I-2-1-11.Non-Receipt of Paper Claim(s) File

Last Update: 6/9/14 (Transmittal I-2-110)

A. Field Office (FO) Does Not Have Paper Claim(s) File In Its Possession

1. FO Actions

If the servicing FO receives a request for hearing (RH) but does not have the current claim(s) file in its possession, the FO will forward the RH to the servicing hearing office (HO) and:

  • Determine the claim(s) file location,

  • Contact the office that has the claim(s) file and request that the file be forwarded to the HO within 5 days, and

  • Send the HO documentation of the file request (i.e., copy of the written request, email, or report of telephone contact).

For detailed information about FO procedures for forwarding the RH and claim(s) file, see Program Operations Manual System (POMS) GN 03103.080.

2. HO Actions

When the FO notifies the HO that it requested a paper claim(s) file from another office, the HO staff will:

  • Diary the case for 10 days and await receipt of the claim(s) file.

  • Contact (via email or telephone) the component that has the claim(s) file if it is not received within 10 days and diary the case for 5 more days.

  • Re-contact, in writing (memorandum or email), the component that has the claim(s) file if there is no response or the claim(s) file is not received in 5 days and diary the case for another 5 days.

If the component with the claim(s) file does not respond, or indicates that the claim(s) file cannot be located, the HO will refer the matter to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) regional office. The ODAR regional office will work with the Office of the Regional Commissioner (ORC), which is responsible for coordinating efforts to locate claim(s) files and determining when claim(s) file reconstruction is necessary.

NOTE:

For information on a reconstructed claim(s) file, including necessary actions if a reconstructed claim(s) file is incomplete, see the instructions in Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-2-1-12.

B. Appeals Council Does Not Send Paper Claim(s) File with Remand Order

If the Appeals Council remands a case involving a paper claim(s) file, but it does not send the paper claim(s) file to the HO with the remand order, the HO will notify the Office of Appellate Operations (OAO) by sending an email to |||ODAR OAO with the subject line “Remand- Need Paper File.” The text of the email must include the claimant's name and Social Security number, as well as any other pertinent information.

As noted in HALLEX I-3-0-71, on receipt, OAO will forward the message to the appropriate branch chief for immediate handling. If the hearing office has not received the claim(s) file or a response within 30 days, the HO will send the email chain with a follow up email to the |||ODAR OAO box, using the subject “2nd Request- Remand- Need Paper File.”

If the HO does not receive the paper claim(s) file after following the procedures above, it may refer the matter directly to the Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge (OCALJ) by sending an email to |||ODAR OCALJ DFP. OCALJ will work directly with OAO until the issue is resolved.