TN 73 (11-08)
GN 00204.012 How to Close a Protective Writing
A. Policy – protective writing must be closed out
A protective writing must be closed out or the filing protection will remain open indefinitely.
Form DD-1300, Report of Casualty, “Missing in Action (MIA)” only -- (Title II)
Receipt of Form DD-1300, “Missing in Action (MIA)” situations creates a protective writing that remains open until a valid application is filed. See RS 01702.370, and GN 00204.010 for the policy on DD-1300s as protective writings.
Earlier Protective Filing Date Open
If an earlier protective filing date is open (i.e., no closeout notice was issued) and a subsequent protective filing occurs, documentation and closeout of the later protective filing date is not required because the earlier open protective filing date is controlling.
EXAMPLE: Mr. Smith called the 800 number on 1/18 to file for retirement insurance benefits and supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. The teleservice representative documented Mr. Smith's protective filing date on the 800 Number System and made the application appointment for 1/29. Protective filing closeout language was not included in the appointment confirmation notice because Mr. Smith was also interested in filing for SSI benefits. On 1/24, Ms. Rogers called the local field office (FO) and advised the claims representative (CR) that Mr. Smith needed financial help. She explained that he did not have enough money to buy food. Since a protective filing date was already established on the 800 Number System for SSI benefits, the CR did not document Ms. Roger's oral inquiry on the 800 Number System because an earlier protective filing date was still open.
Current Spouse and Children Listed on the Title II Application - Number Holder (NH) Not Entitled
Since the NH's current spouse's and children's entitlement to benefits are contingent upon the NH's entitlement, no protective filing closeout is required for auxiliaries named on the NH's application if it is determined that the NH is not entitled to benefits. However, if the current spouse is potentially entitled to other Title II benefits, treat the naming of the current spouse as a lead. See GN 00202.020 for processing and disposing of leads.
B. Policy – protective filing closeout date
The protective filing closeout date is a final date. There are no provisions to extend the date based on “good cause” for late filing or for mail time when an application is returned through the United States mail, see GN 00204.007B for application receipt date policy. The protective filing date is determined as follows:
The Title II protective filing closeout date is 6 months after the date of the Title II closeout notice.
EXAMPLE: If the protective filing closeout notice is dated 6/2, the protective filing closeout date is 12/2.
The Title XVI protective filing closeout date is 60 days after the date of the Title XVI closeout notice.
EXAMPLE: If the protective filing closeout notice is dated 6/2, the protective filing closeout date is 8/1.
NOTE: The protective filing closeout date for an automated SSA-L991 Informal Denial notice is 74 days from the date of the notice. We add 14 days to the closeout period to allow for the private contractor to print and distribute the notices.
EXCEPTION: If the protective filing closeout date for either Title II or Title XVI benefits falls on a non-workday, the protective filing closeout date is the following workday.
C. Procedure – closeout (Title II)
If you document a Title II only protective writing on the 800 Number System and schedule an application appointment at least 7 days in the future, the Title II protective filing closeout language is included in the Title II only appointment confirmation notice.
If an appointment is made for less than 7 days in the future, a manual closeout notice must be issued promptly.
If the applicant decides that he or she would like to file the application on the Internet, establish a lead on the 800 Number System and issue the closeout notice on the Document Processing System (DPS) that was designed for this purpose.
NOTE: Interviewers should make every effort to reschedule an application appointment within the protective filing period so the claimant does not lose benefits. If the next available appointment does not allow for processing a teleclaim, the interviewer should schedule an in-office appointment.
1. Claimant or proper applicant in FO
If the protected claimant or his/her proper applicant is in the FO, close out the protective writing by obtaining a:
valid application, or
signed unconditional statement that the individual does not wish to file.
To close out a protective writing with a signed statement, prepare the signed statement using unconditional language, e.g., “I do not wish to file for Social Security retirement benefits.” A vague statement about filing or a conditional statement that refers to filing in a future month does not close out the protective filing.
If the protected claimant or his/her proper applicant does not wish to sign an unconditional statement, follow the instructions in GN 00204.012C.2. for closing out the protective filing.
NOTE: If a Title II or Title XVI protective filing closeout notice was previously issued, there is no need to obtain a signed unconditional statement when the individual changes his/her intent to file.
2. Claimant or proper applicant not in FO
Send the appropriate 6-month protective filing closeout notice in NL 00703.740 through NL 00703.744. If a teleclaim is taken on the appointment date and the claimant wants to sign with a “wet” signature, issue the SSA-L566-U2 application cover notice to closeout the protective filing that was established when the teleclaim was taken, see GN 00204.014. If the applicant wishes to file the application on the Internet, issue the DPS notice that was designed for this purpose. For iClaim policy and procedure, see GN 00204.055.
NOTE: An application completed by a third party, who is not a proper applicant to sign a Title II application but who can protect the filing date, is mailed to the claimant for review and signature. The protective filing is closed out using the Title II Application Cover Notice, SSA-L-566-U2, see GN 00204.014. If the application is initiated or completed through iClaim, as explained in GN 00204.013, the protective writing is closed out through the notices automatically mailed to the claimant. Third party applications initiated in iClaim are identified by the unit code “iClm3P” when established in MCS.
b. Spouse and auxiliaries
Send the appropriate 6-month protective filing closeout notice in NL 00703.740 through NL 00703.744 to the current spouse and any child(ren) named in the protective writing (see GN 00204.012F. for addressee instructions). Issue the appropriate DPS closeout notice if the individual states he/she wishes to file the application on the Internet.
EXCEPTION: If an auxiliary is named on the NH's disability (DIB) application, closeout the protective filing by obtaining an application from the auxiliary or his/her proper applicant when you receive early notification of the NH's potential allowance or a favorable Disability Determinations Service (DDS) decision.
If the named auxiliary or his/her proper applicant does not wish to file or cannot be located, issue the appropriate closeout notice in NL 00703.740 - NL 00703.744 following the addressee instructions in GN 00204.012F. Also, annotate the NH's MCS DW01 screen with the Title II PROTFL closeout issue and enter the date the notice was issued in the REC field. Or, if the NH's claim is not in MCS, enter the date the closeout notice was issued in the Special Message field on the MBR. See MSOM T2PE 007.002 for Special Message Data instructions.
D. Procedure – closeout (Title XVI)
Follow the instructions in SI 00601.037 for when to closeout a Title XVI protective filing and SI 00601.040 for the notice requirements.
E. Interviewer responsibility
If an application is completed within the protective filing closeout period, but must be sent to the applicant for signature, i.e., the claimant wants to sign with a wet signature or the claim is completed by a third party who is not a proper applicant to sign the application, the claims interviewer must explain to the applicant that if:
the signed application is returned within the existing closeout period, we will use the date he/she first contacted us as the filing date.
the application is received after the initial closeout period, but before the closeout date in the application cover notice that we send with the application, we will use the date of the application interview as the application filing date.
we receive the signed application after the closeout date in the application cover notice, we will use the date we receive the signed application as the application filing date. See GN 00204.007B for determining the receipt date.
NOTE: In-office and teleclaim applications completed by a third party non-proper applicant must be mailed to the claimant or proper applicant for review and signature.
F. Procedure - issuing a closeout notice
Issue the closeout notice to the claimant.
EXCEPTIONS: If the claimant is a minor child under age 18, address the notice to the inquirer unless the child is a proper applicant per GN 00204.003A.1.b. If this is the situation, address the notice to the child. If the claimant is legally incompetent, address the notice to the inquirer.
If the auxiliary named on the application is not living with the NH and the auxiliary/auxiliary's proper applicant does not wish to file an application, send the closeout notice to both the NH and the auxiliary/auxiliary's proper applicant per GN 00204.012C.2.
2. Protected individual's whereabouts unknown
If the protected claimant's whereabouts are unknown, send the closeout notice to the protected claimant's last known address. If the closeout notice is returned undeliverable, see GN 02605.055 and GN 02605.060 for the development steps in locating the individual and reissuing the notice.
If you cannot find an address for an auxiliary, send the closeout notice to the NH. If the NH is deceased, send the closeout notice to the proper applicant who is filing on the NH's behalf.
3. Protected claimant dies
If the claimant dies after establishing a protective filing date but before filing an application, issue a closeout notice to the individual eligible to receive the underpayment if one is due. If you cannot find someone eligible to receive the underpayment due, send the closeout notice to the claimant's last known address. If there is no one eligible to receive the underpayment, but the Medicaid State agency requests a disability determination, see SI 00601.010E.3. Also, document the file with the steps taken to locate the individual. See GN 00204.005 for the policy on when the claimant dies before filing/effectuation.
4. 800 Number system coding
If you issue a manual closeout notice for a protective filing date documented on the 800 Number System, enter the date the manual notice is issued in the REC field for the corresponding Title II/Title XVI closeout issue on the Worksheet (see MSOM APPTS 001.014).
5. Closing out a protective filing for a group of individuals
If the protective filing is for a group of individuals, take the following steps:
Contact the organization to obtain an estimated date as to when SSA can expect to receive the signed applications.
If the applications are not received by the agreed upon date, send one closeout notice to the organization with the list of names attached to the notice.
If applications are subsequently filed and the protective filing date is used as the application filing date, include in the claims folder a copy of the protective filing documents supporting the established protective filing date. Black out the names of the other protected individuals who may have been listed on the same document.
6. Protective Filing closeout in iAppt
Protective filing closeout language and the closeout period ending date(s) appear on the iAppt confirmation page. The FO should not send any protective filing closeout notice because the online language closes out the:
Title II protective filing issue;
Title XVI protective filing established when the claimant responds “Yes” to the “Would you also be interested in Supplemental Security Income (SSI)” question on iAppt; and
Title XVI oral inquiry when the claimant indicates there is no intent to file for SSI.
G. Procedure – retaining closeout documentation
1. Unconditional statements
Retain the signed unconditional statement in the claims folder or, if there is no claims folder, with the protective filing documentation.
2. Manual closeout notice
Save a copy of the manual closeout notice issued via DPS and send to the Online Retrieval System (ORS) as documentation of the protective filing closeout date. If the individual files an application within the protective filing period, use the Report of Contact screen to document the protective filing date.
If a Title II teleclaim is taken in the Modernized Claims System (MCS), and the application must be sent to the applicant for signature, annotate the MCS DW01 screen with the date the SSA-L566-U2 notice is issued. See GN 00204.014 for the notice instructions and documentation requirements.
3. Automated closeout paragraph issued on the appointment confirmation notice
If the Title II closeout language was issued on the automated appointment confirmation notice and an MCS application is taken, no paper documentation of the closeout is required in the claims folder. If no automated closeout language is issued, e.g., the appointment was for Title II and Title XVI, the FO must issue a Title II closeout notice promptly and annotate the 800 Number worksheet that the closeout notice was issued and the date it was issued (see GN 00204.012F.4. for the coding instructions). If no claim is filed within the protective filing period, the protective filing documentation is purged from the 800 Number System.
NOTE: For applications completed on the Internet, closeout language is provided online.
H. Policy – DIB maximum (MAX) primary insurance amount (PIA) situation
In a title II DIB MAX PIA situation, advise the NH and/or auxiliaries that although no benefits are currently payable to the auxiliaries because of the family maximum, it may be beneficial to file an application. Once an application is filed, we will list the auxiliaries in “technically entitled” status to prevent a loss of benefits should benefits later become possible due to cost-of-living increases or if the NH has additional earnings that can be included in a recomputation of benefits. Also, if the NH dies, the DIB MAX is automatically converted to a regular MAX and benefits will be due the auxiliary survivors listed on the record. If the auxiliaries decide not to file and are named on the NH's application, close out the protective filing according to GN 00204.012C or GN 00204.012D as applicable.