GN BOS00301.037 SSA Access to State Records Online (SASRO) — Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) — (TN 2-97 — 07/2005)

A. Introduction

SSA has agreements with State agencies throughout the United States to obtain benefit and other information from their records online. CR/SR's have traditionally obtained this information by phone, paper, or fax requests. Online access means the adjudicator can access the information on the adjudicator's computer screen, thus decreasing telephone, fax, and mail traffic between SSA field offices and the State agencies.

SSA Boston Region has an agreement with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) allowing Social Security field office employees access to BEACON, the eligibility system of the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). Inquiry-only access to BEACON for SSA employees is through the electronic Transitional Assistance Gateway (eTAG). eTAG provides information about Temporary Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC), Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC), and Food Stamps clients in Massachusetts.

eTAG is available Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Employees in the Massachusetts and Woonsocket, RI, field offices have access to eTAG.

B. Process

1. PIN Issuance and De-Activation

EOHHS allows access to eTAG through a PIN and password system similar to that used by SSA. Access is limited to those employees who need to use the data to perform their jobs. Title XVI CRs, Generalist CRs, TEs, MSSs and OSs are the primary users. Each eTAG user receives an email notification with a user ID, temporary password, and a link to the Virtual Gateway login screen. At initial login the user changes the temporary password to a permanent password that will not expire. The user ID remains the same. More information on eTAG access is on BOSNet's Regional SASRO website for Massachusetts.

To register their employees, each field office manager must complete the form, “Virtual Gateway User Account Request Form.” The form is available electronically on BOSNet. The field office manager also must use the form to delete anyone who no longer needs access. Do not complete the signature and date line at the bottom of the form. Submit the “Virtual Gateway User Account Request Form” to the Boston Center for Programs Support at ||BOS CPS RSI SSI.

2. Disclosure/Confidentiality

The Federal Privacy Act and other disclosure regulations protect SASRO information (both custodial and collateral) in the same manner as other SSA records. Information obtained from the State must be treated in the same confidential manner as SSA data:

  • Treat the query information consistent with the requirements of the Social Security Act, the Federal Privacy Act, and applicable regulations.

  • Disclose information obtained from eTAG only in a manner consistent with applicable statutes and regulations.

  • Access to eTAG data is restricted to those authorized individuals who need the information to perform their official duties.

  • Civil and criminal sanctions for noncompliance contained in the applicable federal laws, including the Privacy Act and SSA regulations, apply.

3. Calling the Virtual Gateway Help Desk

The Virtual Gateway Help Desk accepts questions on access to eTAG from a limited number of SSA employees. When online access was initiated, each office provided the names of a primary and backup contact in each Massachusetts field office, who are the liaisons with the Virtual Gateway Help Desk. The Virtual Gateway Help Desk will not accept phone calls from anyone other than these individuals. FO staff should raise questions about using eTAG with the local office expert. If the local office expert is unable to resolve the issue, the designated liaison will contact the Virtual Gateway Help Desk at 1-800-421-0938.

Only management should notify the Virtual Gateway Help Desk of any changes in the designated individuals. Refer policy questions about how to use data obtained from eTAG for documentation purposes to the Center for Programs Support in the Boston Regional Office.

4. Accessing SASRO Data

Field office employees access eTAG through a link to the Virtual Gateway login screen provided by the State when they are approved for access. Use this link to create a Desktop Icon or Internet Favorite leading to eTAG.

5. Using SASRO Data

a. Background

Use DTA information to help determine the eligibility and payment of individuals for benefits under title XVI of the Social Security Act.

Two kinds of data are available through SASRO:

  • Custodial Data consists of records created and or maintained by the agency or official who is charged under law to safeguard records. SSA can use this information as verified, since it is from the custodian of the record.

  • Collateral Data is information available from an entity that is not the custodian of the record. For example, the TAFDC database may contain information about earned or unearned income from other sources. SSA cannot use this information as verified, since DTA is not the custodian of the record. Verify the information with the actual source of the income, if applicable.

b. eTAG Data Considered Verified (Custodial Data)

Consider the following information obtained from eTAG as verified (i.e., no further verification is necessary):

  • Receipt of TAFDC or EAEDC (to verify PA household per SI 00835.130B or to exclude TAFDC recipients from deeming computation per SI 01320.141),

  • Individuals in the Assistance Unit (AU),

  • Benefit amounts for TAFDC and Food Stamps, and

  • Termination dates of TAFDC and Food Stamps benefits.

Instructions for using SASRO to verify TANF amounts and termination dates in Massachusetts are in SI BOS00830.405. There is no requirement to verify that an individual does not have income from the DTA. (This type of verification is referred to as “negative verification.”)

c. eTAG Data Not Considered Verified (Collateral Data)

DTA information such as the following can assist interviewers in completing applications or redeterminations, but must be verified with other sources:

  • Other income or resources (e.g, wages, child support, unemployment compensation, etc.)

  • SSNs for household members,

  • Dates of birth for household members, and

  • Addresses and phone numbers for recipients of benefits from DTA.

d. How to Document SASRO Data

Document online verifications for MSSICS, MCS, and other SSA systems per current POMS and MSOM instructions (GN 00301.286 - GN 00301.290 Electronic Evidence Documentation and Retention). Follow existing POMS procedures in resolving discrepancies between evidence obtained online and the claimant's allegation.

When entering verification of custodial data obtained via eTAG into any of SSA's systems, the documentation should clearly indicate that data were obtained from an online query. In general, the data entered must contain sufficient audit trail information to support the determination. In addition to the pertinent data being documented, record the agency name (DTA) and system accessed (eTAG), the date of access, and the screen(s) where the information was located.

C. Training

The original training package and guides are available on the BOSNet Regional SASRO website for Massachusetts. The package describes the screens and the information that is available.

D. References

GN 00301.035 – Proofs from Other Government or State Agencies

GN 00301.286 – Electronic Evidence Documentation and Retention

SI BOS00830.405 – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - Massachusetts

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GN BOS00301.037 - SSA Access to State Records Online (SASRO) — Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) — (TN 2-97 — 07/2005) - 09/12/2022
Batch run: 09/12/2022