October 1, 2016

Social Security Evidence Must be Submitted With Bar Code Cover Sheet

In my last post, I described Social Security’s new “paperless file system” that utilizes scanned documents rather than paper documents.  You may be wondering how written records get into the system.

Social Security uses a bar code system that works as follows:  if you have evidence or documentation that you want to submit to Social Security, you must submit the hard copies by fax to a designated number.  The first page of any such fax must be a cover sheet with a bar code associated with a particular claimant.  Here is what a bar code cover sheet looks like:

Bar Code

Presumably, a Social Security employee at the receiving end uses the bar code to scan the faxed documents into Social Security’s system.  As noted in my previous post, Social Security scans into TIFF format instead of PDF.

If you are proceeding on your own or if you are a lawyer unfamiliar with the new paperless system, make sure to utilize the bar code cover sheet or you risk delay or loss of your documents.

The following two tabs change content below.

Jonathan Ginsberg represents Social Security disability claimants in Georgia. In practice for over 29 years, Jonathan publishes a widely known disability blog, a podcast and several disability web sites. In 2004, Jonathan published a "how to" book about Social Security disability called the Disability Answer Guide. Jonathan lives with his wife and 2 children in Atlanta.


  1. Actually it’s an automated system, the receiving ‘fax’ is actually a computer system that assigns the faxed records to the appropriate case’s electronic folder using the barcode information. Records can also be scanned & uploaded via the ‘Electronics Records Express’ website using the information associated with the barcode.

  2. Jonathan Ginsberg says:

    Subhan, I don’t doubt your explanation – but I would be interested to know how you know about the automated system. Do you work for Social Security or have other firsthand knowledge?

  3. Joseph J. Welcenbach says:

    Don’t assume that just because you have faxed the documents in that they are going to hit the file. I did this a few weeks ago and went to the hearing assuming the records were in the file or on the CD. They were not. The judge indicated that there had been problems with the system and let me file my hard copies on the day of the hearing. Lesson to me was to check with the office before the hearing to make sure that what I thought was filed was in fact filed.

  4. I work as a paralegal for an attorney doing SS disability cases. This is how the system was explained to us by the local hearings office during info meetings about the electronic folder rollout and at several other times by workers in the hearings office. The automated system is why it is so critical to include the barcode as the first page of the fax – otherwise the computer system doesn’t know which electronic folder to route the file too. Also, ditto to Joseph’s comment, we always make sure to notify the ALJ’s or his/her assistant that materials have been submitted via ERE or fax to ensure they are both included in the record & noted by the Judge.

  5. They also use recorders of some kind during the hearings instead of court stenographers. According to another web site I have read if the tape ends up being a poor copy, your lawyer can actually use that to show that they have a poor record of your hearing trial if you’re denied. If that happens, you automatically get a new trial based on the lack of evidence of the original trial. Who knows if this applies to other records, it’s a pretty confusing process to go through.

  6. I was told by ssa that my file was in the Atlanta hearing office and ready to be scheduled , but that it hadn’t been scheduled yet. What does ready to be scheduled mean? Does it mean they have all the info they need?

  7. Daniel G. Jaszi says:

    If I present myself at the local SSA office to submit medical records, I understand that the personnel will or should, based on the above comments, submit the records with a bar code.
    Can I submit my records in sets so that there is a separate bar code associate with each separate doctor, clinic, etc. Also, can I check to see that the records have been entered and get back a copy of my submission with the bar code page when I go to the local SSA office to submit them. Can there therefore be several bar codes associated with my case as additional or new evidence is submitted or is there only one bar code used throughout, for all records submitted for my case?

  8. Daniel, there should be one bar code associated with your file. You would use the same bar code for every submission.

  9. 3 days after my hearing I turned in a psychiatric questionnaire, better known as a medical source statement. My lawyers office fax was down and they couldn’t receive my fax. Otherwise my lawyer would have turned it in. Anyway, when I submitted the document to ssa they called the hearings office to let them know I was submitting the document. The hearings office told the lady that called to make sure she didn’t surpress the mss. I was wandering what that means. The young lady at the admin building also told me as I was leaving, that if my attorney still wanted to do something with the document he could. This statement from my doctor will improve my odds of winning for a number of reason’s.If you could answer my question I would be appreciative. I tried faxing this particular piece of evidence to my lawyer 3 times before I went down to the admin building myself. This is extreamly frustrating. Any input you could give would be greatly appreciative.

  10. kcarpenter says:

    Questions? I was born with a congenital heart defect. My two arteries in my heart are reversed. Everything is pumping backwards. Three years ago my cardiologist put me out of work stating I was totally and permanently disabled. I have an attorney but none to pleased with. The office filed the request for a hearing March 1 2013. Medical records from MCG of Augusta were submitted 8-12-13. They tell me this morning that they have a bar code and SS has them. I don’t mean to sound impatient but how long once the bar coded documents have been sent will I be waiting to get a hearing. I don’t seem to be getting much information from the attorneys. What do I do?

  11. How would a person get the barcode. Is it a unique barcode is assigned to a person based on there social security number and then they fax in there documents.

  12. SSA will send you a bar code in the mail once they start processing your application.

Speak Your Mind