Program Operations Manual System (POMS)
TN 11 (09-87)
RM 03816.001 Scrambled Earnings Cases—General Information
Scrambled earnings are wages or SEI for one NH that have been added to another NH's
record. This usually results when earnings for one person are reported under an SSN
assigned to another person having a similar or cross-referred surname.
Often, the term “scramble” is incorrectly used when a person states that his earnings were reported with an
incorrect SSN. The misuse of the term “scramble” is based on the erroneous idea that all earnings are added to the record on which
they are reported. Actually, most incorrectly reported earnings items are placed in
a suspense file because the reported surname does not agree with the surname on our
records for the reported SSN.
The following are major sources of possible scrambled earnings cases:
Request for duplicate SSN in which the SSN furnished by an individual belongs to another
individual with a similar surname.
Forms SSA-7008 on which an individual lists two or more numbers, and scouting shows
that one of the numbers belongs to another individual with a similar surname.
Requests for statements of earnings that furnish SSN's belonging to other individuals
with similar surnames.
FO's in their day-to-day processing of SSN applications, unidentified earnings items,
WN SS-5 cases received from the FO.
OCRO in day-to-day processing of exceptions and/or other clerical operations.
IRS inquiries concerning two or more individuals with the same surname who used the
same SSN on their income tax returns.
NOTE: The routines for processing these cases are somewhat different from other scrambles.
Specific instructions for IRS scrambles are covered in RM 03818.
Replacement cards issued by SSA under the wrong SSN.
SER/SSI Interface Project for which earnings posted to the record of an SSI recipient
are identified and investigated. If the FO finds that another individual is using
the SSI recipient's name and number, a scrambled earnings case is developed.