Identification Number:
GN 00307 TN 58
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:OIP
Title:Foreign Evidence
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:Title II (RSI); Title XVI (SSI)
Link To Reference:
 
PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part 02 – General
Chapter 003 – Evidence
Subchapter 07 - Foreign Evidence
Transmittal No. 58, 06/2018

Audience

FO/TSC: CS, CS TII, CS TXVI, DRT, FR, OA, OS, RR, CSR, TA, CTE, TSC-CSR
PSC: CA, SCPS, CS, TSA, TST, ICDS, IES, ISRA, RECONR
OCO-ODO: CR, CST,CTE, CTE TE
OCO-OEIO: BET,CAQCR, CC, CR, CTE, ERE, FCR, FDE, FDEC, RECONR

Originating Component

OIP

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

Background

Advances in electronic tools and widely available internet information make it easy to produce and distribute high quality fraudulent documents. The Vulnerability Assessment program validates documentary evidence of age, death, marriage, and other documentation not related to the enumeration process. These assessments determine the acceptability of documents from different countries. The purpose of conducting these periodic assessments is to ensure that our policies reflect the most current and accurate information available regarding the vulnerability of foreign documents. These POMS sections contain information based on recently received Vulnerability Assessment Questionnaires. The instructions and format in these sections conform to recently approved and published Foreign Evidence POMS sections.

Summary of Changes

These revised POMS sections contain updated policy and instructions for evaluating evidence from these countries because their documents are not reliable. The sections incorporate plain language writing techniques in a new instructional format. We also replaced references about referrals to the Foreign Service Post (FSP) with referrals to the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU).

GN 00307.736 Evidence from Pakistan

GN 00307.851 Evidence from Sri Lanka

GN 00307.930 Evidence from Vietnam

These new POMS sections contain new policy and instructions for evaluating evidence from these countries because their documents are not reliable. The sections incorporate plain language writing techniques in a standardized instructional format.

GN 00307.362 Evidence from Bhutan
GN 00307.647 Evidence from the Marshall Islands
GN 00307.702 Evidence from Nauru

GN 00307.737 Evidence from Palau

GN 00307.882 Evidence from Tonga
GN 00307.901 Evidence from Tuvalu




GN 00307.362 Evidence from Bhutan

A. Introduction to evaluating evidence from Bhutan

Vital statistics records from Bhutan are not reliable. Bhutan does not keep a centralized vital statistics system. The government does not keep records of birth or death, nor does it issue birth or death certificates. Hospitals in Bhutan do issue records of birth for children born there. Local villages maintain death records, but do not issue death certificates.

The government does maintain records of marriage and divorce as Bhutanese law requires the registration of all marriages and divorces. The government does issue numeric ID cards to every citizen. However, except for passports, Bhutanese documents do not have any security features and are vulnerable to fraud.

B. Policy for accepting evidence from Bhutan

We do not accept evidence from Bhutan at face value.

C. Procedure for developing evidence from Bhutan

1. Obtaining evidence of age for people born in Bhutan

If the claimant lives in the United States, develop for convincing evidence of age as explained in

  • GN 00302.115 First Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.118 Second Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.125 Combination of Documents Which Eliminate the Need for Further Development — Age

If the claimant resides outside the United States, develop for other evidence to prove age as explained in GN 00307.150C.2.b.

2. Obtaining evidence of other events that occurred in Bhutan

Do not ask the claimant to submit evidence from Bhutan.

Develop for secondary evidence or other non-Bhutanese evidence according to the evidentiary requirements for the type of claim filed. For information on determining what evidence SSA requires, see GN 00301.140.

Obtain evidence issued at least five years before the claimant first filed for benefits. If the event occurred less than five years before the claimant first filed for benefits, obtain evidence issued as close to the event date as possible.

3. Verification of evidence from Bhutan

Follow these instructions if the claimant submitted evidence from Bhutan.

a. When to request verification of evidence from Bhutan

Request verification of evidence from Bhutan only if:

  1. there is no secondary non-Bhutanese evidence; or

  2. we cannot make a decision based on the other evidence; or

  3. the verified Bhutanese document would be sufficient to establish

    1. the factor of entitlement or

    2. a more advantageous date as explained in GN 00204.040.

b. How to request verification of evidence from Bhutan

If any of the situations in GN 00307.362C.3.a in this section apply, take the following steps:

  1. Scan a clear and complete copy (front and back) of the document into the electronic folder using the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed). For an overview of NDRed, see

    • GN 00301.319 The Purpose of Non Disability Repository Application (NDRed)

    • GN 00301.310 The Non Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed) Application—Overview

  2. Access the Electronic 562 and prepare a “Request for Assistance/Certification of Documents or Records” as follows:

    1. Request that the Regional Federal Benefits Officer (RFBO) obtain the assistance of the servicing Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) or the Foreign Service Post (FSP) – see NOTE below.

    2. Include a remark that the document is available in the Claims File User Interface (CFUI). For information on CFUI, see SM 08001.000.

    3. Specify that we require a personal examination of the source record. (The source record reveals whether the document is accurate, unaltered, and made at the time stated).

    4. Ask the RFBO to ask that FBU or FSP obtain a current certification, if the verification shows the claimant submitted a document that differs materially from the source record.

    5. Do not send the SSA-562 directly to the RFBO. Send the form to office code E15 in the International Benefits Office (IBO), the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO), Division of International Operations (DIO). For information on requesting assistance in foreign cases, see GN 00904.220.

NOTE: There is no FSP in Bhutan. However, the FBU can request FSP in New Delhi, India for verification of Bhutanese documents through the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in New Delhi.

GN 00307.647 Evidence from the Marshall Islands

A. Introduction to evaluating evidence from the Marshall Islands

Vital statistics records from the Marshall Islands are not reliable. While the Ministry of Internal Affairs issues documents in a uniform format, they have little to no security features. In some circumstances, it is possible to obtain a genuine document with false information.

The Marshall Islands issues a national ID card/driver’s license. However, if the issuing region only laminates a printed-paper ID card with a glued on photo, the document is vulnerable to photo substitution or forgery. Less vulnerable to unsophisticated counterfeiting are ID cards issued by regions that transfer the individual’s information and photo directly onto a plastic card.

The machine-readable Marshallese passport is the document least vulnerable to fraud because it has a number of security features. However, because the country’s passport stock is not completely secure, it is possible to obtain a counterfeit passport on the black market.

B. Policy for accepting evidence from the Marshall Islands

We do not accept evidence from the Marshall Islands at face value.

C. Procedure for developing evidence from the Marshall Islands

1. Obtaining evidence of age for people born in the Marshall Islands

If the claimant lives in the United States, develop for convincing evidence of age as explained in

  • GN 00302.115 First Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.118 Second Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.125 Combination of Documents Which Eliminate the Need for Further Development — Age

If the claimant resides outside the United States, develop for other evidence to prove age as explained in GN 00307.150C.2.b.

2. Obtaining evidence of other events that occurred in the Marshall Islands

Do not ask the claimant to submit evidence from the Marshall Islands. Develop for secondary evidence or other non-Marshallese evidence according to the evidentiary requirements for the type of claim filed. For information on determining what evidence SSA requires, see GN 00301.140. Obtain evidence issued at least five years before the claimant first filed for benefits. If the event occurred less than five years before the claimant first filed for benefits, obtain evidence issued as close to the event date as possible.

3. Verification of evidence from the Marshall Islands

Follow these instructions if the claimant submitted evidence from the Marshall Islands.

a. When to request verification of evidence from the Marshall Islands

Request verification of evidence from the Marshall Islands only if:

  1. There is no secondary non-Marshallese evidence; or

  2. We cannot make a decision based on the other evidence; or

  3. The verified Marshallese document would be sufficient to establish:

    1. the factor of entitlement or

    2. a more advantageous date as explained in GN 00204.040.

b. How to request verification of evidence from the Marshall Islands

If any of the situations in GN 00307.647C.3.a in this section apply, take the following steps:

  1. Scan a clear and complete copy (front and back) of the document into the electronic folder using the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed). For an overview of NDRed, see

    • GN 00301.319 The Purpose of Non Disability Repository Application (NDRed)

    • GN 00301.310 The Non Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed) Application—Overview

  2. Access the Electronic 562 and prepare a “Request for Assistance/Certification of Documents or Records” as follows:

    1. Request that the Regional Federal Benefits Officer (RFBO) obtain the assistance of the servicing Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) or the Foreign Service Post (FSP).

    2. Include a remark that the document is available in the Claims File User Interface (CFUI). For information on CFUI, see SM 08001.000.

    3. Specify that we require a personal examination of the source record. (The source record reveals whether the document is accurate, unaltered, and made at the time stated).

    4. Ask the RFBO to ask that FBU or FSP obtain a current certification, if verification shows that the claimant submitted a document that differs materially from the source record.

    5. Do not send the SSA-562 directly to the RFBO. Send the form to office code E15 in the International Benefits Office (IBO), the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO), Division of International Operations (DIO). For information on requesting assistance in foreign cases, see GN 00904.220.

GN 00307.702 Evidence from Nauru

A. Introduction to evaluating evidence from Nauru

Vital statistics records from Nauru are not reliable. Civil records such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates, are all vulnerable to fraud because there are no security features on these documents.

Passport documents are less vulnerable to fraud because they contain security features including micro printing, a machine-readable zone, ultraviolet markings, ultraviolet page numbers, watermarks, fine line patterns, and laser perforation. However, a genuine Nauruan passport issued from 1997 through 2003 to persons not of Nauruan descent, may still be suspect. Although Nauru ended its practice of selling passports and initiated subsequent investigations, the government sold such passports as a source of income during those years.

B. Policy for accepting evidence from Nauru

We do not accept evidence from Nauru at face value.

C. Procedure for developing evidence from Nauru

1. Obtaining evidence of age for people born in Nauru

If the claimant lives in the United States, develop for convincing evidence of age as explained in

  • GN 00302.115 First Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.118 Second Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.125 Combination of Documents Which Eliminate the Need for Further Development — Age

If the claimant resides outside the United States, develop for other evidence to prove age as explained in GN 00307.150C.2.b.

2. Obtaining evidence of other events that occurred in Nauru

Do not ask the claimant to submit evidence from Nauru. Develop for secondary evidence or other non-Nauruan evidence according to the evidentiary requirements for the type of claim filed. For information on determining what evidence SSA requires, see GN 00301.140. Obtain evidence issued at least five years before the claimant first filed for benefits. If the event occurred less than five years before the claimant first filed for benefits, obtain evidence issued as close to the event date as possible.

3. Verification of evidence from Nauru

Follow these instructions if the claimant submitted evidence from Nauru.

a. When to request verification of evidence from Nauru

Request verification of evidence from Nauru only if

  1. there is no secondary non-Nauruan evidence; or

  2. we cannot make a decision based on the other evidence; or

  3. the verified Nauruan document would be sufficient to establish

    1. the factor of entitlement; or

    2. a more advantageous date as explained in GN 00204.040.

b. How to request verification of evidence from Nauru

If any of the situations in GN 00307.702C.3.a in this section apply, take the following steps:

  1. Scan a clear and complete copy (front and back) of the document into the electronic folder using the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed. For an overview of NDRed, see

    • GN 00301.319 The Purpose of Non Disability Repository Application (NDRed)

    • GN 00301.310 The Non Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed) Application—Overview

  2. Access the Electronic 562 and prepare a “Request for Assistance/Certification of Documents or Records” as follows:

    1. Request that the Regional Federal Benefits Officer (RFBO) obtain the assistance of the servicing Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) or the Foreign Service Post (FSP).

    2. Include a remark that the document is available in the Claims File User Interface (CFUI). For information on CFUI, see SM 08001.000.

    3. Specify that we require a personal examination of the source record. (The source record reveals whether the document is accurate, unaltered, and made at the time stated).

    4. Ask the RFBO to ask that FBU or FSP obtain a current certification, if verification shows that the claimant submitted a document that differs materially from the source record.

    5. Do not send the SSA-562 directly to the RFBO. Send the form to office code E15 in the International Benefits Office (IBO), the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO), Division of International Operations (DIO). For information on requesting assistance in foreign cases, see GN 00904.220.

GN 00307.737 Evidence from Palau

A. Introduction to evaluating evidence from Palau

Vital statistics records from Palau are not reliable. Clerks are rarely strict about verifying the identity of someone requesting a change to an official record, and they generally permit third party access. In addition, these documents lack security features and protections making them vulnerable to counterfeiting. There is only one government issuing office in Palau for each of its various civil documents. These issuing offices are all located in Palau’s most populated city, Koror.

The Palauan document least vulnerable to fraud is its machine-readable passport. This document has multiple security features.

B. Policy for accepting evidence from Palau

We do not accept evidence from Palau at face value.

C. Procedure for developing evidence from Palau

1. Obtaining evidence of age for people born in Palau

If the claimant lives in the United States, develop for convincing evidence of age as explained in

  • GN 00302.115 First Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.118 Second Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.125 Combination of Documents Which Eliminate the Need for Further Development — Age

If the claimant resides outside the United States, develop for other evidence to prove age as explained in GN 00307.150C.2.b.

2. Obtaining evidence of other events that occurred in Palau

Do not ask the claimant to submit evidence from Palau. Develop for secondary evidence or other non-Palauan evidence according to the evidentiary requirements for the type of claim filed. For information on determining what evidence SSA requires, see GN 00301.140. Obtain evidence issued at least five years before the claimant first filed for benefits. If the event occurred less than five years before the claimant first filed for benefits, obtain evidence issued as close to the event date as possible.

3. Verification of evidence from Palau

Follow these instructions if the claimant submitted evidence from Palau.

a. When to request verification of evidence from Palau

Request verification of evidence from Palau only if

  1. there is no secondary non-Palauan evidence; or

  2. we cannot make a decision based on the other evidence; or

  3. the verified Palauan document would be sufficient to establish

  1. the factor of entitlement; or

  2. a more advantageous date as explained in GN 00204.040.

b. How to request verification of evidence from Palau

If any of the situations in GN 00307.737C.3.a in this section apply, take the following steps:

  1. Scan a clear and complete copy (front and back) of the document into the electronic folder using the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed). For an overview of NDRed, see

    • GN 00301.319 The Purpose of Non Disability Repository Application (NDRed)

    • GN 00301.310 The Non Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed) Application—Overview

  2. Access the Electronic 562 and prepare a “Request for Assistance/Certification of Documents or Records” as follows:

    1. Request that the Regional Federal Benefits Officer (RFBO) obtain the assistance of the servicing Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) or the Foreign Service Post (FSP), if needed.

    2. Include a remark that the document is available in the Claims File User Interface (CFUI). For information on CFUI, see SM 08001.000.

    3. Specify that we require a personal examination of the source record. The source record reveals whether the document is accurate, unaltered, and made at the time stated.

    4. Ask the RFBO to ask that FBU or FSP obtain a current certification, if verification shows that the claimant submitted a document that differs materially from the source record.

    5. Do not send the SSA-562 directly to the RFBO. Send the form to office code E15 in the International Benefits Office (IBO), the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO), Division of International Operations (DIO). For information on requesting assistance in foreign cases, see GN 00904.220.

GN 00307.882 Evidence from Tonga

A. Introduction to evaluating evidence from Tonga

Vital statistics records from Tonga are not reliable. Civil records, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates have a wet seal and a signature by an authorized official. Some may have watermarks and serial numbers. However, having these few security features does not prevent counterfeiting attempts. It is more likely, however, to encounter legitimate documents with fraudulent information due to Tonga’s close-knit island culture and communities.

Passports books are least vulnerable to fraud because of security features and a machine-readable zone. However, given the country’s history of passport sales, some individuals without Tongan citizenship may have fraudulent passports. While the law changed to illegalize the sale of passports and to tighten security measures, passport trade on the black market may still be possible. A task force has been set up to investigate this situation.

B. Policy for accepting evidence from Tonga

We do not accept evidence from Tonga at face value.

C. Procedure for developing evidence from Tonga

1. Obtaining evidence of age for people born in Tonga

If the claimant lives in the United States, develop for convincing evidence of age as explained in

  • GN 00302.115 First Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.118 Second Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.125 Combination of Documents Which Eliminate the Need for Further Development — Age

If the claimant resides outside the United States, develop for other evidence to prove age as explained in GN 00307.150C.2.b.

2. Obtaining evidence of other events that occurred in Tonga

Do not ask the claimant to submit evidence from Tonga. Develop for secondary evidence or other non-Tongan evidence according to the evidentiary requirements for the type of claim filed. For information on determining what evidence SSA requires, see GN 00301.140. Obtain evidence issued at least five years before the claimant first filed for benefits. If the event occurred less than five years before the claimant first filed for benefits, obtain evidence issued as close to the event date as possible.

3. Verification of evidence from Tonga

Follow these instructions if the claimant submitted evidence from Tonga.

a. When to request verification of evidence from Tonga

Request verification of evidence from Tonga only if

  1. there is no secondary non-Tongan evidence; or

  2. we cannot make a decision based on the other evidence; or

  3. the verified Tongan document would be sufficient to establish

    1. the factor of entitlement; or

    2. a more advantageous date as explained in GN 00204.040.

b. How to request verification of evidence from Tonga

If any of the situations in GN 00307.882C.3.a in this section apply, take the following steps:

  1. Scan a clear and complete copy (front and back) of the document into the electronic folder using the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed). For an overview of NDRed, see

    • GN 00301.319 The Purpose of Non Disability Repository Application (NDRed)

    • GN 00301.310 The Non Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed) Application—Overview

  2. Access the Electronic 562 and prepare a “Request for Assistance/Certification of Documents or Records” as follows:

    1. Request that the Regional Federal Benefits Officer (RFBO) obtain the assistance of the servicing Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) or the Foreign Service Post (FSP).

    2. Include a remark that the document is available in the Claims File User Interface (CFUI). For information on CFUI, see SM 08001.000.

    3. Specify that we require a personal examination of the source record. The source record reveals whether the document is accurate, unaltered, and made at the time stated.

    4. Ask the RFBO to have the FBU or FSP obtain a current certification, if verification shows that the claimant submitted a document that differs materially from the source record.

Do not send the SSA-562 directly to the RFBO. Send the form to office code E15 in the International Benefits Office (IBO), the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO), Division of International Operations (DIO). For information on requesting assistance in foreign cases, see GN 00904.220.

GN 00307.901 Evidence from Tuvalu

A. Introduction to evaluating evidence from Tuvalu

Vital statistics records from Tuvalu are not reliable. Civil records, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates, are most vulnerable to fraud because there are no security features on these documents. The machine-readable Tuvaluan passport is the least vulnerable to fraud

B. Policy for accepting evidence from Tuvalu

We do not accept evidence from Tuvalu at face value.

C. Procedure for developing evidence from Tuvalu

1. Obtaining evidence of age for people born in Tuvalu

If the claimant lives in the United States, develop for convincing evidence of age as explained in

  • GN 00302.115 First Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.118 Second Priority Automatically Convincing Evidence of Age

  • GN 00302.125 Combination of Documents Which Eliminate the Need for Further Development — Age

If the claimant resides outside the United States, develop for other evidence to prove age as explained in GN 00307.150C.2.b.

2. Obtaining evidence of other events that occurred in Tuvalu

Do not ask the claimant to submit evidence from Tuvalu. Develop for secondary evidence or other non-Tuvaluan evidence according to the evidentiary requirements for the type of claim filed. For information on determining what evidence SSA requires, see GN 00301.140. Obtain evidence issued at least five years before the claimant first filed for benefits. If the event occurred less than five years before the claimant first filed for benefits, obtain evidence issued as close to the event date as possible.

3. Verification of evidence from Tuvalu

Follow these instructions if the claimant submitted evidence from Tuvalu.

a. When to request verification of evidence from Tuvalu

Request verification of evidence from Tuvalu only if

  1. there is no secondary non- Tuvaluan evidence; or

  2. we cannot make a decision based on the other evidence; or

  3. the verified Tuvaluan document would be sufficient to establish

    1. the factor of entitlement; or

    2. a more advantageous date as explained in GN 00204.040.

b. How to request verification of evidence from Tuvalu

If any of the situations in GN 00307.901C.3.a in this section apply, take the following steps:

  1. Scan a clear and complete copy (front and back) of the document into the electronic folder using the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed). For an overview of NDRed, see

    • GN 00301.319 The Purpose of Non Disability Repository Application (NDRed)

    • GN 00301.310 The Non Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed) Application—Overview

  2. Access the Electronic 562 and prepare a “Request for Assistance/Certification of Documents or Records” as follows:

    1. Request that the Regional Federal Benefits Officer (RFBO) obtain the assistance of the servicing Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) or the Foreign Service Post (FSP), if needed.

    2. Include a remark that the document is available in the Claims File User Interface (CFUI). For information on CFUI, see SM 08001.000.

    3. Specify that we require a personal examination of the source record. The source record reveals whether the document is accurate, unaltered, and made at the time stated.

    4. Ask the RFBO to have the FBU or FSP obtain a current certification, if verification shows that the claimant submitted a document that differs materially from the source record.

    5. Do not send the SSA-562 directly to the RFBO. Send the form to office code E15 in the International Benefits Office (IBO), the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO), Division of International Operations (DIO). For information on requesting assistance in foreign cases, see GN 00904.220.


GN 00307 TN 58 - Foreign Evidence - 06/18/2018