TN 10 (02-21)

DI 23020.050 Disability Determination Services (DDS) Instructions for Identifying, Developing, and Processing Military Casualty/Wounded Warrior (MC/WW) Cases

MC/WW cases are identified as priority cases under DI 23020.001 and are given priority processing through all levels of case development and adjudication. Receipt and assignment of MC/WW cases are expedited at the DDS.

A. Identifying MC/WW claims

MC/WW is a claim involving any current or former member of a military service who:

  • sustained an illness, injury, or wound while on active duty status on or after October 1, 2001; and

  • alleges a physical or mental impairment, regardless of how the impairment occurred, or where it occurred (i.e., United States or on foreign soil).

B. Receipting, flagging, documenting, and processing MC/WW cases

1. MC/WW case receipt and assignment

  • Receipt the case within two business days of field office (FO) transfer (seven business days for non-certified electronic folders).

  • Assign the case to an adjudicator for review by the next business day.

2. Flag MC/WW cases

a. Certified electronic folder (CEF)

If the FO has not added an MC/WW flag to the case, see the instructions on adding the flag, Certified Electronic Folder (CEF) Flags in DI 81020.085.

b. Paper modular disability folder (MDF)

For MDF cases not flagged by the FO, attach a printable flag to the front of the folder. For a printable flag, see the Exhibit of MC/WW Flag in DI 11005.006I and click the link for “View PDF Version.”

3. MC/WW case development and processing procedures

a. Medical development and documentation

  1. 1. 

    Fully address and develop all physical and mental allegations, including any possible impairment(s), either referenced or implied in any of the medical evidence, or other evidence in the claimant’s file. However, adjudicators may discontinue development at the point when a fully favorable allowance determination can be made. Refer to DI 24505.030E for additional instructions regarding this expedited processing.

  2. 2. 

    When requesting medical records from a Military Health System, follow these instructions:

    • For Developing Medical Evidence of Record (MER) from Military Health Sources, see DI 22505.023, and

    • For Developing Medical Evidence of Record (MER) from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Medical Facilities, see DI 22505.022.

  3. 3. 

    Properly complete all required disability assessment forms.

b. Work development and documentation

  • Work activity is primarily the responsibility of the FO. However, DDS is responsible for reviewing the FO documentation to ensure they documented the work activity appropriately. If not, DDS should contact the FO for clarification.

  • DDS is responsible for the documentation when work activity is clearly not substantial gainful activity (SGA). For guidance, see Clearly Not SGA in section DI 10501.025, and for Special Employment Situations, see DI 10505.025.

c. Activities of daily living (ADL) development and documentation

Obtain information about the claimant’s ADLs to determine the functional effects of the physical and mental impairment(s) on the claimant’s ability to work.

  1. 1. 

    ADLs with mental impairment allegations

    ADLs are important in developing claims involving mental impairments, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Adjudicators should be alert to the possibility of PTSD and TBI conditions even if they are not alleged. For information on developing claims involving mental impairments, refer to the following sections:

    • DI 34001.032 Mental Disorders,

    • DI 24583.005 Evaluating Mental Impairments Using the Psychiatric Review Technique (PRT)

  2. 2. 

    ADLs with physical impairment allegations

    ADLs are particularly useful in assessing how well a claimant with a traumatic injury is functioning at the time of the disability determination. For claims involving amputations(s), adjudicators should fully document the claimant’s ability or inability to use prosthetic devices effectively.

    For additional information when developing ADLs with physical impairment allegations, refer to Evaluating Lay Evidence in DI 24515.012.

  3. 3. 

    Third-party ADLs

    The development of third-party ADLs is highly encouraged in all cases, especially those involving mental impairments and traumatic injuries. For guidance, see the following sections:

    • DI 22511.011 Contacting Claimants and Collateral Sources,

    • DI 22511.007 Sources of Evidence, and

    • DI 22511.013 Technical Requirements When Securing Collateral Evidence.

d. Obtain the permanent address of the claimant

Many of these military service members may be in transit and their addresses may have changed since the FO received their claims. For additional information on jurisdiction, see Disability Determination Services (DDS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) Jurisdictions for Initial and Subsequent Cases in DI 20101.001.

e. Evaluating closed periods of disability

Be alert to the possibility of a closed period of disability as many of these claimants could have extended hospital and rehabilitation stays.

For additional information on closed periods of disability, see the following POMS sections:

4. Form SSA-831 (Disability Determination and Transmittal) completion

Follow regular processing instructions for completion of the SSA-831-C3/U3 in sections DI 26510.001 through DI 26510.095. For blindness cases, see completion of the SSA-831-U5 in sections DI 26010.001 through DI 26010.070. In addition, enter a listing code of 108 in item 26 of the SSA-831 for all MC/WW cases.

5. Denied MC/WW cases

While not mandatory, it is recommended that all denied MC/WW cases receive a special review by the DDS Quality Assurance Unit or unit supervisor.

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DI 23020.050 - Disability Determination Services (DDS) Instructions for Identifying, Developing, and Processing Military Casualty/Wounded Warrior (MC/WW) Cases - 01/07/2014
Batch run: 10/24/2023