TN 1 (03-13)
RM 02032.015 Overview of the OEIO Earnings Alerts Process
Because of the various types of postings, posting problems, corrective actions, and timing of these postings, we have not covered every situation that could possibly occur. The resulting postings, under some circumstances, may even be in error. This procedure covers only the conditions we expect more frequently. The Division of Training and Program Support (DTPS) updates the references to include other conditions, as frequency and experience warrants.
A. Statute of Limitations (SOL) guidelines
The Division of Earnings and Business Services (DEBS) must thoroughly review and investigate our records to determine whether the Statute of Limitations (SOL) permits corrective actions for the Apparent and Possible Duplicate alerts, pending since 2000.
Time limitation is a period identified by three years, three months, and 15 days after the “year” that wages were paid. SSA refers to this period as the Statute of Limitation. SSA considers a tax return or earnings report as timely filed if received before the end of the time limitation. (See RS 02201.001).
NOTE: SSA considers wages in a calendar year paid or “alleged to have been paid.”
There are instances when the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO) can revise the earnings record (E/R). The legal requirements in Section 205(c) of the Act govern when you may revise an earnings record and the exceptions which permit revision of an E/R after the time limitation, see RS 02201.008).
B. SOL operating policy
DEBS technicians must consider the time limitation before taking corrective action. Reference the following POMS to determine the appropriate action:
Revisions before expiration of time limitation (see RS 02201.002)
Revisions after expiration of time limitation (see RS 02201.009 and RS 02201.012).
To correct an entry established through fraud
For guidance on when to submit potential fraud situations to DTPS via problem referral, see RS 02201.015.
To correct a mechanical, clerical, or other obvious error
See RS 02201.012
To correct errors in crediting earnings to the wrong person or to the wrong period
See RS 02201.022
To transfer earnings to or from the Railroad Board (RRB)
When the RRB identifies that the earnings should be railroad, SSA should transfer the earnings, see RS 02201.014.
To suspend the SOL due to Military Service
See RS 02201.030.
To credit wages where no entry of wages
See RS 02201.035.
To add or remove wages in accordance with a wage report filed by the employer with IRS
See RS 02201.017.
C. Alerts for potential duplicate earnings
The alerts for potential duplicate earnings are when the earnings record shows earnings in the same amount in a year, but the Employment Identification Number (EIN) is different or there are multiple earnings posted from the same employer, but the employment type is different. The following conditions reflect potential duplicate earnings alerts:
Alerts generated timely, i.e., within the statute of limitations, but action not taken to reconcile the earnings issue within the time limitation.
For alerts for years within the SOL period; the time limitation has not expired, so DEBS may take corrective action without consideration of the statute requirements.
For alerts for years beyond the SOL period; the time limitation expired and in order to process any corrective action, which would reduce the earnings on an individual’s earnings record, an exception to the Statute must exist.
D. Exceptions to the Statute
The following exceptions to the Statute may be applicable, if the appropriate conditions exist or the conditions are met:
If SSA initiates an investigation before the time limitation expires, but the determination to revise the earnings record is not made until after the time limitation expires;
This exception is applicable if SSA initiated the investigation prior to the expiration of the time limitation, was carried out as promptly as circumstances permitted, and there are no doubts that the earnings record should be corrected. (See RS 02201.002).
If there is an error apparent on the face of the SSA record. The second exception, error apparent on the face of the record, is applicable only if a mechanical, clerical, or other error is apparent on the face of SSA records exists in which SSA can determine, without going beyond SSA’s records (employer wage report), as they were before the expiration of the time limitation. If you need additional information to determine that the posted earnings are erroneous, SSA cannot correct the earnings record. (See RS 02201.022).
Error on the face of the record does apply if SSA has the information within our records to take corrective action within the time limitation, but either fails to take the corrective action timely or does not put the pieces together until a complete review and investigation of our records reveal the appropriate action.
E. SOL process
After reviewing information in SSA records (received prior to the expiration of the time limitation), if DEBS technicians are able to determine SSA possessed the information to correct the record(s), but did not take action within the time limitation to process the correction “Error on the face” of the record applies, permitting SSA to take the appropriate corrective action.
DEBS must use the following steps to process the PD indicator for the Apparent Partial and Possible Duplicate alerts. For specific processing instructions, see RM 02032.020 and RM 02032.025.
Error on the face of the record does not apply – No action is necessary (NAN).
Do not remove the PD indicator.
Release the alert(s) via APDA.
Error on the face of the record does apply and all of the information is in our possession before the expiration of the time limitation indicated that (1) an error occurred, and (2) what the correct earnings is (or the other employer information).
Receive the batch and print listing.
Obtain and examine a Detailed Earnings Query Response (DEQR) for each SSN to determine the extent of the problem.
Check the Employer Identification Number (EIN) list for multiple Form W-2 filers (if applicable).
Check the employer search on the Wage Reporting System (WRS) website (if applicable).
Check EM 1.5 and print screens.
Check AWR/EAMATE, via microfilm, or the Online Retrieval System (ORS) or Online EAMATE, depending on year(s) involved, to verify the records for duplicate reports, incorrectly processed reports, keying errors, or scrambled wages.
Query appropriate online resource tools, Item Correction (ICOR), or Report Correction (RCOR) to determine if corrective action is necessary to remove duplicate postings.
Contact the employer (if applicable).
Make adjustment(s) in RCOR or ICOR, as appropriate.
Remove the PD indicator from the Master Earnings File (MEF) via FALCON67 (if applicable).
Review all actions for accuracy and completeness.
Release the completed batch.
NOTE: SSA may add or increase the earnings on SSA records (if needed). The time limitation is not an issue.