TN 1 (02-11)

DI 23515.005 Disability Determination Services Receipt, Development, and Evaluation of Non-Citizen Cases


Social Security Act, Sec. 1621(f) (1)
Regulations — 20 CFR Sec. 416.1166a (d) (3)

A. Policy on deeming and medical determination for non-citizen cases

When non-citizens apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), they are deemed with the income and resources of their immigration sponsor(s) and the sponsor’s spouse for a period of 3 years after admission into the U.S., unless they become blind or disabled after admission to the U.S. for permanent residence, or a sponsor-to-alien deeming exception applies.

The Disability Determination Services (DDS) makes medical determinations on cases submitted by the field office when the claimant:

  • Meets 1619(b) eligibility;

  • Elects to change the type of claim category (multi-category case); or

  • Is subject to alien-sponsor deeming.

NOTE: The deeming exception does not apply to most individuals who are admitted into the U.S. under “new” affidavits of support, as described in Sponsor-to-Alien Deeming (1996-1997 Legislation) (See SI 00502.200A.2.)

B. Identifying non-citizen and non-citizen age 65 and over cases

1. Electronic claims:

Check eView (or the DDS case processing system) for a special case handling flag (See, DI 81010.080 and DI 81001.035D).

2. Paper claims

Check item 11 of the SSA-831-U3 (Disability Determination and Transmittal) for the remark “Non-citizen Case - Date of U.S. Admission (date)” or “Title XVI Aged Non-Citizen Case - Blindness/Disability Alleged - Systems Limitation.”

3. Age 65 or over claims

Suppress the NDDSS systems input to the Social Security Ruling by using system override Code “C” and send the decision to the field office (FO).

C. Determining onset of blindness or disability for non-citizens

To determine if the medical onset of blindness or disability occurred before or after entry into the U.S.:

  • Request medical evidence of record (MER) from foreign sources only when the source(s) treated the claimant during the 12-month period preceding the application filing date, and a fully favorable determination cannot be made based on evidence from domestic sources (including the medical records in the files of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

  • Send MER requests from foreign sources directly to the source or obtain assistance from the Office of International Operations (OIO).

D. Disability Determination Services onset development for Sponsor-to-Non-citizen Deeming Claims

1. Onset after U.S. admission for permanent residence

An exact onset date is required when onset is established after admission into the U.S. for permanent residence. Use the medical onset date, rather than the filing date, as the established onset date.

2. Onset before U.S. admission for permanent residence

When the onset is established before admission into the U.S. for permanent residence, and the medical evidence does not pinpoint a precise date, use any date prior to the date of admission.

E. Developing evidence through the Office of International Operations for non-citizens

The Office of International Operations (OIO) assists the DDS to develop MER from foreign sources around the world through the Department of State's embassies and consulates known as Foreign Service Posts (FSPs). When feasible, the DDS should request MER directly from the foreign source to reduce case processing time.

1. When to obtain medical evidence through OIO

Request medical evidence from OIO when the medical source is in a country where the Department of State maintains FSPs or there is some question about whether conditions will permit the DDS to develop MER through the Department of State or direct contact with the medical source (e.g., when there is political unrest or war).

2. What medical evidence to obtain from DHS

Obtain form OF-157 (Medical Examination of Visa Applicants) completed by a Department of Homeland Security panel physician in the foreign country consular district where the visa applicant resided, or Form I-486 (Medical Examination and Immigration Interview) completed when a non-citizen applies to DHS for permanent resident and is already in the U.S.

3. How to request medical evidence through DHS

  • Send a DDS letter along with a completed SSA-827 (Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration) to the DHS district office servicing the State where the claimant resides.

  • Send a follow-up letter if you do not receive the requested evidence within 20 calendar days from the initial request.

For additional instructions, see DI 81020.100 – Electronic Assistance Requests

F. Medical and vocational evaluation in non-citizen cases

See DI 25015.025 for medical and vocational evaluation instructions used in assessing disability in individuals age 65 or older.

See DI 23515.005D for onset instructions if sponsor-to-non-citizen deeming is involved.

G. Preparing development Assistance Requests (AR) in non-citizen cases

1. Electronic requests

  • Complete an SSA-883-U3 (Request for Evidence of Assistance Disability Case) and electronically transmit it to OIO;

  • Ensure there is an image of a signed SSA-827 (Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration) in the certified electronic folder (CEF), when needed to process the AR.

NOTE: Due to system limitations, if the DDS has a local image repository, all categorized material must be printed and sent to the receiving office. The following DDSs have local repositories: Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and New York.

2. Written requests

Complete an SSA-883-U3 and send to:

Office of International Operations
Division of International Operations
International Disability Unit
P.O. Box 17787
Baltimore, Maryland 21235
  • Indicate in the body of the SSA-883-U3 what information is needed, and provide a complete mailing address for the foreign MER source;

  • Attach a fully completed and signed SSA-827to the SSA-883-U3 for each foreign MER source.

    NOTE: Foreign sources need the information on the SSA-827 to locate the claimant's medical records.

  • Apply the rules for extending the usual “reasonable effort” timeframe for follow up on requests for evidence from particular sources (DI 22505.035)

  • Document the development worksheet with the follow up efforts (DI 20503.001);

  • Follow up with OIO prior to 100 days from the date of the initial request for assistance; and

  • Apply SSI provisions for substantial gainful activity and blindness.

For additional instructions, see DI 81020.100 – Electronic Assistance Requests

3. Paper documentation is associated with the AR:

  • Add a message to the CEF to alert OIO that paper documentation is associated with the AR;

  • Indicate on the SSA-883-U3 that paper documentation is being sent to OIO;

  • Mail the paper documentation to OIO after electronically sending the AR;

Upon receipt, OIO processes the request, updates the electronic folder and transmits an alert to the initiating office.

H. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is unable to secure records

If DHS is unable to obtain the requested medical evidence, obtain domestic medical evidence (if applicable), and purchase a consultative examination. Consider making a fully favorable determination, depending on the claimant’s impairment.

I. Disclosure to the Department of Homeland Security

SSA must disclose certain enumeration, identity and location information when requested by the Secretary of DHS or a DHS official, duly authorized by him or her, in accordance with section 290(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The local DHS offices send their requests for information to the DHS, United States Citizen, and Immigration Services District Director in Baltimore, who forwards them to the Office of Central Operation for processing. (See GN 03313.095).

J. References

DI 23515.010C, Exhibit 1, Model Language for DDS Letter to DHS

DI 23515.010C, Exhibit 2, Disability Determination Notice – Non Citizens Age 65 and Older

DI 23515.010C, Exhibit 3 Map of DHS Regional and District Areas

DI 23515.010C, Exhibit 4, DHS regional

DI 23515.010C, Exhibit 5, DHS Servicing Offices by State

DI 23515.010C, Exhibit 6, DHS District Offices

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DI 23515.005 - Disability Determination Services Receipt, Development, and Evaluation of Non-Citizen Cases - 02/24/2011
Batch run: 01/15/2019