GN 00301: General Evidentiary Standards
TN 26 (09-08)
A. Background for submission, certification and retention of evidence
The policies described below pertain solely to how we store documentation. They do not change specific documentation requirements in other POMS sections nor do they change the general evidence policies in GN 00301.010 through GN 00301.115.
The claimant is still required to furnish us with acceptable evidence described in GN 00301.010B. as proof of an issue, entitlement or eligibility factor or SSI payment amount factor. Electronic evidence certified by the custodian of the record meets this requirement. The procedures for evaluation of evidence in GN 00301.015B. remain the same. The evidence must contain sufficient audit trail information as specified in GN 00301.015A.2.
B. Policy for retention of evidence
We retain evidence electronically in the Modernized Claims System (MCS), Modernized SSI Claims System (MSSICS), the Evidence (EVID) screen, or the Certified Electronic Folder (CEF). For faxing documents into the Certified Electronic Folder (CEF), see DI 81010.090.
1. Domestic document
A domestic document is one that:
pertains to an event that occurred in the United States (U.S.) as defined in GN 00303.100B.6. and was recorded in the U.S.; or
was issued by an U.S. Embassy or Consular Office, e.g., Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the U.S.
NOTE: Bilingual documents that are issued in the U.S. as defined in GN 00303.100B.6. are considered domestic records.
2. Foreign document
A foreign document is a document issued by an agency, individual or religious authority of a foreign country.
3. Claims file and supporting material
The claims file and supporting material consists of the entire collection of electronic and paper records pertinent to the person's claim, e.g., MCS, MSSICS, EVID, Online Retrieval System (ORS), and Certified Electronic Folder (CEF).
D. Procedure for documenting evidence in MCS and MSSICS
1. Documenting evidence in MCS and MSSICS claims - general
When an individual presents U.S. public documents as proof of age, death, marriage, divorce or citizenship, code the document information on the MCS or MSSICS application screens. For SSI wage verification, see SI 00820.135.
a. Discrepancies or insufficient audit trail data exists
If MCS or MSSICS does not collect sufficient information to redevelop the issue for an audit or any discrepancies exist, record the document on the EVID, e.g. military service following GN 00301.288G.4. Resolve material discrepancies between allegations on the MCS or MSSICS and the information on the document following GN 00301.040.
b. Additional evidence must be obtained
If the individual does not present preferred evidence of an issue or entitlement at the initial interview and additional evidence must be obtained, retain photocopies of submitted evidence in a temporary development file until an initial determination of the issue or factor is made. Destroy the temporary development file after adjudication.
2. Documenting evidence in MCS and MSSICS - initial claims
The following chart summarizes how and when to code the claims screens. When a document is used for more than one claimant or for multiple purposes, see GN 00301.287A.2.
The DECEASED (DECD) screen captures the number holder (NH) death information. When a public death certificate or DD-1300 is presented as proof of death, and both the PROOF field and TYPE OF PROOF field equal “P”, sufficient documentation exists. Other data in file (e.g., the presence of a military service screen with recent ending date) will help ascertain whether the death document was military or civilian.
NOTE: In claims situations, when an SSA-721 is presented as proof of death and proof of death is not already reflected on NUMI, enter an “O” in the TYPE OF PROOF and complete EVID.
When the “SOURCE OF NOTIFICATION” field on the ACID equals “3” (MBR) or “4” (TREASURY) sufficient documentation exists. Code EVID when the “SOURCE OF NOTIFICATION” field equals “1” (FO). Complete EVID using the proof information submitted to the FO.
If IDEN shows a U.S. BIRTH CITY and BIRTH STATE and APPL shows the date of birth PROOF code as B (primary proof) and PROOF TYPE as P (pre-age 5 State or local public birth certificate), H (hospital birth record), or N (notification of birth registration), there is sufficient audit trail information to retrieve the document from the custodian; or the claimant is already entitled to uninsured HI/SMI and the Citizenship/Residency (CLCZ) screen shows U.S. CITIZEN is Y. Otherwise, code EVID.
When the U.S. CITIZENSHIP STATUS code on the Citizenship (ACIT) screen is 1 (birth in the U.S.), 2 (U.S. citizen born outside U.S.), or 3 (natural citizen), and the U.S. CITIZENSHIP STATUS is 1, 2, 3 or 5, PROOF field is coded 2 (NUMIDENT (meets criteria for Q citizenship status code), 3 (NUMIDENT (No U.S. place of birth shown)), or 4 (birth baptismal record) sufficient information exists.
Otherwise, code EVID.
The BENEFICIARY MARRIAGE (BMAR) and NH MARRIAGE (NMAR) screens captures information about the spouse's name, place of marriage (i.e., city, State/ Foreign Country), date of marriage, and place and date marriage ended. Sufficient information exists when marriage TYPE equals “1” (CLERGY/PUB OFF) and PROOF equals “Y”. Code EVID for all other situations including the city/county/borough.
See SI 00501.150C.
The BMAR screen captures information about the spouse's name, place of marriage and date of divorce. Sufficient information exists when reason ended TYPE equals “2”, end of marriage PROOF equals ”Y” or “N” and the REMARKS screen has been annotated with the county as appropriate. Code EVID for all other situations.
To obtain evidence of military service, See RS 01701.005.
Record the evidence of military service on the EVID.
For evidence of lag wages, see RS 01404.018.
Use the Wages (IWAG) screen to record wages. The source we used to verify the individual's income is not captured on the IWAG screen. To establish a sufficient audit trail identify the document used.
Use the RMKS screen to obtain the claimant's signed statement; unless another POMS section specifically requires retaining a paper copy of the claimant's signed statement.
Use the “STATEMENT OF PERSON” portion of the ARMK screen to obtain the claimant's signed statement; unless another POMS section specifically requires retaining a paper copy of the claimant's signed statement.
Third Party Statement
Use the RPOC screen to satisfy a Report of Contact (RC) documentation requirement or to summarize a signed statement from a third party, unless another POMS section specifically requires retaining the paper copy of the signed third party statement.
CAUTION: When summarizing, be sure to capture completely the gist of the statement, since your summary will be the sole source of the information for future reference.
Use the DROC screen or the “FILE DOCUMENTATION REMARKS” portion of the ARMK screen to satisfy a RC documentation requirement or to summarize a signed statement from a third party, unless another POMS specifically requires retaining the paper copy of the signed third party statement.
CAUTION: When summarizing, be sure to capture completely the gist of the statement, since your summary will be the sole source of the information for future reference.
Where the DW01 remarks field shows that an EAB NUMIDENT was used per GN 00306.010D.1., sufficient information exists to establish a legitimate parent-child relationship. Code all the other parent child relationship evidence on EVID.
3. Documenting evidence in MSSICS - Post-Entitlement (PE) situations
Unless another POMS section specifically requires retaining a paper copy of the signed claimant or third party statement, use MSSICS DROC or EVID screens in PE situations to document evidence, including evidence presented in redeterminations (RZ), including unscheduled RZs, and summaries of claimant and third party statements.
REMINDER: Once you record evidence on the DROC, lock the DROC screen. For procedures on locking the DROC screen, see MSOM MSSICS 022.010.
4. Title II PE situations and non-MSSICS cases
See GN 00301.286E.
E. Procedure for documenting evidence on the EVID screen
Record evidence not captured on MCS or MSSICS on EVID using the following instructions.
REMINDER: If an individual brings documents for a Workload Support Unit (WSU) pending claim into the FO, follow the instructions in GN 01070.781.
1. Accepting FO certification of evidence
All subsequent claims-handling personnel are to accept the FO certification of evidence for adjudicative purposes unless there is a subsequent indication that the evidence was forged or otherwise fraudulent. For personnel authorized to certify documents and records, see GN 00301.090.
2. Recording document information on the EVID screen
a. Audit trail and supporting evidence
Record sufficient information from the evidence as described in GN 00301.288 to:
establish an audit trail and permit obtaining the document; and
support the determination made as a result of the evidence when viewed in combination with the MCS/MSSICS detail screens.
REMINDER: Once completed, the EVID screen cannot be updated. EVID can only be deleted by management. Complete all document information; including all pertinent annotations in the freeform “COMMENTS” field, e.g., document does not prove issue, discrepancy between document and allegation, claim taken on paper.
b. Conflicting information exists
If the information conflicts with the information on the application, record the conflict in the “COMMENTS” portion of EVID, see GN 00301.288E.5.
NOTE: If additional documentation is need after completion of the EVID, use the MCS RPOC or MSSICS DROC screens as needed for comments.
c. Evidence received via online access to State and local databases
If evidence certified by the custodian of record is received via online access to State or local databases, record online access to State or local databases as the source of the evidence in the “COMMENTS” field of EVID to avoid any future discrepancies that may result from the subsequent submission of a paper document, see GN 00301.288G.6.
3. Documents and forms not to record on the EVID screen
Do not use the EVID to record the documents or forms listed, as follows:
a. Documents not to code on the EVID screen
Do not code the following categories of documents on the EVID:
Alien registration document, e.g., I-551, I-766 or I-688. Fax both sides of the alien registration document into the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed);
Medical evidence of record (MER);
Foreign language documents translated by someone other than a SSA employee;
Workers' Compensation Public Disability Benefit (WC/PDB) documents must be permanently retained by faxing them into the Certified Electronic Folder to provide the most comprehensive documentation. Annotating the Evidence Screen, or coding proof in Interactive Computation Facility is not sufficient since WC/PDB verification often involves complex State-specific forms and documents that routinely involve a certain degree of interpretation.
Extraneous documents, i.e., documents submitted which have no bearing on a determination of the factor of eligibility
b. Forms not to code on the EVID screen
Do not code the following SSA forms on the EVID.
SSA- 21, Supplement to Claim of Person Outside the United States
SSA-552, Dedicated Account Use of Funds Statement
SSA-624-F5, Representative Payee Evaluation Report
SSA-662, Reconsideration Determination
SSA-723-F4, Statement Regarding Presumed Death Due to Unexplained Absence
SSA-753, Statement Regarding Marriage
SSA-754, Statement of Marital Relationship
SSA-760-F4, Certificate of Support
SSA-766, Statement of Self Employment Income
SSA-781, Certificate of Care and Responsibility for Welfare of Child Not in Applicant’s Custody
SSA-783, Statement Regarding Contributions
SSA- 924, Folder Documentation
SSA-2514, Claimant's Intent to File
SSA-2519, Child Relationship Statement
SSA- 2854/SSA- 2855, Statement of Funds You Provided to Another/Statement of Funds You Received
SSA-2894, used to adjust Title II income and offset
SSA-4162, Child-Care Dropout Questionnaire
SSA-4164, Advance Notification of Representative Payee
SSA-4169, used to document burial expenses
SSA-4345-U2, Record of Manual Title II Offset Computation
SSA-4346, SSI Offset Summary
SSA- 4968, SSI RMA Payment Worksheet
SSA-6233-BK, Representative Payee Report of Benefits and Dedicated Accounts
SSA-7104, Partnership Questionnaire
SSA- 7156, Farm Self Employment Questionnaire
SSA-7157-F4, Farm Arrangement Questionnaire
SSA-8019, Third Party Liability Information Statement
SSA-8060, used to document claimant's intent to sell excess resources
SSA-8102, Advance Payment Receipt and Notice
SSA-8450, District Office Record of Reconsideration
4. Evidence to code on the EVID screen
Use the EVID to record the evidence listed in this section.
domestic evidentiary documents not captured on MCS/MSSICS;
evidentiary documents not captured on MCS/MSSICS that are used in a special determination to resolve a material discrepancy or complex entitlement issue, see GN 01010.360;
English language documents that originate in one of the countries listed in GN 00301.288D.;
evidence certified by the custodian of record obtained through online access to State data; and
foreign language evidentiary documents that are:
submitted as proof in a domestic claim or are vital statistic documents submitted as proof in a foreign claim;
translated by SSA translators other than the adjudicator
translated by the adjudicator, see GN 00301.391;
created and issued domestically or by one of the countries listed in GN 00301.288D.; or
created and issued by a country not listed in GN 00301.288D. If the document is from a country not listed in GN 00301.288D, keep a copy of the original document certified by the custodian of the record system.
NOTE: SSA translators who receive documents for translation can code EVID even if they are not the adjudicator. When the SSA translator codes the translation to EVID, the CR, FR, or CA responsible for the claim may proceed with adjudication. If the SSA translator codes the translation on EVID, he or she does not need to complete the SSA-533, Translation Request.
5. Recording evidence for concurrent and subsequent claims on EVID
a. It is not necessary to record information twice in EVID
If a concurrent or subsequent claim is filed under a different SSN (e.g., an SSI claim is filed for someone concurrently filing for widows benefits), it is not necessary to record evidence used for both claims twice. Annotate the evidence information on EVID using the claimant's SSN following GN 00301.288. Enter related SSN(s) in the “CROSS REFERENCE SSN” field(s).
If the EVID screen has already been coded and thus is locked, use the MCS RPOC or MSSICS DROC as appropriate to capture additional information pertaining to the EVID screen.
b. Evidence for concurrent or subsequent claims where one claim is not electronic
In concurrent or subsequent claims situations where the first claim was taken electronically but the other claim(s) cannot be taken electronically, do not retain a copy of evidence documents in the paper file. In these situations, annotate the “REMARKS” section of the paper application with the system (e.g., MCS, MSSICS, and EVID) and the SSN used to electronically record the evidence.
6. Retrieving a document coded on EVID
When conducting integrity or assessment reviews or possible fraud situations, ask the claimant to resubmit pertinent evidentiary documents or contact the custodian of record and if needed, retain a certified photocopy of the evidentiary documents.
7. Coding proofs previously established on the same SSN
If our system of records shows we previously proved an issue and contains sufficient audit information, do not code the evidence on EVID in claims situations. This includes previously proven issues that do not need to be proven again, e.g., death, and issues previously proven for one program where another program uses the same criteria for proving the issue, e.g., age, see GN 00301.289A.3.
8. Imaging a document
For situations where the imaging of a document is an issue, see GN 01085.030.
DI 81020.140 - Processing Trailer Material for the Certified Electronic Folder (CEF)
GN 00301.010 - What is Evidence
GN 00301.015 - Acceptance of Evidence
GN 00301.030 - Acceptability of Documentary Evidence
GN 00301.045 - Validity of Documents
GN 00301.050 - Special Considerations in Evaluating the Validity of Documents/Records
GN 00301.090 - Personnel Authorized to Certify Documents and Records
GN 00301.095 - SSA Certification of Photocopies
GN 00301.115 - Forms Used for Certification of Contents of Documents or Public Records
GN 00301.280 - Photocopying Process
GN 00301.288 - What Information is Needed on EVID and DROC in PE Situations to Identify the Type of Evidence Submitted
GN 00301.289 - Evidentiary Documentation Considerations
GN 00204.055 - Internet Claim (iClaim) Application; and
GN 01070.781 - Field Office and WSU Coordination on Immediate Claims Processing
MSOM EVID 001.001 - Evidence (EVID) Screen