TN 40 (05-12)

GN 00301.060 Emergency Evidentiary Procedures

A. Policy on emergency evidentiary procedures

Occasionally it may be temporarily impossible to obtain Title II primary evidence or Title XVI prescribed evidence from an evidentiary source due to strike, fire, or other similar disturbances. If other types of preferred evidence are not available, and the expected duration of the emergency will exceed two weeks, you may partially adjudicate using emergency procedures and secondary evidence to process title II, title XVI, or title XVIII claims that require evidence of age, death, or other entitlement eligibility factors.

We will still require preferred evidence on a post-adjudicative basis. However, we will not disallow or deny a claim based only on secondary evidence when preferred evidence exists.

B. Procedure when requesting authorization for usage

1. Field Office (FO) request

  1. a. 

    If the evidence custodian is in the U.S. or Canada, request authorization to use emergency evidentiary procedures through the Office of the Regional Commissioner (ORC), Center for Program Support, where appropriate.

  2. b. 

    If the custodian is in a foreign country, make requests to the Office of International Operations.

2. The Office of the Regional Commissioner (ORC)

The ORC will contact the Office of Public Service and Operations Support (OPSOS), who will authorize the implementation of emergency evidentiary procedures.


  1. a. 

    Inform all FOs, the Office of Telephone Services, and Payment Centers that we are implementing emergency evidentiary procedures.

  2. b. 

    Advise the following offices, where appropriate, whenever these procedures are authorized:

    • Office of Central Operations (OCO); and

    • Office of Income Security Programs (OISP).

C. Emergency Evidentiary Procedure

Once authorized, affected SSA offices should use the following procedures:

1. Obtaining evidence

a. Primary evidence

Request the primary evidence from the FO parallel to the evidentiary source.

b. Secondary evidence

Develop in accordance with the following POMS instructions:

Special considerations in SSI claims:

  • Consider any SSI development or verification tolerances, such as tolerances on earned income development in SI 00820.140 or on liquid resources development in SI 01140.010.

  • Apply the SSI conditional payment provision on excess resources when appropriate, see SI 01150.200.

  • Authorize partial payment of benefits while we develop the potential for greater payment, when developing multiple category eligibility in states with federally administered State supplementation, see SI 00501.300A.

2. Purchasing secondary evidence

If we must pay a fee, consider that we meet the requirements for SSA purchase of evidence described in GN 00301.210.

3. Secondary evidence obtained and claimant entitled

Adjudicate and process the application as follows:

a. Title II claims

  • Diary the claim for receipt of primary evidence post-adjudicatively. For how to establish a diary, see GN 01040.005. For diary codes, see GN 01040.010.

  • Identify as “Emergency Evidentiary Procedure” case.

  • Advise the claimant on the award notice that we may revise the initial entitlement decision when we receive the primary or prescribed evidence.

b. Title XVI claims

  • Establish the 60-day control manually or input the “RT” diary code into the Supplemental Security Income system, see SM 01501.250.

  • Suppress the systems-generated notice.

  • Prepare a manual notice of payment decision (see SSA-L8025-U2, SSI Notice of Award) following the guidelines in NL 00802.010 through NL 00802.020 (along with all other appropriate paragraphs).

  • Advise the claimant on the award notice that we may revise the initial eligibility decision when we receive the primary or prescribed evidence.

4. Secondary evidence obtained and claimant is not entitled

Take the following actions:

  1. a. 

    Advise the claimant that eligibility does not appear to exist, and we will not make a formal determination until we receive the primary or prescribed evidence.

  2. b. 

    Hold the claim until we receive the primary or prescribed evidence, or until the custodian states there is no record.

  3. c. 

    Make a final decision based on the evidence at hand.

5. Secondary evidence unavailable or inadequate

If a claimant for retirement or survivor’s insurance (RSI) benefits appears to be eligible, clearly meets insured status, but secondary evidence to support entitlement is unavailable or inadequate, we deem the preliminary payment provisions described in RS 02807.001, RS 02807.005 and RS 02807.010 to apply.

6. Parallel FO

Maintain the servicing FO request for evidence until the end of the emergency then process the request as expeditiously as possible.

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GN 00301.060 - Emergency Evidentiary Procedures - 05/29/2012
Batch run: 12/01/2020