EEOICPA BULLETIN NO.02-14
Subject: Requests for employment information from Social Security Administration.
Background: Employment verification is an integral part of claims processing under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). Although the Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible for conducting employment verification, the ultimate responsibility for adjudicating claims lies with the Department of Labor (DOL). Sometimes DOE does not have records sufficient to verify employment. Therefore, it becomes necessary for the Department of Labor (DOL) to search for other resources for verification. One such resource is the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Bulletin 02-02 outlines an alternative method for employment verification in which the Claims Examiner (CE) attempts to obtain employment records from corporate verifiers. Other resources for such records include the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) electronic database, and the claimant’s personal records. Referral to SSA is the last resort in the effort to obtain employment data.
Reference: 42 USC Section 7384u(b), Reference PM Chapter 2-400 page 5 number 8 and Bulletin 02-02.
Purpose: To notify District Offices of the process for obtaining employment information from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Applicability: All staff.
1. Once the CE has exhausted all other avenues for obtaining relevant employment records, he/she is to prepare correspondence to the claimant requesting additional employment information. [For additional information in this regard, please review Bulletin 02-02]. Attached to the request should be a blank SSA-581 form (Attachment 1). The SSA-581 authorizes release or earnings information from the Social Security Administration.
2. In the written correspondence to the claimant, the CE should request any documents that the claimant may possess that would assist in verifying employment. The CE should further advise that in the event that employment cannot be verified by other means, DOL may request employment records from SSA. The claimant should be advised that completion of the SSA-581 form is a crucial part of this process. Once the correspondence is prepared and released to the claimant, the CE should update the case status screen in ECMS by entering code (DE) Developing Employment. The status effective date is the date on the correspondence to the claimant.
3. The claimant is to complete the following portions of the SSA-581: name; social security number; date of birth of employee; address/daytime telephone number of employee; date signed; signature of social security number holder or authorized representative.
4. When a survivor for a deceased individual completes a SSA 581 form, the claims examiner must request that the survivor provide proof of death if not already contained in the case file. Proof of death includes a copy of the death certificate, mortuary or interment record, or court issued document. When a SSA-581 request for a deceased individual is sent to national office the entire package should include the original and completed SSA-581 form, a copy of proof of death and a copy of the EE-2 form.
5. Once the claimant has completed the SSA-581 form, the claims examiner will complete the following sections:
(a) “To be completed by Official of Requesting Organization only”. The claims examiner will fill in the years or employment history requested in the section provided on the form. The claims examiner will be able to identify the time period for employment history needed for the SSA-581 request by searching the Energy Case Management System (ECMS), the claimant case file, or other documents provided including the EE-1 or EE-2, etc.
(b) The claims examiner will make sure that the upper right hand corner of the form allocated for “Job Number” has job number 8015JC as well as a typed name of the district office and address of the requesting district office in the space provided just below this number.
(c) The claims examiner will sign “Signature of Organization Official” as well as provide the claims examiner’s telephone number and fax number.
(d) The claims examiner will update the case status screen in ECMS by entering SS (Sent to Social Security) status code. The status effective date is the date the SSA-581 form is sent to national office. This is the date that appears on the cover letter that is sent to national office accompanying the SSA-581 request.
6. The claims examiner will create a cover letter which includes the following information: The United States Department of Labor has received a claim for benefits under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act for the referenced individual. The United States Department of Labor is hereby seeking specific employment information regarding the above-indicated dates of employment. Attached is the signed SSA-581 form. The cover letter should also include in the upper right hand corner of the letter the employee name, employee social security number, date of birth, date of death (if applicable) and the periods of employment history requested. The claims examiner will make a copy of the SSA-581 form and place a copy of the form along with a copy of the cover letter in the case file. The claims examiner will then send the completed SSA-581 form and the cover letter to:
Energy Employees Occupational
Illness Compensation Program
7. After the national office receives the completed SSA-581 form, the form is logged into a spreadsheet assigning a control number for each SSA-581 request, identifying the district office and tracking the estimated cost for each request. A copy of the SSA-581 form is placed in a central file. The original SSA-581 is mailed to SSA.
8. The processing time is approximately eight weeks for SSA to provide the completed earnings information. Once SSA has completed the request, SSA will mail a completed SSA-L460 form (the end product of the SSA-581) to the requesting district office at the address specified in the upper right hand corner of the original SSA-581 form. Each district office must keep a log in the form of a spreadsheet that contains each SSA-581 request submitted. This log will identify employee name, social security number, date of death (if applicable), person signing form/relationship, i.e., child or spouse, date the SSA-581 form is sent to national office and the date the completed SSA-581 (SSA-L460) is received in the district office. This updated spreadsheet will be submitted to national office to Lorraine Miller on the 28th day of each month.
9. Depending on the response from the SSA, the CE is to either accept the period of employment as verified or deny the claimed period of employment due to lack of viable documentation. The claims examiner should document receipt of the SSA-L460 (end product of SSA-581 form) response by entering code SR (Social Security Administration Response received) into ECMS. The status effective date is the date the SSA-L460 is date stamped into the office.
Disposition: Retain until incorporated in the Federal (EEOICPA)
Peter M. Turcic
Director, Division of Energy Employees
Occupational Illness Compensation
Distribution: List No 1 – Claims Examiners, Supervisory Claims Examiners, Technical Assistants, Customer Service Representatives, Fiscal Officers, FAB District Managers, Operations Chiefs, Hearing Representatives, District Office Mail and File Sections