POMS Reference

GN 00307: Foreign Evidence

TN 54 (01-18)

A. Evaluating evidence from Russia

Vital statistics records from Russia are not reliable. Police certificates, birth certificates, education documents, employment documents, and military record books are the most vulnerable to fraud.

Since the mid-1900s, the standard Russian birth and marriage certificates include information typed directly onto the form using the standard typeface. Birth certificates have a government stamp. The registry office “SZAGS” or “ÇÀÃÑ” in Russian characters, issues certificates. Forged certificates lack the standard typeface.

B. Policy for accepting evidence from Russia

Do not accept evidence from Russia at face value.

C. Procedure to develop evidence from Russia

1. Obtain evidence of age for people born in Russia

If the claimant lives in the United States, develop for convincing evidence of age as explained in GN 00302.115, GN 00302.118, and GN 00302.125.

If the claimant resides outside the United States, develop for other evidence to prove age as explained in GN 00307.150C.2.

2. Obtain evidence of other events that occurred in Russia

Do not ask the claimant to submit further evidence from Russia. Develop for secondary evidence or other non-Russian evidence. Obtain evidence issued at least five years before the claimant first filed for benefits.

For information to determine what evidence we require, see GN 00301.140.

If the event occurred less than five years before the claimant first filed for benefits, obtain evidence issued as close to the event date as possible.

3. Verification of evidence from Russia

Follow the instructions in this section to verify evidence from Russia.

a. When to request verification of evidence from Russia

Request verification of evidence from Russia only if:

  1. There is no secondary, non-Russian evidence;

  2. We cannot make a decision based on the other evidence; or

  3. The verified Russian document is sufficient to establish:

    1. the factor of entitlement; or

    2. a more advantageous date as explained in GN 00204.040.

b. How to request verification of evidence from Russia

If any of the situations in GN 00307.787C.3.a. in this section apply:

  1. Scan a clear and complete copy (front and back) of the document into the electronic folder using the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed). For an overview of NDRed, see GN 00301.319 and GN 00301.310.

  2. Access the Electronic 562 and prepare a “Request for Assistance/Certification of Documents or Records” to request that 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) and send it to office code E15 in the International Benefits Office (IBO), the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO), Division of International Operations (DIO) per GN 00904.220:

    1. Include a remark on the Electronic 562 that the document is available in the Claims File User Interface (CFUI). See SM 08001.000 for information on CFUI.

    2. Specify in the request that we require a personal examination of the source record. (Examining the source record reveals whether the document is accurate, unaltered, and made at the time stated).

    3. Ask the RFBO to have the FBU or the FSP (if needed) to obtain a current certification if the verification shows that the claimant submitted a document that differs materially from the source record.