POMS Reference

This change was made on Jan 25, 2018. See latest version.
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GN 00307.787: Evidence from Russia

  • Effective Dates: 08/25/2010 - Present
  • Effective Dates: 01/25/2018 - Present
  • TN 31 (08-05)
  • TN 54 (01-18)
  • GN 00307.787 Evidence from Russia
  • A. Introduction
  • A. Evaluating evidence from Russia
  • The authorities in Russia (i.e., the Russian Federation) will not grant SSA free access to vital statistics records in that country. Thus, neither SSA, nor the Department of State acting for SSA, can:
  • * request certifications of records (either for SSA or directly from the custodians of those records); or
  • * examine the source records on which certifications of civil and religious records are based.
  • Vital statistics records from Russia are not reliable. Police certificates, birth certificates, education documents, employment documents, and military record books are the most vulnerable to fraud.
  • B. Policy
  • Since the mid-1900s, the standard Russian birth and marriage certificates include information typed directly onto the form using the standard typeface. Birth certificates have a government stamp. The registry office “SZAGS” or “ÇÀÃÑ” in Russian characters, issues certificates. Forged certificates lack the standard typeface.
  • SSA does not make any assumptions about the reliability of the information shown on civil or religious documents from Russia or the basis on which the documents were issued. This includes documents issued prior to 1992 by sources:
  • * within the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic; or
  • * outside the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic for events which occurred within Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic.
  • B. Policy for accepting evidence from Russia
  • SSA evaluates Russian documents as statements made at the time the document was issued and based on statements made by the interested party(ies) at the time the document was issued.
  • Do not accept evidence from Russia at face value.
  • For example, a Russian birth certificate is submitted which was issued on October 2, 1994 and shows the claimant was born on September 15, 1933, as recorded on September 20, 1933. SSA does not assume that it was based on a record made in 1933. SSA assumes that the birth certificate was based on statements made on October 2, 1994.
  • C. Procedure to develop evidence from Russia
  • C. Procedure
  • 1. Obtain evidence of age for people born in Russia
  • Do not request evidence from Russia. Develop for other evidence.
  • If the claimant lives in the United States, develop for convincing evidence of age as explained in GN 00302.115, GN 00302.118, and GN 00302.125.
  • If the claimant submits Russian evidence, evaluate it as explained in GN 00307.787B.
  • If the claimant resides outside the United States, develop for other evidence to prove age as explained in GN 00307.150C.2.
  • 2. Obtain evidence of other events that occurred in Russia
  • Do not ask the claimant to submit further evidence from Russia. Develop for secondary evidence or other non-Russian evidence. Obtain evidence issued at least five years before the claimant first filed for benefits.
  • For information to determine what evidence we require, see GN 00301.140.
  • If the event occurred less than five years before the claimant first filed for benefits, obtain evidence issued as close to the event date as possible.
  • 3. Verification of evidence from Russia
  • Follow the instructions in this section to verify evidence from Russia.
  • a. When to request verification of evidence from Russia
  • Request verification of evidence from Russia only if:
  • * There is no secondary, non-Russian evidence;
  • * We cannot make a decision based on the other evidence; or
  • * The verified Russian document is sufficient to establish:
  • * the factor of entitlement; or
  • * a more advantageous date as explained in GN 00204.040.
  • b. How to request verification of evidence from Russia
  • If any of the situations in GN 00307.787C.3.a. in this section apply:
  • * Scan a clear and complete copy (front and back) of the document into the electronic folder using the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed). For an overview of NDRed, see GN 00301.319 and GN 00301.310.
  • * Access the Electronic 562 and prepare a “Request for Assistance/Certification of Documents or Records” to request Foreign Service Post (FSP) assistance and send it to office code E15 in the International Benefits Office (IBO), the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO), Division of International Operations (DIO) per GN 00904.220:
  • * Include a remark on the Electronic 562 that the document is available in the Claims File Records Management System (CFRMS). For information on CFRMS, see SM 08001.000.
  • * Specify in the request that we require a personal examination of the source record. (Examining the source record reveals whether the document is accurate, unaltered, and made at the time stated).
  • * Ask the FSP to obtain a current certification if the verification shows that the claimant submitted a document that differs materially from the source record.