TN 83 (07-14)
GN 00204.047 Changing the Month of Election (MOEL) or Month of Entitlement (MOET)
A. Policy on changing the MOEL
Claimants with conditional MOEL codes “A” or “B” can request to change the MOEL date at any time if we have not made an initial determination (i.e., annual earnings verification still pending). For information about conditional MOEL, see GN 00204.040. The MOEL is the claimant’s personal decision; therefore, accept any request for an MOEL change even when there is no apparent reason for doing so. However, do not raise the issue of changing the MOEL unless the claimant:
inquires about changing the MOEL; or
requests a change on his or her record (e.g., earnings estimate, suspension of benefits), which grants an explanation of Social Security program information and its outcome.
You must always inform the claimant of the available options so he or she can make an informed decision. If the claimant has a question in connection with benefit payments from another agency or organization, advise him or her to contact that entity first to find out what effect the change in MOEL would have on those payments. Also, inform the claimant about the automatic MOEL adjustment to January of the following year when his or her record is in full work deductions.
B. Policy on changing the MOET
Claimants with a MOET can also request to change the MOET date. However, since we made an initial determination when we adjudicated the application, the claimant must:
Submit a written request to reopen the prior MOET determination. We will then review the request and consider the rules of administrative finality to determine if reopening is possible. For information about reopening, refer to GN 04001.001; or
File a request to withdraw the application and re-file later if he or she wants a prospective MOET, which has not arrived at the time of the request. The MOET will then be determined using the new filing date and normal rules of retroactivity. For information about withdrawals, refer to GN 00206.001.
C. Requirements for changing the MOEL or MOET
A number holder’s (NH) request to change the MOEL or MOET is a request for all other beneficiaries entitled on that SSN. No consent statements are required in situations where the requested change does not adversely affects all entitled beneficiaries. However, if the change adversely affects the benefits of another beneficiary, you must obtain written consent from that person or the authorized representative. Do not request consent from independently entitled divorced spouses or auxiliaries technically entitled on the record since the change does not adversely affect them.
The claimant may request to change the MOEL or MOET if he or she meets all of the following requirements:
The claimant files a written request for a change or reopening as appropriate which includes:
the MOEL or MOET requested,
the benefit information (SSN, claimant's name), and
a clear understanding of the effect of the decision.
The claimant is alive when the request is filed;
We obtain a written consent from any other person whose entitlement would be adversely affected by the change;
The claimant repays any benefit amounts received (if request is approved), which would not have been payable because of the change;
The month elected is from any month within the retroactive life of the application up to the month the claimant submitted the request; and
The claimant submits proper evidence (if needed) supporting the change (e.g., earnings or relationship evidence if auxiliary claimants are involved).
D. Procedure for changing the MOEL or MOET
Follow these steps when you receive a request for MOEL change or MOET reopening request:
Field office (FO) procedure
Processing Center (PC) procedure
Review the request to ensure it has all of the information described in GN 00204.047C in this section
Review the request to determine if the request is for a MOEL change or MOET reopening.
Obtain the required:
NOTE: If any beneficiary refuses to consent to a change, deny the request.
MOEL change request:
MOET reopening request:
If the MOEL or MOET request can be approved, then recover any incorrect payment balance by:
suspending benefits (S-9);
notifying the beneficiary(ies) of the repayment amount; and
setting a 60-day diary to control the repayment.
Explain to the claimant that we:
NOTE: Accept any refund a claimant offers or a benefit check that can be returned to treasury. For Procedures for Handling Remittances and Premium Payments in the Field Office, see GN 02403.000.
If there is no receipt of repayment after 60 days:
deny the MOEL change or MOET reopening request;
notify the claimant(s) of the resumption; and
explain why we denied the request.
Fax the written MOEL change or MOET reopening request along with any other related materials into the paperless system of the proper processing center (PC) for action. using an SSA-409 coversheet. Follow normal telephone protocol for any follow-ups to PC.