TN 83 (07-14)

GN 00204.048 Processing Month of Elections (MOEL) Exceptions

A. Background about MOEL exceptions

After a benefit application is completed and awarded, the claimant receives benefits based on the information provided. A Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) is created and then reviewed by the Title II Redesign (T2R) system. The T2R system automatically processes any earnings changes using the earning enforcement process and adjusts the MOEL as appropriate. However, T2R generates an exception for manual processing in the following situations:

  • the earnings enforcement provides a possible earlier MOEL;

  • the MOEL change affects a period of entitlement for an auxiliary; and

  • the MOEL adjustment is after the current operating month (COM).

This section instructs processing center (PC) technicians on how to process post-entitlement MOEL actions generated by T2R. If the claimant requests an MOEL change or requests a reopening for an MOET not generated by the T2R exceptions, follow instructions in GN 00204.047.

B. Key terms for the MOEL evaluation

The following definitions apply:

  1. Annual Earnings Test (AET)/Monthly Earnings Test (MET) – A measurement that determines the amount, if any, to be deducted from the monthly benefits of the working number holder (NH), auxiliaries (AUX) and survivor (SURV) beneficiaries. These tests determine the amount of benefits payable. For earnings test information, see RS 02501.021.

  2. Non-Service Months (NSM) – Any month of entitlement before FRA in which an entitled beneficiary neither earns wages of more than the monthly exempt amount; nor performs substantial services in self-employment. If annual earnings are under the AET limit, treat all months as NSMs. If annual earnings are above the AET limit, all months are service months, unless otherwise indicated. NSMs only apply in the last monthly earnings test year (LMETY). For information about applying the Monthly Earnings Test (MET), see RS 02501.030.

  3. Adjusted MOEL – The month that yields the first payment of any amount after the enforcement process has charged off excess earnings.

  4. Date Claim Filed (DCF) – Either the date we receive a valid application or the date of protective filing, whichever is earliest.

  5. DCF Restriction Month – The earliest month prior to the month of filing for which a beneficiary is eligible to receive retroactive benefits

  6. Confirm MOEL – A code used to annotate the MBR to confirm the MOEL was verified.

  7. Beneficiary identification code (BIC) – refers to claim’s symbol and subscript assigned to the beneficiary. For detail information about BIC codes, see SM 10802.110.

  8. Earliest Possible Date of Entitlement (EPDOE) - A critical date in the MOEL process for a beneficiary.

  1. Reduced BIC A EPDOE is the later of:

    • the DCF, or

    • age 62 throughout the month and meets all entitlement factors per RS 00201.001.

  2. Reduced BIC B EPDOE is the later of:

    • DCF, or

    • age 62 throughout the month; or

    • the month the claimant meets the relationship date to the NH per RS 00202.001, or

    • BIC A’s MOEL.

      NOTE: BIC B beneficiaries who attain FRA in the year of earnings (YOER) require special consideration. We define these BIC B beneficiaries as “unreduced,” but for the purpose of the MOEL process, the final MOEL for BIC B may properly yield a reduced benefit at FRA.

  3. Unreduced BIC B EPDOE is the later of:

    • the DCF restriction month, or

    • the month the claimant meets the relationship date to the NH per RS 00202.001, or

    • attainment of FRA, or

    • BIC A’s MOEL.

  4. BIC B2 EPDOE is the later of:

    • the DCF restriction month, or

    • the month the claimant meets the relationship date to the NH per RS 00202.001, or

    • the EPDOE for a BIC C in care on the record, or

    • BIC A’s MOEL.

  5. BIC C EPDOE is the later of:

    • the DCF restriction month, or

    • the month the claimant meets the relationship date to the NH per RS 00203.001, or

    • For survivor cases, the NH’s date of death (DOD)or the BIC C’s month of birth, or

    • For life cases, the month after the month of birth unless born on the first of the month, in which case, it is the month of birth, or BIC A’s MOEL, or

    • For childhood disability benefits (CDB) is the later of the DCF restriction month; or the date of disability onset (DDO).

  6. BIC D EPDOE

    • For reduced BIC D, is the later of:

      • the DCF restriction month, or

      • the NH’s DOD, or

      • age 60.

    • For unreduced BIC D, is the later of:

      • the DCF restriction month, or

      • the NH’s DOD, or

      • BIC D’s FRA attainment month.

NOTE: Age 60 throughout the month does not apply to widow(er)s.

C. General procedure for processing all MOEL T2R exceptions

When processing an exception for any MOEL code, consider any new and material evidence and follow these steps:

  1. Identify the current MOEL option code (see GN 00204.041).

  2. Review the MOE CONFIRM CODE value on the MBR (see SM 00606.095B.1.).

  3. Apply the annual earnings test (AET) (see RS 02501.021).

  4. Charge off the excess earnings per RS 02501.095B using the current MOE and the EPDOE.

  5. Make a MOEL determination.

D. Procedure for processing MOEL T2R exceptions based on the MOEL option code

NOTE: For full definitions of each option code, see GN 00204.041.

  1. Records with a MOEL option code “A”

    Step 1: Determine the beneficiary’s earliest possible date of entitlement (EPDOE) and apply the AET.

    Step 2: Are any benefits payable in the year of enforcement using the EPDOE?

    • If no, move the MOEL to:

      • January of the following year and annotate the record with “MOE change not confirmed,” or

      • the month of FRA, if the beneficiary’s MOEL is in the year of FRA and annotate the record with “MOE changed and confirmed.”

    • If yes, go to step 3 to determine the adjusted MOEL.

    Step 3: Are there NSMs?

    • If no, the adjusted MOEL is the beneficiary’s EPDOE or January of the enforcement year, whichever is later.

    • If yes, are any benefits payable before the first NSM?

      • No – the adjusted MOEL is the beneficiary’s first NSM.

      • Yes – the adjusted MOEL is the beneficiary’s EPDOE or January of the enforcement year, whichever is later.

    Step 4: Is the current MOEL equal to the adjusted MOEL?

    • If yes, do not move the current MOEL and annotate the record with “MOE confirmed.”

    • If no, calculate the total amount of benefits payable after the appropriate AET charge off from the:

      • current MOEL up to, but not including, the month of FRA; and

      • adjusted MOEL up to, but not including, the month of FRA.

    Step 5: Compare the total benefits payable from the current MOEL with the total amount of benefits payable from the adjusted MOEL as determined in Step 4.

    Step 6: Are the total benefits payable using the current MOEL equal or higher than the total benefits payable using the adjusted MOEL?

    • If yes, do not move the current MOEL and annotate the record with “MOE confirmed.”

    • If no, move the NH MOEL to the adjusted MOEL and annotate the record with “MOE changed and confirmed.” If there are auxiliaries on the record, refer to section E of this chapter to determine the MOET or whether contact is needed.

  1. Records with MOEL option code “B”

Step 1: Apply the AET using the current MOEL and charge off the excess earnings as per current policy rules in RS 02501.095. If the beneficiary is due only a partial payment in December of the enforcement year, no action is needed.

Step 2: Is the beneficiary due a partial payment in the month before FRA that does not result in a permanent reduction?

  • If no, move the MOEL to the FRA month and annotate the record with “MOE changed and confirmed.”

  • If yes, move the MOEL to the month that allows the partial payment and annotate the record as “MOE changed and confirmed.” If there are auxiliaries on the record, refer to GN 00204.048E in this section to determine the AUX MOET or if contact is needed.

E. Process to determine the AUX MOET

After the NH’s MOEL change is completed, review the auxiliaries on the record to determine if the auxiliary has a choice in selecting a MOEL date (i.e., AUX MOET is not determined by the NH’s MOEL). If the auxiliary has more than one MOEL option, contact is required to discuss the options. Follow instructions in section F of this chapter when contacting beneficiaries. If contact is not required, then change the AUX’s MOET to the later of:

  • NH’s adjusted MOEL,

  • AUX’S EPDOE, or

  • The AUX spouse’s month of FRA attainment when the spouse elects unreduced benefits.

F. Contacting the beneficiaries

If it is determined in GN 00204.048E in this section that we need to contact an auxiliary, inform the beneficiary of the possible change of MOEL due to the material change in earnings and offer the opportunity for him or her to select a month of entitlement based on the new options. Make sure to explain the potential effects of the MOEL changes and emphasize that when to elect benefits is a personal decision based on their personal circumstances. for explaining MOEL options, see GN 00204.039C.

Cover the following points as needed when discussing MOEL options:

  • discuss adjusted reduction factors (see RS 00615.480);

  • discuss delayed retirement credits (see RS 00615.690);

  • explain a CDB’s Medicare eligibility waiting period would be extended by adjusting the MOEL to a future date;

  • explain how the spouse is subject to the “deemed filing” rule (see GN 00204.020F) or earnings enforcement; and

  • explain how the MOEL adjustment can result in a denial or termination of benefits.

Document the beneficiary’s MOEL decision in the Paperless Action Control Record (ACR) and set it to “long-term retention”.

NOTE: If you are contacting an AUX and they defer to the NH for the MOEL decision (i.e., NH lives with the AUX), cover the same information in GN 00204.048F in this section with the NH and explain the appeal process described in GN 00204.048H in this section.

G. Procedure for manually processing T2R exceptions involving a blank MOE CONFIRM CODE value

A blank MOE CONFIRM CODE on the MBR is an indication that we have not made a MOEL determination or we processed the claim prior to the Automated Job Stream 3 (AJS3) to T2R conversion. Follow the steps below when a record has a blank MOE CONFIRM CODE on the MBR:

  1. Identify the current MOEL Option code (see GN 00204.041C);

  2. Review all SSA records to determine if we took any MOEL actions prior to the T2R conversion.

  3. Follow instructions in this section to evaluate the MOEL if no action has been taken to confirm the MOEL

  4. If an MOE