Identification Number:
EM-21041
Intended Audience:RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs /OARO
Originating Office:DCO OPSOS
Title:Express Interviews for Evidence and Enumeration Actions
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:See References at the end of this EM.
 
Retention Date: November 30, 2021

A. Purpose
This Emergency Message (EM) provides Field Offices (FOs) and Social Security Card Centers (SSCCs) information regarding the nationwide implementation of the Express Interview (EXI) process. In addition, this EM provides instructions for scheduling appointments, conducting interviews, and documenting interviews, as part of the EXI process. This process was established to address the challenges the public has faced in providing enumeration and documentary proofs, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

B. Background
Effective May 28, 2021, FOs and SSCCs nationwide will begin offering the new EXI option. EXIs are brief interviews, lasting approximately 5-7 minutes, which allow eligible individuals to apply for an original or replacement Social Security Number (SSN) card and submit necessary evidence in person.

While this initiative is primarily intended to assist customers who need an SSN card, EXIs are also available for purposes of gathering evidence needed for processing claims and other workloads, as well as for individuals who meet certain limited, critical situations.

C. Express Interview Criteria

In order to qualify for an EXI, individuals must:
    · meet existing limited, critical appointment criteria such as:
        o original cards for individuals age 12 or older;

        o replacement cards for individuals who need to update or correct their information, such as name, date of birth, or citizenship, or to obtain income, resources, medical care or coverage, or other services or benefits (e.g., filing a tax return, applying for housing, or seeking an Economic Impact Payment);

AND
    · be unable to use our automated services (e.g. enumeration at birth, enumeration at entry or enumeration beyond entry) or online SSN replacement card service (iSSNRC).

Individuals also qualify for an EXI if they are unable or unwilling to mail original evidence documents.

D. Pre-Screening for an Express Interview

    A caller must be pre-screened to verify the need for a face-to-face visit and ensure the time spent in the office is minimal. When an individual calls the FO and meets any of the above criteria for an EXI, the employee should follow the steps below:

1. Evaluate Alternatives

    EXIs should not be the primary option offered to callers, and local managers have the discretion to determine necessary criteria based on staffing and other office considerations.

    a. Consider the following questions during the telephone interview:


      · Are original documents, custodian-certified photocopies, or extracts of an original record (GN 00301.030B.1) required per policy or is there an exception?

      · Can the customer submit evidence by any other method?

      · Is there an online service the person can utilize?

      · Is there another way to meet the customer’s need?

      · Does your office have a drop box that the caller can use?


    b. Once you have determined an Express Interview is appropriate, ask the following questions:
        o Do you have the required original, custodian-certified photocopies, or extract of an original record (GN 00301.030B.1) documents?

        o Can you mail the original, custodian-certified photocopies, or extract of an original record (GN 00301.030B.1) documents to the office?

        o If applicable, can you use a drop box?

IMPORTANT: Do NOT request a non-citizen to submit his or her immigration documents by mail or using the drop box. Due to DHS regulations, non-citizens are required to have their immigration documents in their possession at all times (GN 00303.610.B).

2. Explain the Express Interview Process


    If it is determined that the applicant is eligible for an EXI, explain our guidelines related to in-person interviews.

    a. Use instructions in EM-20028 SEN REV 2 to screen the applicant prior to scheduling the appointment.

    b. Inform the caller that:


      · We will schedule a time for you to visit the office to submit your evidence documents in person. This will be a brief interview during which we will verify the presented documents and return them to you.

      · After the interview, your application will be processed and a receipt will be mailed to you.

      · The scope of the interview is limited to receiving your evidence.


    c. We will be happy to discuss any additional business or questions you may have prior to ending our current phone conversation or we will schedule you a time to go over any additional questions you have.

E. Scheduling and Confirming the Express Interview Appointment

1. Enumeration Interview (Paper SS-5 Application Completed Prior to Appointment)


    a. Schedule and Confirm Appointment:
        · Establish the appointment in VIPr per your office procedures.
            o Enter the following in Remarks in VIPr:
                § The type of evidence the individual will be presenting, and

                § The name of the employee who requested the evidence.

        · Send the individual the SS-5 application via eMailer or by mail. You can also direct the caller to the Forms page on ssa.gov.
            o If using eMailer or directing the caller online:
                § Instruct the caller to print, complete and bring the application to the interview.
      NOTE: Consider using eMailer to send the caller a link to VIPr Mobile as a check-in option (see MSS21-012 VIPr).
            o If mailing the paper SS-5,
                § Advise the caller to bring the completed application to the interview.
        · Explain that the applicant will not receive a receipt at the interview and that we will mail it once the application is processed.

        · Explain that the appointment is specifically for the purpose of obtaining evidence and/or reviewing the application, and that no other questions or concerns will be addressed at the in-person interview.

    b. Conduct the In-Person Express Interview:
        · Follow office entrance protocols for the public;

        · If the visitor has not already checked in using VIPr Mobile, check visitor into VIPr;

            o In VIPr, use the following topic codes located in the “special studies” topic category:
                § “EXPINT SS5NEW” for new social security card application

                § “EXPINT SS5REP” for replacement social security card application

                § “EXPINT PROOFS” for any other evidence

        · Verify the customer’s identity per RM 10210.405;

        · Review remarks in VIPr;

        · Review the SS-5 application for completion;

        · Verify, review, and certify the evidence document(s);

        · Return documents to the visitor following the policy in GN 00301.275; and

        · End the interview.

    c. Process the SS-5, as directed by local management. The technician should document SSNAP as follows:
        · On the “Application Information” Page, select:
            o “In Person” for the question “What type of Interview is this:”, and

            o “In Person” for the question “How are the proofs presented:”

2. Non- Enumeration Evidence-Only

    a. Schedule and Confirm Appointment:
        · Establish the appointment in VIPr per your office procedures.
            o Enter the following in Remarks in VIPr;
                § The type of evidence the individual will be presenting, and;

                § The name of the employee who requested the evidence.

    NOTE: Consider using eMailer to send the caller a link to VIPr Mobile as a check-in option (see MSS21-012 VIPr).

    b. Conduct the In-Person Express Interview:

        · Follow office entrance protocols for public;

        · If the visitor has not already checked in using VIPr Mobile, check visitor into VIPr;

        · In VIPr, use “EXPINT PROOFS” as the topic code, which is located in the “special studies” topic category;

        · Verify the customer’s identity;

        · Review remarks in VIPr;

        · Verify, review, and certify the evidence document;

        · Return document to visitor following the policy in GN 00301.275;

        · End interview; and

        · Place document in WorkTrack, or complete processing as directed by local management.

NOTE: For any EXI, remind the visitor that the current appointment is specifically for the purpose of obtaining evidence and/or reviewing the application. If the visitor has additional questions or concerns, notify them that a technician will contact them by mail or phone at a future time/date. Refer the issue to the appropriate employee, based on office workflow.

Direct all program-related and technical questions to your Regional Office (RO) support staff. RO support staff may refer questions, concerns or problems to their Central Office contacts.

References
EM 20010 SEN REV 7 E.9 Disaster Procedures – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic
EM-20028 SEN REV 2 Disaster Procedures – In-Office Visitor Screening During COVID-19
RM 10210.405 Evidence of Identity for an SSN Card
GN 00301.275 Retention or Return of Documents
GN 03340.015 Access Requirements
GN 03305.001 Disclosure With Consent
GN 00301.030 Acceptability of Documentary Evidence
GN 00303.610 Verifying Immigration Documents
MSS21-012 VIPr Visitor Intake Process (VIPr) –VIPr Mobile Check-in



EM-21041 - Express Interviews for Evidence and Enumeration Actions - May 27, 2021