Office of Hearings and Appeals
Social Security Administration (S.S.A.)
Department of Health and Human Services
Division IV: Civil Action
Subject: New Court Cases
June 30, 1994
Current through June 1997
I-4-170 FILE STATION RETENTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD
The OCA file station is the primary holding area for cases pending in court which do not require any division processing or review. The notable exception involves cases in which an affidavit has been completed; these remain in the operating division until the court acts on the Secretary's motion (see > I-4-136).
The file station retains the original claim file on SSI-only cases. In all other cases, the file station retains a copy of the CAR. The file station must review any claim file it receives to verify that it is an SSI-only case. The file station must return all non-SSI only claim files to the operating division. The file clerk must complete a SSADARS entry only on SSI cases, since that system only tracks original claim files. The file station currently does not have any internal case control system. The clerk files all cases on shelves according to Social Security number (SSN) sequence.
A. Maintenance of File Station--Filing System
The File Station maintains files on all inactive pending court cases and files them according to the last three digits of the SSN. There are file separators for each new group of terminal digits in order to direct personnel to the correct grouping. Black Lung cases follow the same numerical filing system but are located together in a separate area in the File Station.
For file station purposes, the SSN has four groups of digits. For example, for SSN 123-45-6789, the four groups are as follows:
First Second Third Fourth
123 - 45 - 6 - 789
In this example, the fourth group; i.e., the three terminal digit group 789, is the controlling group, and the clerk would place the file behind the 789 separator.
If there are one or more cases already on the shelf ending in 789, the clerk would then look at the second group; i.e., the two middle digits, 45, and place the file in numerical sequence according to the two middle digits. Thus, the following cases would be correctly filed:
321 - 44 - 7 - 789
123 - 45 - 6 - 789
321 - 46 - 5 - 789
If there are one or more files on the shelf with 789 as the terminal digits and 45 as the second group, the clerk would look to the third group; i.e., the single digit immediately preceding the three terminal digits, to determine the correct sequence. The following cases would be correctly filed:
321 - 45 - 5 - 789
123 - 45 - 6 - 789
012 - 45 - 7 - 789
If there is more than one file on the shelf with identical fourth, second, and third groups, the clerk will look at the first group to determine the proper filing sequence, as in the following example:
122 - 45 - 6 - 789
123 - 45 - 6 - 789
132 - 45 - 6 - 789
Because misfiles cause undue delay in retrieving files from the shelves, the clerk must take great care to ensure absolute accuracy in filing. Whenever the file clerk notices a misfiled case, he or she must immediately remove the misfiled case and refile it in it's correct sequence. The file clerk must check the files daily for misfiles.
B. Retrieving Files
Personnel from the operating divisions and DLAI may retrieve files directly or request that the file clerk retrieve the file. Other OHA components do not have direct access and must submit a request to the file clerk for a file. The requester must complete a File Station Request Form (see > I-4-199, Exhibit K) and send or handcarry the form to the File Station. In priority situations, the requester may phone the File Station instead of completing the request form.
When removing a file from the shelf, the individual removing the file must complete a chargeout withdrawal card (see > I-4-199, Exhibit L). The individual then removes the file from the shelf and places the withdrawal card in that exact location. The file clerk will route files to the requesters through the OCA mailroom or the OHA mail messenger.
The file clerk must process requests for files daily and send the files to the requester the same day or the day after the File Station receives the request. The file clerk must code out any SSI claim file. If an OCA operating division directly retrieves an SSI claim file, that division must also enter the file movement on the SSADARS system. In the event the file clerk cannot find a file, he or she must note this on the request form and return the form to the requester.
C. Associating Court Orders with Court Cases
The operating divisions send copies of all summary judgments to the File Station for association with the cases on the shelves.
The file clerk arranges these orders in terminal digit order of the SSN and:
ä pulls the files from the shelf;
ä places the order on the inside left of the file;
ä completes a yellow sticker, form SSA-4942 (see > I-4-199, Exhibit M);
ä attaches the yellow sticker to the outside of file; and
ä replaces the file on shelf.
The yellow sticker on the outside of a file identifies it as a closed court case and shows the date of the court order. The file clerk must file all other material inside the file. In SSI-only cases, when the file clerk receives a court judgment, he or she must forward the claim file in favorable cases to the effectuating component and in denial cases to Folder Staging in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The file clerk must enter the claim file transfer into the SSADARS system.
D. Purging Old Closed Court Cases
To keep only currently pending files in the File Station, the file clerk semi-annually removes OHA's copy of the CAR and the appeals file in old closed cases from the File Station. Closed cases include those in which the court has issued a dismissal order or summary judgment which neither party appealed and court cases in which the ALJ or Appeals Council issued a fully favorable decision. When the operating division sends a favorable Appeals Council decision to the File Station, the clerk must place the SSA-4942 described above on the file.
The semiannual purge of the File Station commences on April 1 and October 1 of each year and continues until all cases in the File Station have been checked. The file clerk will purge, as time permits each day, cases which have been closed for one year.
The file clerk must box all purged files for shredding. CAUTION--The file clerk must NEVER box an original claim file for shredding. Also, the file clerk must check each appeals file to see whether there is original (not photocopied) material in the file such as medical evidence, attorney's letters, etc. The file clerk must forward this material to the component which has the claim file for association. If the file clerk locates an old closed SSI claim file, he or she must forward it to the destination indicated in I-4-170 C. above.