TABLE OF CONTENTS
Paragraph and Subject Page Date Trans. No.
Chapter 1-0400 Case Maintenance
Table of Contents. . . . . . . i 04/09 09-02
1 Purpose and Scope. . . . . . . 1 04/09 09-02
2 Case Movement. . . . . . . . . 1 04/09 09-02
3 Filing Cases . . . . . . . . . 2 04/09 09-02
4 Dividing Cases . . . . . . . . 3 04/09 09-02
5 Multiple Survivors . . . . . . 5 04/09 09-02
6 Repairing Cases. . . . . . . . 5 04/09 09-02
7 Reconstructing Cases . . . . . 5 04/09 09-02
8 Updating, Correcting, and
Adjusting the ECMS Database. 7 04/09 09-02
9 FAB Docketing. . . . . . . . . 8 04/09 09-02
1 ECMS Change Form . . . . . . . 04/09 09-02
1. Purpose and Scope. This chapter describes how case files are transferred between locations within the Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC), filed, and maintained (including dividing a file’s contents, repairing damaged folders, and reconstructing lost case files).
The chapter also describes how to update, correct, and adjust the electronic files in the Energy Case Management System (ECMS). Finally, the chapter addresses how the Final Adjudication Branch (FAB) assigns docket numbers to case files referred for their consideration and issuance of a Final Decision or other order.
2. Case Movement. Each DEEOIC staff member is responsible for ensuring that cases are delivered to their appropriate locations. The new location code is notated on the front of the case file jacket and entered in the “Case Update” screen of ECMS before the file is moved.
a. Location Changes. As cases are moved to different locations within a DEEOIC Office, their location codes are changed in ECMS. Each location in a DEEOIC Office has its own location code, for example, “FIL” for the File Room, “CCJ” for a specific Claims Examiner (CE), “FO1” for the Fiscal Officer, and “DMC” for the District Medical Consultant (See EEOICPA PM 1-0500 Exhibit 1).
b. Notations on Case Jackets. When ECMS coding is completed, the DEEOIC staff member lists the new location code on the grid sheet on the front of each folder of the case file, dates each folder, and initials each folder. The DEEOIC staff member then hand carries the file to its next location or places the folder in the appropriate pick-up area for routing to the next location.
c. Replacement Grid Sheets. When the jacket has been completely filled, it is copied and the copy is placed on the inside cover of the left side of the case file. A gummed grid sheet with spaces to enter new routing locations is then placed on the front cover of the case file.
3. Filing Cases. Open cases (i.e., those cases needing further action) and closed cases are housed either in the File Room or in other locations throughout the DEEOIC Office.
a. Method of Filing. Most case folders are kept in the file room on open shelves.
(1) The 2x2 terminal digit system is used by the DEEOIC. The folders are grouped together and filed using the last four digits of the file number (hereafter referred to as “terminal digits”).
The files are first grouped together in numerical order by the last two terminal digits (from XX00 to XX99). The first two terminal digits of a file determine the order of files with the same final two digits (00XX to 99XX). For example, files with the terminal digits 0034, 0234, 1001, 1034, 1234, 2001, and 3489 are filed as follows:
Ending with 01: 1001, 2001
Ending with 34: 0034, 0234, 1034, 1234
Ending with 89: 3489
(2) The outside edge of each folder is labeled with the last four digits of the claimant’s file number (terminal digits). Each digit has a distinct, brightly-colored background, allowing searchers to locate, retrieve and/or file the folders with greater ease and accuracy.
b. Cases Sent to the File Room. Case folders are not returned to the File Room unless:
(1) The File Room is the last location notated on the case folder along with the date transferred and the initials of the DEEOIC staff member initiating the move;
(2) ECMS is accurately coded to show the File Room (“FIL”) as the last location; and
(3) Any loose documents or mail are filed down on the spindle in the folder, unless notated with the phrase "drop file," the date the document was drop filed, and the initials of the DEEOIC staff member who had requested the mail to be drop filed.
c. Cases Outside of the File Room. When case files are located at a DEEOIC staff member’s work station or some other location, they need to be organized so they can be quickly located. When files are separated into different piles for effective case management (e.g., under development, awaiting a Recommended Decision), the DEEOIC staff member arranges each pile of cases in 2x2 terminal digit file number order.
d. Misfiled Cases. If a case is coded “FIL” in ECMS, but is not located in the File Room, a special search is required. This special search includes searching throughout the File Room (sometimes cases get misfiled on the shelves), on DEEOIC staff members’ workstations, the DEEOIC Office as a whole, and even other DEEOIC Offices. If the special search is unsuccessful, then DEEOIC staff must reconstruct the file (See paragraph 7 below).
4. Dividing Cases. When the contents of a case file become too thick to be contained in one folder, they are divided. Mail and File (M&F) staff divide files on their own when deemed appropriate, or at the request of a DEEOIC staff member. The M&F Clerk takes the following actions when dividing a case file:
a. Prepare a New Folder.
(1) The M&F Clerk makes a duplicate folder with the same file number (See EEOICPA PM 1-0300 paragraph 3). The M&F Clerk writes the letter “A” at the bottom of the front cover of the original case file. The M&F Clerk then writes the letter "B" at the bottom of the front cover of the overflow folder.
(2) On the bottom of the front cover of each folder, the M&F Clerk writes "This case is divided into A and B parts"; and
b. Dividing the File. The M&F Clerk divides the contents of the file at a logical point, considering the size of each part and the content and receipt date of the documentation.
(1) The M&F Clerk skims through the case file records and determines a cutoff date for the Part A folder.
(2) The M&F Clerk places all correspondence and other documents received before the cutoff date in the Part A folder. All correspondence and documents received after the cutoff date are placed in the Part B folder. The M&F clerk files down Forms EE‑1/2, EE‑3, and copies of claim forms under Part E (formerly Part D) on the spindle in the Part B folder. Documents regarding any actions still pending and documents showing compensation paid are also kept in the Part B (active) folder.
(3) If it becomes necessary to divide the case more than once, the new overflow folders are labeled "AA", "AAA", etc.
(4) Part B is always the active folder and contains the most recent documents, the original Forms EE-1/2, Department of Energy (DOE) claim forms (formerly Part D), documents containing words of claim for benefits under the EEOICPA, Employment History Form EE-3, any documentation showing compensation paid, and all documents requiring further action.
(5) When voluminous records are received from a single source (e.g., hospital records, prior Part D records, responses to Document Acquisition Requests) resulting in the case to be divided, they are filed down on a separate spindle, as long as the records are clearly identified as belonging to a single identifiable source.
5. Multiple Survivors. When the case file has multiple survivors, the Form EE-2 for the first survivor is on the bottom. The Form EE-2 for the second survivor is just above the first, and so forth, as reflected in ECMS under the “Claims” section in the “Case Update” screen. The correspondence, medical evidence, employment evidence, and other documents are placed on top of the claim and employment history forms (on the spindle), in chronological order of date received in the case file and are not divided by survivor.
6. Repairing Cases. The M&F Clerk or other DEEOIC staff member designated by the District Director (DD), FAB Manager, or Policy Branch Chief, repairs the case folders and their contents that have become worn or unreadable due to wear and tear.
a. Loose Documents. The M&F Clerk or other designated DEEOIC staff member repairs or strengthens documents that have torn loose from the spindle by using a gummed or self-adhesive reinforcement, transparent tape, or other method approved by the DD, FAB Manager, or Policy Branch Chief.
b. Damaged Documents. If torn or damaged documents cannot be mended, and there is the potential for further damage to occur, the M&F Clerk or other designated DEEOIC staff member photocopies the documents so that the file contains a readable copy. To protect from further damage, the torn or damaged documents are placed in a protective sleeve or envelope and placed in the case file.
7. Reconstructing Cases. When a case is lost and every effort to locate it within that DEEOIC Office and the other DEEOIC Offices is unsuccessful, the DEEOIC staff must reconstruct the case file. A Supervisory CE or Manager prepares a memorandum for the signature of the DD, FAB Branch Chief, or Policy Branch Chief, explaining the loss of the file and the necessary preparation of a new case jacket. The assigned CE, Secondary Claims Examiner (CE2), FAB Representative, or National Office (NO) Representative then requests duplicates of all documents in the lost file.
a. Memorandum and New Case Jacket. The Supervisory CE or Manager prepares and signs a memorandum describing the effort(s) taken to locate the original file and that a duplicate case jacket is necessary. Once approved and signed by the DD, FAB Branch Chief, or Policy Branch Chief, the memo is then forwarded to the Case Create Clerk, who creates a new case jacket (See EEOICPA PM 1-0300 paragraph 3) with the memo placed inside and returns it to the assigned CE, CE2, FAB Representative, or NO Representative.
b. Requests for Records. The assigned CE, CE2, FAB Representative, or NO Representative prepares correspondence to all the claimants and authorized representatives associated with the case requesting a copy of any documents pertinent to the case file. The assigned CE, CE2, FAB Representative, or NO Representative also requests duplicate documents from medical providers, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), DOE, and any other identifiable source (e.g., Center to Protect Workers’ Rights (CPWR), Social Security Administration (SSA), Resource Center (RC)). The memo and the letters requesting the documentation are filed down on the spindle in the new case folder.
c. Electronic Records. If electronic copies of documents (e.g., development letters, Recommended Decisions, Final Decisions) or claim related e-mails from external customers (e.g., the claimant, RC, DOE, corporate verifiers, Congressional Offices, NIOSH), that were in the case file have been maintained by the assigned CE, CE2, FAB Representative, or NO Representative, they are to be copied and placed in chronological order in the file by when they were originally created.
d. Recovery of Original File. If the lost case file is found, the assigned CE, CE2, FAB Representative, or NO Representative incorporates all original and unduplicated material into a single case jacket and discards the duplicate case information and case file jacket in a recycle bin for shredding.
8. Updating, Correcting, and Adjusting the ECMS Database. Changes to ECMS are sometimes needed due to errors in data entry or updated changes to the claimant's address, etc.
a. Corrections to Data Elements. It is each DEEOIC staff member’s responsibility to safeguard the integrity of the data in ECMS. Stakeholders and interested parties (e.g., DEEOIC Offices, Congressional Offices, the Ombudsman Office) are provided with performance reports compiled from ECMS data. Therefore it is especially important to ensure that the data entered in ECMS is correct and up to date. These elements include all name fields, claimed illness information, claimed employment data, date of birth, date of death, and SSN.
b. Change of Address. All requests for change of address are submitted in writing by the claimant, authorized representative, or approved Power of Attorney. All such changes are referred to the individual designated as the Payee Change Assistant (PCA). The PCA (or a designee who does not have the authority to enter payments in ECMS) makes changes to names and addresses in ECMS. Any change of address needs to be approved by the assigned CE, CE2, FAB Representative, or NO Representative prior to any changes in ECMS. Attached, as Exhibit 1, is the form used to document changes of name, address, and/or telephone number by all DEEOIC Offices.
(1) The request for a new address must contain an acceptable signature on the document. The claimant’s signature, an authorized representative’s signature, or the approved Power of Attorney’s signature is acceptable.
(2) If a written document contains a claimant’s new address, the assigned DEEOIC staff member calls and confirms with the claimant, authorized representative, or the approved Power of Attorney whether the change is temporary or permanent. The call is then documented in the ECMS Telephone Management System (TMS), with a printed copy placed in the case file.
(3) A faxed request to change a claimant’s address or phone number is acceptable, as long as it contains the signature of the claimant, authorized representative, or the approved Power of Attorney requesting the change.
(4) For payment purposes only, a “Payment Only” address is documented and signed by the claimant or approved Power of Attorney on the original EN-20 form. Faxes are not acceptable.
9. FAB Docketing. A unique docket number is assigned under Part B and Part E, as applicable, to each claimant involved in the FAB review process. The assignment of a docket number allows FAB to track individual claimants who filed under Part B and/or Part E and to protect their privacy.
a. Docket Number Assignment. Any case that is forwarded to FAB for issuance of a Final Decision or other order has a docket number assigned to each claimant identified in the Recommended Decision under Parts B and E of the Act, as applicable. The docket number(s) assigned is generated randomly by ECMS within each local FAB Office. The docket number is a numerical prefix followed by the year in which the docket number is assigned. Once a docket number is assigned to a claimant (a separate docket number for Part B and Part E, as applicable), that document number remains the same, is always used to identify the claimant in future Final Decisions or other orders, and does not change.
b. Registering Docket Numbers in ECMS. Upon receipt of a Recommended Decision, a FAB Representative enters “FD – FAB Received Recommended Decision” under the “Claim Status History” section in the “Claim Update” screen of ECMS. An “FD” status code is entered for each claimant in ECMS who receives a Recommended Decision. The entry of the “FD” status code in ECMS is what generates the random assignment of the docket number.
c. Duplicate Numbers. The individual entering the docket number must ensure that he or she does not re-enter a new docket number for a claimant who has already been assigned a docket number under that Part of the Act. If this occurs, the file is referred to the local FAB Manager to have the second docket number removed from ECMS.