TN 19 (11-04)

GN 00301.210 SSA Purchase of Evidence

A. Policy — Title II or title xviii

1. General

  1. SSA may purchase certified copies of documentary evidence for any eligibility requirement of a Title II or Title XVIII program (including age, death or relationship), if the payment criteria in GN 00301.210A.3. met.

  2. The circumstances of each individual case must be considered in determining whether the evidence the claimant has submitted establishes a reasonable likelihood of eligibility. A discrepancy in the file does not preclude the purchase of evidence providing the weight of the evidence establishes a reasonable likelihood that the claimant meets the eligibility requirement. Normally, this likelihood may be one item of evidence that supports the claimant's allegation other than the application; this may be an OEO record.

2. Responsibility of claimant

SSA's authority to purchase evidence does not include:

  1. Foreign claims where a claimant submits evidence which establishes a reasonable likelihood of eligibility but is unable to furnish additional evidence; or

  2. Cases in which the applicant can reasonably be expected to obtain it, or could obtain the necessary evidence but has failed to cooperate (see GN 01010.410); or

  3. Purchase of DNA test.

3. SSA payment criteria

To enable SSA to pay for evidence, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The claimant must have submitted one or more pieces of affirmative evidence supporting eligibility. It is not necessary that the file be free of discrepancy, only that all of the available evidence establishes a reasonable likelihood of eligibility;

    EXAMPLE: A surviving divorced wife who submits proof establishing a 10 year marriage to the NH has submitted affirmative evidence of eligibility even though a divorce record must be obtained as well.

  2. Additional evidence is needed by SSA to assure a correct determination of eligibility; i.e., it is necessary to verify or corroborate the evidence in file to satisfy SSA's evidentiary and adjudicative requirements;

  3. The claimant is unable to submit additional verifying evidence; and

  4. The purchase of the evidence is a more economical and reasonable way to obtain it (e.g., the evidence may be purchased by mail but requires a visit to the source to obtain without payment).

4. Disposal of SSA purchased document

After recording the evidence in the claims file in accordance with GN 00301.286, the document will be given to the claimant/beneficiary.

5. Evidence lost

Sometimes a claimant or Social Security number applicant may complain that evidence provided to SSA was lost in the mail or lost in SSA’s handling process. If there is an indication that SSA had the evidence, e.g., SSA took action based on document, then SSA should replace the document. In these instances, if duplicate evidence can only be obtained by paying a fee, SSA may pay for the evidence.

B. Policy — Title XVI

1. General

SSA may purchase certified copies of documentary evidence for any eligibility requirement under Title XVI if both of the following are met:

  • The applicant cannot be expected to obtain the evidence; and

  • The evidence cannot be obtained without payment of a fee or purchase of the evidence is the most economical method of obtaining it.

2. Concurrent Title II/XVI

The rules for purchasing evidence for Title XVI cases apply

3. Evidence lost

Sometimes a claimant or social security number applicant may complain that evidence provided to SSA was lost in the mail or lost in SSA's handling process. If there is an indication that SSA had the evidence, e.g., SSA took action based on document, then SSA should replace the document. In these instances, if duplicate evidence can only be obtained by paying a fee, SSA may pay for the evidence.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200301210
GN 00301.210 - SSA Purchase of Evidence - 01/24/2014
Batch run: 01/24/2014
Rev:01/24/2014