hearing.”

  2. 2. 

    Evaluate any new documentary evidence submitted.

  3. 3. 

    Make a determination based on all of the evidence in the file and address WU as applicable.

NOTE: Do not return the claim to the FO as a No Determination.

b. Completing the Forms SSA-832 Cessation or Continuance of Disability or Blindness Determination and Transmittal – Title XVI or SSA-833 Cessation or Continuance of Disability or Blindness Determination and Transmittal – Title II

Complete as described in DI 33020.005 and take the following actions:

  1. 1. 

    Enter the appropriate cessation code based on the evidence in the file. Generally, this will be the same code as the prior determination.

  2. 2. 

    Enter "Whereabouts unknown" in the remarks section.

c. Completing the notice

  1. 1. 

    Mail the notice to the beneficiary (or recipient) at their last known address.

  2. 2. 

    See DI 33015.025 for complete notice instructions.


DI 33015 TN 13 - Procedures for Disability Hearing and Related Policy Issues - 3/11/2020