Identification Number:
SI 00601 TN 34
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP OISP
Title:General Applications and Interviewing Policy
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part SI – Supplemental Security Income
Chapter 006 – The SSI Application Process
Subchapter 01 – General Applications and Interviewing Policy
Transmittal No. 34, 08/11/2020

Audience

OCO-OEIO: CR, FCR, FDE, RECONE;
OCO-ODO: CR, CST, CTE, CTE TE;
FO/TSC: CS, CS TXVI, CSR, CTE, DRT, FR, OA, TA, TSC-CSR;

Originating Component

OISP

Effective Date

08/11/2020

Background

This is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure.

 

Summary of Changes

SI 00601.025 Protective Filing - Oral Inquiry

Throughout the section, we replaced language referring to the 800# Appointment Referral System with the enhanced Leads and Appointment System (eLAS).

Subsection C: We updated Field Office and Teleservice Center position titles throughout the examples. Specifically, we:

  • Replaced service representative (SR) with customer service representative (CSR)

  • Replaced claims representative (CR) with claims specialist (CS)

 

SI 00601.030 Documenting Oral Inquiries

Throughout the section, we replaced language referring to the 800# Appointment Referral System with the enhanced Leads and Appointment System (eLAS).

 

SI 00601.037 Closing Out Leads and Protective Filings

Throughout the section, we replaced language referring to the 800# Appointment Referral System with the enhanced Leads and Appointment System (eLAS).

Subsection D: We updated Field Office and Teleservice Center position titles throughout the subsections. Specifically, we:

  • Replaced service representative (SR) with customer service representative (CSR)

  • Replaced claims representative (CR) with claims specialist (CS)

SI 00601.025 Protective Filing - Oral Inquiry

CITATIONS: 20 CFR 416.345

A. Definition

An oral inquiry is a discussion about supplemental security income (SSI) eligibility for a specific person, which occurs at a place or with a person, listed in GN 00204.006. (See SI 00601.012 for proper applicant policy.)

EXCEPTION: If the potential claimant is receiving a title II benefit amount that precludes SSI eligibility and any federally administered State supplement, the inquiry is not an oral inquiry. However, if the title II beneficiary is under age 65, alleges disability/blindness and is working or interested in going to work, treat the SSI inquiry as an oral inquiry since potential eligibility exists under a work incentive plan, i.e., Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) or Ticket to Work (see DI 55055.001 for ticket to work and other work related incentives.).

B. Policy -- Criteria

The date of an oral inquiry may serve as the filing date for SSI benefits if the following criteria are met:

  • The potential claimant is alive at the time the inquiry is made.

    NOTE: 

    If the claimant dies before an application is filed, see GN 00204.005 for the policy requirements and SI 00601.040B. for the notice requirements.

  • A valid SSI application is filed within 60 days after the date of the closeout notice.

    NOTE: 

    A recorded telephone message which meets the above definition and criteria is an oral inquiry. (See GN 00204.011C.1. for documentation requirements.)

An inquiry about rescheduling an application appointment does not meet the criteria of an oral inquiry.

C. Examples

Example 1: Clyde Darrow is age 68. He telephones the field office (FO) on 2/15 to ask about SSI payments for himself. The claims specialist (CS) documents his protective filing date (2/15) in the enhanced Leads and Appointment System (eLAS). Mr. Darrow chooses to visit the FO the same day and completes and signs a SSI application. Since the oral inquiry date and the date the application was taken in the FO are the same day, the filing date is 2/15.

Example 2: Sam Smith is age 70. He telephones the FO on 2/9 to ask about SSI payments for himself. The CS documents his protective filing date in eLAS. Mr. Smith visited the FO on 3/18 and filed his application. In this situation, use 2/9, the date of the oral inquiry as the application filing date. Using the protective filing date is important because it gives Mr. Smith the earliest possible filing date and full appeal rights back to the date he first contacted SSA about filing for SSI benefits.

Example 3: Will Farrow attains age 65 on 3/11. He is not blind or disabled. His social worker telephones the FO on 2/13 to inquire about SSI payments for him. Mr. Farrow visits the FO and completes and signs a SSI application on 3/3. Use 3/11, the date Mr. Farrow attains age 65, as his filing date. When the application filing date is before the date of attainment of age 65, the date the claimant attains age 65 must be input into the system as the filing date. Mr. Farrow is eligible in March (E02 month). Payments will begin 4/1. (See SI 00601.009B.2. for the coding instructions.)

Example 4: Mr. Mann calls the 800 Number on 4/5 to inquire about benefits for his neighbor, Mr. Norwood. Mr. Norwood is disabled and needs help to meet his living expenses. The customer service representative (CSR) explores eligibility for all benefits including SSI. Since a potential loss of SSI benefits exists, the CSR documents the date of the oral inquiry, 4/5, and notifies the FO the same day to obtain an application from Mr. Norwood. The valid application is taken and received in the FO on 5/2. The FO will use the date of Mr. Mann's oral inquiry, 4/5, as the application filing date.

Example 5: Ms. Roth calls the 800 Number on 10/1 to inquire about filing for SSI disability benefits. The CSR documents the date of the inquiry 10/1 in eLAS and schedules a teleclaim appointment for 10/15. The application is taken that date and sent to Ms. Roth for her signature. The application is received in the FO on 10/30. The application filing date is 10/01. Since Ms. Roth is eligible in October (E02 month), benefits will begin 11/1. (See SI 00601.015B for when the protective filing date is material.)

D. Policy - Scope of an Oral Inquiry

The scope of an oral inquiry is determined when the title XVI application is subsequently filed.

Anyone named on the title XVI application who is age 65 or older or will attain age 65 within the evaluation period, or is blind, or disabled, and was living in the same household when the claimant’s oral inquiry was established, is protected as of that date. However, if the individual named was not living with the claimant on the claimant’s oral inquiry date, but is living with the claimant when he/she is named on the application, establish a written statement of intent to file as of the date the individual is named on the application if the criteria in SI 00601.020A are met.

Current and former spouses that are named on the claimant’s application do not have to meet the “living with” criteria to be protected as of the claimant’s application filing date.

E. Policy - Documentation

An oral inquiry must be documented in accordance with SI 00601.030.

F. References

SI 00601.030 Documenting Oral Inquiries

CITATIONS:

20 CFR 416.345

A. Policy

1. Requirement

An oral inquiry must be documented when received.

EXCEPTION: If an earlier protective filing date exists and a closeout notice was not issued, the earlier protective filing date is open. Therefore, there is no need to document a subsequent oral inquiry.

2. Field Office (FO) Documentation

The FO uses the enhanced Leads and Appointment System (eLAS) to document the oral inquiry.

3. Teleservice Center (TSC) Documentation

The TSC uses eLAS or Administrative Message to document the oral inquiry.

4. Other Documentation

  1. a. 

    If there is no record of an eLAS Worksheet, Claims Referral Screen or Administrative Message, other evidence can be accepted that an oral inquiry occurred on a particular day, e.g.,

    • written documentation of a CS's or CSR's recollection,

    • Consolidated Modernized Development Worksheet entry,

    • copy of a closeout notice,

    • copy of a teleclaim application, or

    • copy of an appointment confirmation notice.

  2. b. 

    If evidence of an earlier protective filing date exists in another FO and no systems record exists, the servicing FO must contact that FO to obtain the paper documentation.

5. Retention Period

SI 00601.015C. contains the policy on retaining protective filing documentation.

B. References

SI 00601.037 Closing Out Leads and Protective Filings

A. Policy — leads

A lead must be pursued promptly to avoid any potential loss of benefits. Leads are considered unproductive after all efforts to secure an application are exhausted. (See GN 00202.001 for the definition of a lead and GN 00202.020 through GN 00202.040 and SI 00601.037C. for processing leads.)

NOTE: See instructions in GN 00204.055E.3.c for claimants who answer “yes” to the intent to file for SSI question on the internet (iClaim) application.

B. Policy — protective filings

Protective filings must be closed out or the filing protection will remain open indefinitely.

1. Protective writings

The policy on closing out protective writings is in GN 00204.012. Also, see SI 00601.037B.3. for the policy on when to issue a closeout notice, GN 00203.016B.5. for protective filing closeout in iAppt and SI 00601.040 for the notice requirements.

2. Oral inquiries

An oral inquiry must be closed out by:

  • filing a valid application, or

  • issuing a closeout notice (see SI 00601.037B.3. for when to issue a closeout notice).

    NOTE: Follow instructions in GN 00204.055E.3 for claimants who had an appointment scheduled to apply for disability and he or she subsequently completed an internet (iClaim) application stating he or she does not wish to file for SSI.

3. When to issue a closeout notice

A protective filing should be closed out by issuing a closeout notice when:

  1. a. 

    the inquirer does not wish to file, e.g., the application appointment is cancelled and the inquirer no longer wishes to file,

  2. b. 

    an oral inquiry occurs and the claimant does not wish to file (see SI 00601.040C.2. for the notice requirements),

  3. c. 

    the claimant dies after making a written statement or oral inquiry and a parent or spouse is potentially eligible for the underpayment (see SI 02101.003 for the policy on who may receive an SSI underpayment),

  4. d. 

    an oral inquiry or written statement of intent to file is received and you were unable to schedule an application appointment (see SI 00601.037D.5. for development steps before issuing the notice),

  5. e. 

    the original application appointment or first rescheduled appointment was missed or cancelled, the inquirer did not reschedule and you were unable to reschedule the appointment (see SI 00601.037D.5. for the development steps before issuing the notice),

  6. f. 

    The caller reschedules the appointment a second time,

    CAUTION: enhanced Leads and Appointment System (eLAS) retains only the last two appointment dates. Therefore, if there is a date in the prior date field, that date must be copied in remarks before rescheduling an appointment. Also, if the rescheduled appointment is field office (FO) initiated, the remarks field must contain that annotation after the appointment date since the policy in SI 00601.037B.3. applies only when the caller reschedules an appointment a second time.

  7. g. 

    teleclaim is taken and sent to the applicant for signature, or

  8. h. 

    a title II application is filed which serves as an oral inquiry about SSI and the claimant does not wish to file for title XVI benefits. See GN 00204.055E.3 or SI 00601.027B.2 regarding SSI protective filing closeout when an iClaim application is filed.

4. Document closeout

If a manual closeout notice must be issued for an established protective filing in eLAS , the date the notice is issued must be entered in the REC field for the title XVI closeout issue on the Worksheet (MS 00601.013 ).

NOTE: There is no need to keep a copy of the eLAS Worksheet as documentation of the protective filing date for applications taken in MSSICS because the protective filing date is propagated from eLAS into the MSSICS application. If an automated SSA-L991 notice was issued, the date it was issued is also propagated to the MSSICS application.

If the claim is taken in MSSICS and an automated application cover notice is printed, the DW01 screen T16 CO issue REC field must be annotated with the date the closeout notice is issued. If a paper application is taken, the remarks section of the application must contain the annotation that an SSA-L305 or SSA-L8024 notice was issued and the date it was issued.

If a manual closeout notice must be issued to closeout the protective filing for someone named on the title XVI application, the MSSICS remarks field or paper application remarks field must be documented to show the name of the individual, the closeout notice issued and the date it was issued.

NOTE: Use the Document Processing System (DPS) or eLAS to issue a SSA-L991. If the automated SSA-L991 is used, a copy of the notice is sent to ORS. DPS is the preferred vehicle for issuing manual protective filing closeout notices because DPS contains a check block for sending a copy of the notice to the Online Retrieval System (ORS) where it will be retained for 7 years.

If the title II application serves as an oral inquiry for SSI, see GN 00201.005E.2. and GN 00201.005F.2. for the documentation requirements.

The protective filing period for written statements and oral inquiries is 60 days after the date of the closeout notice. There are no provisions to extend this time period based on “good cause” for late filing or mail time when an application is returned to SSA through the United States mail.

If interim assistance reimbursement (IAR) is involved and closeout language is included on the IAR authorization form, the closeout period ends 60 days after the date the IAR authorization is signed at the State agency.

EXCEPTIONS: When the 60th day falls on a nonworkday, the protective filing period ends with the following workday.

In situations where a prior closeout notice was issued and an application is completed within the 60-day protective filing period but must be sent to the applicant for signature, the claims interviewer must explain to the applicant that if he/she returns the signed application within the first 60-day period, we will use the date he/she first contacted us as the filing date. If the application is received after this date, but within the second 60-day closeout period on the SSA-L305-U3 or the SSA-L8024-U3, we will use the second contact date as the filing date.

If an automated SSA-L991 is issued, the closeout date will be 74 days from the date of oral inquiry which allows about 14 days for the outside contractor's handling, printing and distribution of the notices. The claimant will receive the notice 60 days before the closeout date shown in the notice.

REMINDER: Interviewers should make every effort to reschedule an appointment within the protective filing period. If the next available appointment does not allow for processing a teleclaim, the interviewer should schedule an in-office appointment within the protective filing period. If it is not possible to do so, contact local FO management to facilitate an immediate claim or advise the claimant to visit the local FO without an appointment.

5. Earlier protective filing open

A protective filing should not be documented/closed out when an earlier protective filing date is open, i.e., no closeout notice was issued. The earlier protective filing date is controlling.

NOTE: You must create a new Worksheet in eLAS when a subsequent oral inquiry occurs, a closeout notice was issued on an existing eLAS protective filing and the protective filing closeout period has not expired. Creating a new Worksheet will enable the system to control the disposition of the subsequent oral inquiry.

EXAMPLE: On 11/10, Mr. Thompson calls SSA's 800 number and inquires about SSI eligibility. The customer service representative (CSR) documents the oral inquiry on the eLAS Worksheet and schedules an application appointment for 11/20. On 11/15, Ms. Jones calls the TSC to inquire about SSI benefits for her father, Mr. Thompson. Since Mr. Thompson's oral inquiry established an earlier protective filing date that had not yet been closed out, his oral inquiry is controlling. The CSR need not document Ms. Jones' oral inquiry. If Ms. Jones called the TSC after the closeout notice was issued, Ms. Jones' inquiry must be documented on a new eLAS Worksheet to prevent any possible loss of benefits should Mr. Thompson fail to file within the protective filing closeout period.

6. Sending forms when scheduling appointments

Depending on local procedures, once an application appointment is scheduled, forms other than the application may be sent to the applicant before the appointment, e.g., SSA-3368-BK, Disability Report. However, do not send a closeout notice at this time. See SI 00601.037B.3. for when to issue a closeout notice.

7. Application cover notice follow up copy

The follow-up copies of the application cover notices, SSA-L8024-U3 and SSA-L305-U3 are sent whenever the signed application is not returned within 15 days after the date of the notice. See SI 00601.040C.4. for the use and completion of these notices. Annotate the MSSICS remarks screen with the date the follow-up notice was issued. See SI 00601.040C.3. for additional documentation requirements.

NOTE: Do not revise the closeout date. The follow-up copy of the closeout notice must include the same closeout date as the original notice.

C. Procedure — lead closeout

See GN 00202.020 and SI 00601.037D.5. for the steps to take before disposing of unproductive leads.

D. Procedure — protective filing closeout

1. Protective writings

Schedule an appointment to take an application if the inquirer wishes to file. If you are unable to contact the claimant, follow SI 00601.037D.5.

2. Oral inquiries received in the national 800 number sites

a. Claimant appears eligible

If the claimant appears eligible and the inquirer wishes to file, make a claims referral to the FO and schedule an application appointment. If no appointment slot is available, refer the inquiry to the FO for appropriate action.

b. Claimant is clearly ineligible

If the claimant is clearly ineligible and the inquirer wishes to file, follow the abbreviated application (ABAP) instructions in TC 10005.050 of the Teleservice Center Operating Guide (TSCOG). Also, see SI 00602.001 through SI 00602.025 for the ABAP instructions and SI 00601.040 for the notice requirements when the application must be sent to the proper applicant for signature.

c. Inquirer does not wish to file

If the inquirer does not wish to file, issue an automated SSA-L991-U3 notice, which is available in eLAS. The reason for ineligible that must be included in the notice is that the claimant does not wish to file. If multiple reasons for ineligibility exist, document them in the remarks section of the worksheet.

If it is not possible to use the automated version, issue a manually prepared SSA-L991 in the DPS or a preprinted version. When using these versions, multiple reasons for ineligibility can be included in the notice, however, one of the reasons must be that the individual does not wish to file. If a DPS version is used, send a copy of the notice to ORS. See SI 00601.035B.4. for the documentation requirements.

3. Oral inquiries received in FO

a. Customer Service Representative (CSR)

  • Claimant appears eligible

    If the claimant appears eligible and the inquirer wishes to file, refer the inquirer to a claims specialist (CS) for an application. If a CS is unavailable and the individual does not wish to wait, schedule an appointment.

  • Claimant is clearly ineligible

    If the claimant is clearly ineligible and the inquirer wishes to file, take an ABAP. (See SI 00602.001 through SI 00602.025 for the instructions on completing ABAPs. See SI 00601.040 for the notice requirements when the application must be sent to the proper applicant for signature.)

  • Inquirer does not wish to file

    If the inquirer does not wish to file, issue a closeout notice. (See SI 00601.040C.2. for the notice requirements and SI 00601.037B.4. for the documentation requirements.)

b. Claims Specialist (CS)

  • Claimant appears eligible

    If the claimant appears eligible, take an application. (See SI 00601.040C.5. for the notice requirements if the application must be sent to the proper applicant for signature.)

  • Claimant is clearly ineligible

    If the claimant is clearly ineligible, take an ABAP. (See SI 00601.040C.5. for the notice requirements if the application must be sent to the proper applicant for signature.)

  • Inquirer does not wish to file

    If the inquirer does not wish to file, issue a closeout notice. (See SI 00601.040C.2. for the notice requirements.)

    NOTE: 

    If the individual files a title II application but does not want to file for title XVI benefits, see GN 00201.005E.2. and GN 00201.005F.2. for documenting the claimant's intent to file.

4. FO action on 800 number claims referrals

For 800 Number claim referrals:

  • contact the inquirer on the appointment date to take an application, or

  • schedule an appointment to take an application as soon as possible.

5. Unable to schedule appointment

Follow these steps before disposing an unproductive lead per SI 00601.037C. or protective filing per SI 00601.037B.

Step

Action

1

 

Contact the potential proper applicant promptly to determine if he or she wishes to file.

If you reach the individual and an oral inquiry occurs, follow the procedures in SI 00601.037D.2. or SI 00601.037D.3.

If you are unable to reach the potential proper applicant by telephone, and have a mailing address, promptly send a call/come in letter (form SSA-2708).

2

If the call/come in letter is returned undeliverable, or you are unsuccessful in contacting or locating the potential proper applicant, dispose of the lead and document the steps taken per GN 00202.020H.

E. References


SI 00601 TN 34 - General Applications and Interviewing Policy - 8/11/2020