TN 19 (01-12)

GN 00304.075 Determining if Homicide is an Issue

A. Policy for determining if homicide is an issue

It is not necessary to question the possible involvement of a claimant or potential claimant unless there is an indication (e.g., death certificate, newspaper account) that the number holder’s (NH) death may have resulted from intentional homicide.

In cases of violent death, do not question involvement if the evidence indicates death resulted from an accident or suicide.

Absent evidence to the contrary, assume that a claimant younger than age 11 at the time of the death was not involved in the homicide.

B. Development and documentation for determining if homicide is an issue

1. Claimant not involved

  1. Complete a report of contact (RC) citing the reason for the claimant's noninvolvement. A statement from a law enforcement official may take the place of or accompany an RC.

  2. Include any evidence such as a newspaper clipping with the RC.

2. Claimant involved in the homicide unknown

  1. Conduct an interview, document discussion with an RC (GN 00304.075B.4.).

  2. Document when official information either cannot or will not be given by law enforcement officials.

  3. List and diary the claim (GN 00304.075B.5. through GN 00304.075B.6.).

3. Claimant’s possible involvement in homicide known

  1. Document the information that indicates the police suspected claimant is involved in the homicide.

  2. Conduct an interview, document discussion with an RC (GN 00304.075B.4.).

  3. List and diary the claim (GN 00304.075B.5. through GN 00304.075B.6.).

4. Claimant interview

  1. Conduct a personal interview with the claimant or his or her payee:

    • prior to entitlement or payment, or

    • when we established the entitlement of the claimant prior to discovery of the claimant's possible involvement in the homicide of the NH.

      NOTE: Prepare a carefully worded written notice if an interview is not possible.

  2. Use the utmost tact in conducting the interview and allow the claimant's attorney to be present if desired.

  3. Explain the Social Security provisions concerning intentional homicide including payment options. For payment of benefits if homicide is an issue, refer to GN 00304.080B.

  4. Stress that the claimant must repay any benefits (including the lump sum death payment (LSDP)) paid because the claimant was incorrectly entitled.

    NOTE: Prior to paying an underpayment, tell the claimant about the Social Security provisions concerning intentional homicide and possible repayment. Do not initiate discussion about delaying payment.

  5. The Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) or the field office (FO) conducts the personal interview, if possible, when the claimant is in Canada or Mexico. Otherwise, the Foreign Service Post (FSP) or the Veterans Administration Regional Office (VARO) in Manila conducts the personal interview if the claimant is outside the U.S.

5. When to establish listing code

  1. Establish listing code 324-Possible Homicide-2-Year Development Period for any case involving potential intentional homicide where payment is elected. For payment of benefits if homicide is an issue, refer to GN 00304.080B.

  2. Establish listing code 458 - Possible Homicide - Active Development Terminated if after 2 years no charge or indictment has occurred and no additional information is available.

  3. Cancel code 324 if the conditions for establishing code 458 are met.

6. When to establish a diary

Follow these guidelines when benefits, LSDP or underpayments are involved:

If...

Then...

Official information from a law enforcement agency concerning the involvement of the claimant is not available

  • Document the file

  • Establish a diary for 6 months from the date of death

Claimant charged, indicted or a trial date set

  • Establish a 3 month diary from the date of death or for the month of trial if known

  • Repeat at 3 month intervals for the first year and 6 month intervals for the second year if claimant still under suspicion

No information is available after the 6 month diary follow-up

  • Diary for 1 year from the date of death

No information available after 1 year diary follow-up

  • Diary for 2 years from the date of death

No information available after 2 year diary

  • Establish listing code 458

LSDP only involved

  • Diary for one year, if necessary repeat

NOTE: During or after the 2-year development period, cancel any diary or listing when official information reveals that the claimant:

  • is no longer a suspect,

  • charges have been dropped,

  • an acquittal has occurred,

  • a conviction is not for felonious and intentional homicide, or

  • any other event occurs that reveals that homicide by the claimant is no longer an issue.

7. Claimant acquitted, convicted, placed on probation, or pardoned

Follow these instructions when claimant acquitted, convicted, placed on probation or pardoned:

  1. Get a certification by the clerk of court or court record showing the final verdict or a statement from the district attorney or other proper court official as to the final disposition of the case.

  2. Refer the case to the Division of International Program Policy and Agreements (DIPPA), Office of Policy if the court that reached the decision was by a foreign court and there is a question concerning the effect of the decision.

  3. Depending on the verdict, take the following action:

If Claimant...

Then...

Verdict is acquitted (found not to have killed the
NH if juvenile)

  • Document the file of the acquittal

  • Cancel any related listing or diary

  • Release any withheld benefits

Is given probation “before verdict” or plea or verdict of guilty is set aside

  • Submit the case to the Chief Counsel through the ARC, Programs to ascertain whether there has been a conviction in the case and whether entitlement is barred

Is given a pardon

  • Determine the basis for the pardon from the pardon or the pardoning authority

  • Reopen any disallowed claim or release any benefits due to the convicted claimant only if the basis for the pardon is the innocence of the claimant

Convicted of felony

  • Determine that the homicide was intentional

  • Cancel any existing listing or diary related to the homicide

  • If convicted of voluntary manslaughter or the type of conviction cannot be distinguished, provide a brief summary statement of the circumstances surrounding the killing and all available evidence concerning whether the homicide was intentional. Possible evidence includes statements from the prosecuting attorney, trial transcripts, coroner's and police reports and the finding of the court. If we cannot clearly determine intentional homicide submit the case to the Chief Counsel through the Program Service Center (PSC), Office of International Operations (OIO) or Assistant Regional Commissioner (ARC), Programs.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200304075
GN 00304.075 - Determining if Homicide is an Issue - 01/05/2012
Batch run: 01/05/2012
Rev:01/05/2012