Identification Number:
EM-20028 REV 3
Intended Audience:All RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs
Originating Office:DCO OPSOS
Title:Disaster Procedures – In-Office Visitor Screening During COVID-19 – One Time Instruction
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:See Reference at the end of this EM.
 

Retention Date: February 09, 2022

Summary of Changes:
This EM replaces all prior versions. This update:
Revises Section A:
    · Remove terminology ‘dire need’ and replace with link to the instructions for Express Interviews.

Revises Section B:
    · Update language to exempt international land travel from the 14-day screening requirement.
Purpose:
The purpose of this Emergency Message (EM) is to provide guidance on screening in-office visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A. Limited In-Person Interviewing
In-person interviews must be conducted by appointment only and should be restricted to situations described in EM-21041, Express Interviews for Evidence and Enumeration Actions, and EM-20010 SEN REV 7, Disaster Procedures – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic.


B. Scheduling an Appointment (Managers or Designated Staff)
Managers or designated staff are the only individuals authorized to schedule in-office appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic. When scheduling the in-office appointment, managers and designated staff must perform the following actions:

1. Remind the individual that only the individual and if necessary, someone assisting the individual should enter the office. Other visitors are not permitted.
2. Inform the individual that all visitors to Social Security Administration (SSA) offices must wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose while in the SSA facility.

      We will provide a face covering to any visitor that arrives for an appointment without one.

      NOTE: Exceptions to the face covering policy include visitors under 2 years old and people who cannot wear one, generally for medical reasons. If the visitor individual reports being unable to wear a face covering, management will make alternative service plans.
3. Inform the individual that you will perform a screening with them now, but they will need to review the posted signage when they arrive and complete the screening process again before entering the building.

4. Inform the individual that they cannot enter the building if they have any of these symptoms; cannot meet the screening criteria; or feel ill in any way.

    5. Continue with the screening for the individual and the person assisting the individual during the visit, if applicable.

      Let the individual know that you will read a series of questions, and at the end, you will need to know if any, but not which specific ones(s), apply to them.
        a. Do you have any of the following symptoms?
            § Cough or sore throat
            § Fever (100.4 degrees or higher)
            § Chills
            § Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
            § Muscle pain or body aches
            § Headache
            § New loss of taste or smell
            § Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
        b. In the last 14 days, have you:
            § Been diagnosed with COVID-19;
            § Received instructions to monitor for symptoms or self-quarantine;
            § Traveled outside the country by means other than land travel, such as car, bus, ferry, or train; or
            § Been within 6 feet of a person who was diagnosed with COVID-19?

        IMPORTANT: Do not record or maintain responses to these questions. Individuals are not required to provide details regarding their responses, and you may not ask for details.

    6. If the individual responds “Yes” to any of these questions, the manager may not schedule the interview.

        NOTE: It is imperative that we still provide service for individuals who have an appointment but are not able to proceed with their appointment due to having COVID-19 symptoms, or other outlined conditions. You must work with those individuals to ensure we provide service in a safe and healthy manner.

    7. If the individual responds “No” to all these questions, the manager will:
          a. Verify the individual’s contact information.
          b. Set up an appointment for the visit.

        NOTE: Appointments must be staggered to comply with social distancing guidelines.
          c. Offer the individual an option for a touchless way to check-in via VIPr Mobile when they arrive to the office on the day of their appointment. If they opt-in, send them an email or text via eMailer.
              i. Remind the visitor to take a screenshot of their ticket number, once issued.
              ii. Advise visitor to complete the check-in process, upon their arrival at the building entrance.
          d. Inform the individual to contact you to reschedule the appointment, or make alternate arrangements for service, if they should experience any of the symptoms you discussed or if they feel ill in any way.

    Closing Paragraph:
    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 Disaster Procedures – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic

    MSS21-012 VIPr Visitor Intake Process-Rewrite (VIPr) – VIPr Mobile Check-in

    EM-21041 Express Interviews for Evidence and Enumeration Actions

    EM-20028 REV 3 - Disaster Procedures – In-Office Visitor Screening During COVID-19 – One Time Instruction - 08/09/2021