TN 1 (07-04)

RM 03270.009 Handling Inquiries About SSA's ERISA Notice on Form SSA-L99-C1

A. Introduction

Most FO or 800 Number inquiries will occur after the inquirer receives Form SSA-L99-C1, “Notice of Potential Private Pension Benefits” (Exhibit 1, RM 03270.015) from Central Office. This notice is sent after a written request is made or claim for title II benefits or hospital insurance benefits is filed.

B. Type of notices

After 06/10/04, there will be three types of L-99 Notices:

  • Current notices with 13 digit DCN

  • New notices with M followed by 13 digit DCN

    (Note—the above types are to be handled the same; microfilm is associated with these notices)

  • Notices with 14 digit DCN that are generated from EFAST input

In the Wilkes-Barre Direct Operations Center (WBDOC), the paper Schedule SSA are keyed into electronic files, the original paper documents are microfilmed, and the information from the paper documents is then saved to a data base which is available for future reference. Notices generated from this process to the recipient will contain an “M” in front of a 13 digit SSA Document Control Number (DCN) that is assigned by systems.

  

Notices that recipients receive based on Schedule SSA that are processed electronically to SSA from DOL's contractor, National Computing Services (NCS), have been processed through EFAST. These notices will have a 14 digit-only SSA DCN that is systems generated.

 

The DCN digit will be located in the “For SSA Use Only:” block at the bottom of the notice.

C. Procedure

NATURE OF INQUIRY

ACTION

Explanation of the ERISA Notice

As appropriate, provide information about:

  • SSA's role in ERISA matters as set out in this subchapter and in RM 03201.000.

  • Meaning of the terms used in the notice (see RM 03270.011) and the purpose of the notice.

For “M” coded SSA 13 digit DCN:

  • The only source for the information shown on this notice is the Schedule SSA or Form 5500 filed with the IRS by the pension plan (see Exhibit 2, RM 03270.017).

Additional information may be available on SSA's microfilmed document if the inquirer is questioning the data on the notice. Advise inquirer that SSA will review the microfilmed data and respond to them in writing.

For “NON-M” coded SSA 14 digit-only DCN:

  • There is no additional information available for pension plan fund records that were processed electronically. Explain that SSA received the data through electronic transmission from DOL and that SSA does not have any other records nor is the information on microfilm.

Advise the inquirer that they can contact DOL at

200 Constitution Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20216

Contact DOL on the internet at http://www.DOL.gov/EBSA or

call them at 1-866-444-3272 (or TTY 1-877-889-5627) for the deaf or hard of hearing.

Information on Filing for Pension Benefits

Advise inquirer to contact the plan administrator.

Plan Name and Current Address — Address Shown on ERISA Notice is Incorrect

Explain that:

  • Plan name and address shown on ERISA notice was the pension plan name and address reported to IRS for the plan year shown in the “year reported” block of the notice.

Refer the inquirer to NH's employer covered by the plan; and, if employer cannot be contacted, refer to DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration at

200 Constitution Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20216

Contact DOL on the internet at http://www.DOL.gov/EBSA or

call them at 1-866-444-3272 (or TTY 1-877-889-5627) for the deaf or hard of hearing.

Former Plan Name

Explain that:

  • The name shown in this block is a previous name reported by an administrator of the plan and has now been updated with the current plan name and address.

NOTE: This alerts the recipient that there was a change in the plan administrator.

Why the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is Shown as Plan Administrator

Explain that:

  • The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) takes over administration of certain pension plans when the plan terminates to ensure that participants receive their vested benefits.

NOTE: Only “defined benefit plans” (see RM 03201.003) are insured by PBGC and thus subject to PBGC administration when the plan terminates.

Explanation of Why Pension Amount Shown on ERISA Notice Differs From Amount Determined By the Plan

Explain that:

  • The amount shown on the ERISA notice was the amount reported to IRS or DOL/NCS by the plan at the end of the plan year shown on the form.

    NOTE: The data collected under the contractor NCS incorporate several years of backlog that was housed in WBDOC. Therefore, the notices may not have been processed in the proper sequence.

  • The notice does not reflect any changes in the pension plan provisions that occurred after the plan year shown.

  • In the case of PBGC-administered plans, the law limits the pension amounts that can be guaranteed by PBGC.

More Information — Plan Says NH Was Not a Participant

M” Coded Notice

  • If the NH's SSN was correctly shown on the ERISA “M” notice, prepare a memorandum to OCO requesting a microfilm copy of the Schedule SSA to verify that pension plan name and address shown on the ERISA notice is the same as shown on the Schedule SSA. If so, tell inquirer to contact the plan administrator for further explanation; and if the plan name and address is significantly different, give inquirer plan name and address shown on the Schedule SSA. If the SSN shown on the ERISA notice belongs to the inquirer, follow the procedures below. 800 Number agents should refer this type of request to the FO via MDW.

14 Digit-Only Coded Notice

  • If the NH's SSN was correctly shown on the ERISA notice, tell the inquirer that SSA does not have any additional data because their information was transmitted electronically to SSA and there is no microfilm on file. Tell the inquirer to contact the plan administrator for further explanation.

More Information — Plan Says No Benefits Are Payable

  • Advise the inquirer that ERISA laws provide that pension plans provide for a full and fair review of all denied claims and the inquirer may request such a review within 60 days of the denial of the claim.

  • If the inquirer is a surviving spouse of the plan participant, ask if the NH or spouse ever waived surviving spouse's benefits or if the NH had cashed out his or her pension benefits. If so, explain that this may be the reason no surviving spouse's benefit is payable.

NOTE: ERISA laws did not require the spouse's consent to waive survivor benefits prior to 1985 (for single employer plans) or prior to 1987 (for multiple employer plans); and pension plans may “cash out” (refund to the NH) vested benefit amounts of $3500 or less without the participants' consent.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0103270009
RM 03270.009 - Handling Inquiries About SSA's ERISA Notice on Form SSA-L99-C1 - 09/16/2016
Batch run: 09/16/2016
Rev:09/16/2016