I-1-6-10.Congressional Inquiries Received at Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) Headquarters

Last Update: 1/22/15 (Transmittal I-1-82)

A. General

The Congressional and Public Affairs Branch (CPAB) serves as the primary liaison between ODAR headquarters and Members of Congress on case related matters. CPAB staff prepares responses to both routine and sensitive written and telephone inquiries from Members of Congress, formulates correspondence guidelines, and monitors the quality of congressional responses released by ODAR. CPAB is also responsible for designating cases as critical for the Office of Appellate Operations. See Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-1-6-5 and I-3-1-5.

However, ODAR's Executive Communications Staff (ECS) handles the most sensitive congressional inquiries, including inquiries regarding backlogs, processing times, and personnel matters. ECS may receive the inquiry directly, from another component, or as a referral from CPAB. ECS may prepare a response to a congressional inquiry or may assign another ODAR component to draft the response.

B. Telephone Inquiries from Members of Congress

CPAB is responsible for receiving and responding to telephone calls from Members of Congress and their staffs. See HALLEX I-1-6-15. If an ODAR headquarters employee (excluding an ECS employee) receives a telephone call from a Member of Congress or a congressional staff member, the employee will provide the caller with CPAB's telephone numbers and transfer the call to CPAB.

CPAB's telephone numbers are (703) 605-8000 and toll free (877) 670-2722.

C. Written Inquiries from Members of Congress

CPAB receives congressional inquiries by mail, fax, and through a designated email box. See HALLEX I-1-6-15. Unless an inquiry is handled directly by ECS, CPAB prepares all written replies to congressional inquiries for the electronic signature of ODAR's Assistant Deputy Commissioner.

As necessary, CPAB also refers inquiries about cases pending at the hearing level, at other Social Security components, or at other government agencies to the appropriate office.