Processing Center personnel should utilize DIRCON whenever possible, bypassing the
Field Office (FO). It is only necessary to develop through the FO when face to face
contact is required or where the FO is responsible for making a final determination
on the issue (such as a representative payee determination).
When reference is made to mail direct contact, it refers only to regular mail delivered
by the U.S. Postal Service, not e-mail. Per GN 03325.020B., SSNs and other personally identifiable information may be transmitted by e-mail
for official business purposes only within SSA’s Microsoft Outlook/Exchange infrastructure.
This includes all SSA field offices, headquarters facilities, Program Service Centers
and Regional Offices, as well as trusted partners such as the State Disability Determination
offices that are listed in SSA’s Microsoft Outlook Global Address List, and the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Sending SSNs or other personally identifiable
information via e-mail outside of SSA’s Network (i.e., into a commercial e-mail system
that is not encrypted and thus not secure) is prohibited.
A pending initial claim or allowance upon appeal is not by itself a reason to develop
through the FO. The PC can make phone calls or written requests for evidence just
as effectively as the local office.