GN 00307: Foreign Evidence
TN 31 (08-05)
Documents issued before 1940 and after 1991 are reliable. However, documents issued after 1939 and before 1992, especially handwritten ones, are unreliable.
SSA accepts documents issued before 1940 and after 1991 at face value.
Documents issued after 1939 and before 1992 are accepted at face value only if supported by post-1991 documents of equal or higher value. This can include a certification of the same record issued after 1991 by the appropriate Estonian authority.
If the claimant submits a document that was issued after 1939 and before 1992, ask him/her to get a current certification of that record. If that is not possible, develop for other evidence of equal or higher value.
Ask the Regional Federal Benefits Officer (RFBO) to obtain the assistance of the servicing Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) or the Foreign Service Post (FSP) (if needed) to verify the document submitted by the claimant if he/she states that:
There is no other such evidence; or
A decision cannot be made based on the other evidence; or
The document is correct and the evidence would, if verified, be sufficient to establish the factor of entitlement or a more advantageous date.
Be sure to enclose a clear and complete copy of the document and to specify in the request that the verification must be by personal examination of the source record to determine the authenticity and reliability of the document,
Ask the RFBO to have the FBU or the FSP (if needed) to obtain a current certification if the verification shows that the document submitted by the claimant differs materially with the source record.