TN 19 (05-07)

GN 01070.420 Modes of Requesting Assistance

A. High priority requests

High Priority requests are generally done by telephone. See GN 01070.410A. If a request for assistance meets the “High Priority” standards in GN 01070.400B, but it is not possible to use the telephone, the following applies:

  • E-mail the request to the appropriate field office. Include as appropriate:

    1. 1. 

      Notification that a fax will be sent. Include a cover sheet telling the receiving office what is coming over their fax, from whom, the number of pages, etc.

    2. 2. 

      An explanation of the development request (and why we could not use the telephone).

    3. 3. 

      Any attachments necessary.

  • Manager-to-Manager (M2M) web application --Managers in Field Offices, Processing Centers, and National 800 Number Network (N8NN) sites may use this method. See GN 01070.228A.5. 

B. Non priority development requests

Utilize DIRCON (direct contact with the claimant or a third party) whenever possible, bypassing the FO. See GN 01070.305. It is only necessary to develop through the FO when the FO can provide a service or access information that the PC cannot, where DIRCON has been attempted and was unsuccessful, or where the FO is responsible for making a final determination on the issue (such as a representative payee determination).

If FO development is necessary, Spikes use the MDW. See MSOM MDW 001.001.

PCs request development from FOs via PCACS Request for Assistance. See MSOM PCACS 009.005. This establishes a diary.

C. Guidelines for PCACS request for assistance

Utilize the PCACS Request for Assistance for all initial routine development requests to the FO if a reply is expected.

  • Send the request via PCACS.

  • The PCACS Request for Assistance includes a space for a PC phone number that the FO can contact if additional information is required. If a reply by fax would be appropriate, include the PSC fax number in the text of the request. 

  • Show two or three key-words at the start of the text of requests made via PCACS, describing the development issue. This assists the FO in assigning the request to the proper discipline.

  • Provide procedural references to justify the development.

  • Advise the FO if DIRCON has been attempted.  If it wasn't, explain why not.  If it was, briefly outline the actions taken previously to secure the information and the outcome of those attempts.  This will make it clear to the FO that procedures have been followed and cut back on FO complaints about PC technicians not using DIRCON when appropriate.

  • Include in the text a request that the FO update the PDW1 (development worksheet screen) to indicate status and electronically annotate the evidence obtained to the EVID (evidence screen), if appropriate. Suggested language is: “To avoid needless follow-ups, please update PDW1 with status of development and show completed development on EVID if appropriate.” This language can easily be programmed as a macro in NS Elite.

  • Make the second and subsequent follow-ups on routine requests by telephone as opposed to PCACS or fax. Actual person-to-person communication can be more effective than an electronic message.

  • Use the MDW when the PC needs to transfer information or instructions to the FO, but does not need to control for a reply.

  • If the claimant has appointed a representative, the district office servicing the area of the principle claimant is the resident office GN 00904.048.

On Paperless issues, prepare a comment for the ACR with the tickle/due date followed by the reason for HOLD.  Use the date for follow up if a response has not been received (the request’s formal due date minus 30 days). This will allow the user an opportunity to extend the request diary before it matures.

Prepare the Request for Assistance.  Use the “Related Action Record” fields indicating the SSNX of your ACR. Use the HOLD date plus 30 days as the due date.  The longer period will allow the user to send a follow up or call the other party and extend the date of the diary as needed. Simply extending the diary WILL NOT send a new message to the field, and extending a matured diary will simply create a new diary record linked to the ACR of the extended diary.  Taking an extension action of the due date before maturity will also prevent the generation of an unnecessary diary alert. Send the source ACR on HOLD to the unit's DHF DEV. When the HOLD date is reached or a reply is received, the ACR will be routed by the system according to the HOLD instruction.

D. Administrative messages

The administrative message screen should not be used for PC development requests.

E. FAX communications

Use FAX if paper attachments are involved and not electronic files. Use in conjunction with e-mail or phone.

F. Development guide



Basic Rules for Development


Check all available electronic sources to determine if the information might have been already obtained: MBR; EVID screen under SHARED PROCESSES; common E/E, GPO, and WC/PDB screens; PCACS; other online queries (DEQY, MCS, MDW); and paperless.


Utilize DIRCON whenever possible.

  • Attempt phone contact first.

  • After two unsuccessful attempts, use DIRCON mail.

  • Enclose the proper reply envelope:

    white for beneficiaries, blue for third parties

Clearly state what info is needed and why.

Use PCACS Request for Assistance for all initial routine requests to FOs if a reply is expected.

If FO action is required, consider contacting the claimant by

phone and scheduling an appointment.

Diary Procedure (general)

  • The technician making the request is responsible for the input of the diary.

  • If PCACS is used for follow-up, a new Request for Assistance must be prepared.

  • High-priority requests made via PCACS should be sent to DHF.

Stand-alone vs. related diaries

  • Stand-alone diaries

  • Related (linked or hooked) diaries

  • Special considerations when a separate ACR exists to track attorney-fee payment

  • Paper actions vs. paperless actions

  • Chart to summarize PCACS diaries

FO Diaries

FO-Prepared Diaries - Diary Alert Received in the PC

  • Development to begin at a future time

  • Development relates to issues other than pending leads or claims

  • Development relates to a pending claim or claims lead

Follow-Up Timeframes

High-priority development requests are limited to the following situations:

  • Award and disallowance situations

  • Start and stop payment actions

  • Appeal situations

  • Congressional inquiries

  • Public relations problems


Follow-up timeframes are as follows:

  • High-priority: first follow-up is 20 days after initial request, then 10 days, subsequent follow-up at 15-day intervals

  • Routine requests: 60 days after initial request, subsequent follow-ups at 30-day intervals

Follow-ups at the third level or higher are done by managers.

MDW Guide

  • If you are providing information to another SSA office and neither want nor expect a reply, use the MDW process.

  • If you are a Spike requesting assistance from the Field Office, use the MDW. (Use NEW for the UNIT, and ADM for the CATEGORY.)

  • Regular PC technicians requesting information from a Field Office who expect and need a reply, use PCACS Request for Assistance.

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
GN 01070.420 - Modes of Requesting Assistance - 10/14/2011
Batch run: 06/02/2014