TN 41 (02-14)
GN 00502.117 Verifying Information Provided by Payee Applicants
A. Policy for verifying information payee applicants provide
We are legally required to verify the identity and Social Security Number (SSN) information (or employer identification number, (EIN)) payee applicants supply. Verifying other allegations such as income, custody, and criminal history will also help determine a payee applicant's suitability.
1. Verifying Social Security Numbers
a. Payees residing in the U.S.
A payee who resides in the U.S. must have a verifiable SSN before serving as a payee. Issue an SSN to any payee applicant who is entitled to have one but does not. If the applicant is not entitled to receive an SSN, develop an alternative payee applicant.
EXCEPTION: If the applicant is a parent filing to be payee for his or her minor child and we cannot issue an SSN, appoint the parent as payee, if he or she is suitable and manually process the case. For information on PC processing of T2R output and manual payee actions, see GN 00502.190.
You must verify an organizational payee applicant’s EIN. For instructions on how to verify an organizational payee applicant’s EIN, see GN 00502.118.
b. Payees residing outside the U.S.
A payee who resides outside the U.S. may not have a SSN. Since we only issue SSNs to foreign nationals residing outside the U.S. in specific situations, we cannot require others to have an SSN as a condition of payee appointment. Therefore, the procedures for verifying SSNs do not apply to applicants living in foreign countries who cannot have an SSN.
2. Verifying identity
You must verify an individual applicant's identity in all cases. An applicant's inability to prove his or her identity may be a strong indicator that the applicant has failed to provide correct information about other factors which bear on payee suitability (e.g., the applicant's degree of concern about the beneficiary, how the beneficiary's money will be used, etc.).
3. Verifying criminal history
You must develop all criminal history if:
our systems queries contain criminal history information,
a criminal background check indicates past criminal history or
an individual voluntarily provides past criminal history during the representative payee application.
You must weigh information about the applicant's criminal history, (i.e., the nature of the crime and when the crime occurred), along with the relationship to and custody of the beneficiary when making a determination involving such an applicant. We bar individuals convicted of certain crimes from serving as a representative payee. See the policy for barring individuals convicted of crimes from serving as payees in GN 00502.133A.
4. Verifying income
The source of an applicant's income may be a factor in determining how likely the applicant is to use the benefits in the beneficiary's best interests. An applicant who does not have a reliable source of income may be more likely to divert the beneficiary's funds for the applicant's own use. In addition, failure to provide verifiable information about income may be a strong indicator that the applicant has failed to provide correct information about other factors that affect payee suitability.
5. Verifying custody
Verify an individual applicant's allegation of custody whenever necessary. You must verify custody when the payee applicant is a parent alleging custody of the minor child for whom he or she is filing and the other parent does not live in the same household. In all other cases, FOs may use discretion as to the need to verify custody.
B. Procedure for verifying information payee applicants provide
1. Verifying payee applicants SSN
Verify an individual applicant's SSN before you appoint the individual as payee.
a. Application processed through the Electronic Representative Payee System (eRPS)
When processing an application through eRPS, verifying the SSN is part of the application process. The eRPS accesses the NUMIDENT/ICD and displays the applicant's name and date of birth. Ask the applicant for that information and compare it to the data displayed to verify ownership of the SSN. No further verification is needed.
b. Application processed outside eRPS
Manually process payee applications for parents filing to be payee for his or her minor child when we cannot issue an SSN. These are the only cases processed outside of the eRPS system. For information on PC processing of T2R output and manual payee actions, see GN 00502.190.
c. SSN not verified because there is a death indicator on NUMIDENT
Some SSNs will not be verified because there is a death indicator on the NUMIDENT. If there is a death indicator on the NUMIDENT, follow the instructions in GN 00304.100.
2. Verifying payee applicant’s identity
a. Individual payee applicant
Ask the individual applicant to furnish documents to verify his or her identity.
NOTE: Acceptable evidence of identity includes a valid driver's license, state issued I.D. card, U.S. passport, or government issued I.D.
Document a description of the evidence presented on the Proof of Identity screen in the eRPS (MS INTRANETERPS 009.011).
To verify identity during a telephone interview, use the process outlined in GN 00203.020A.2. Document that you verified the applicant’s identify via the numident on the eRPS Introduction screen (MS INTRANETERPS 009.002) in your explanation of why this interview is not being taken in a face-to-face setting.
EXCEPTION: Do not ask for verification of identity if during this interview session the applicant proved identity in conjunction with a claim for benefits.
b. Organizational payee applicant
Ask the employee of an organizational payee to provide the following information to verify identity:
his or her name and job title;
the name of the organization;
the organization’s address; and
the organization’s EIN (Employer Identification Number).
Use the Rep Payee Applicant “Note Type” on the Make Note screen to document the employee’s name and job title in eRPS.
3. Verifying criminal history
An individual’s past criminal record is important and requires verification before making your selection determination.
EXCEPTION: If a payee applicant indicates he or she was convicted of any of the crimes listed in GN 00502.133A, there is no reason to request further documentation. The applicants’ allegation of a conviction for one of these crimes is the only verification needed.
a. Requesting court documents or prison release papers
If you determine the criminal information is incomplete and has an impact on your determination:
Inform the applicant that he or she needs to provide the appropriate court documents that reflect the information you need.
If the PUPS record does not reflect a release date, the applicant must provide release papers.
If you need to determine the type of conviction or type of crime, the applicant must produce documentation that provides this information.
Control for the return of the court documents or prison release papers using the Add New Issue screen (MS INTRANETERPS 008.007) for the payee applicant and follow up with him or her via telephone or mail as necessary.
If, after 15 days, the payee applicant has not contacted you or submitted the court documents or prison release papers, begin developing for another payee.
If, after 30 days, from the initial request for information, the payee applicant has not contacted you or submitted the court documents or release papers, “non-select” the applicant. Use the Rep Payee Applicant “Note Type” on the Make Note screen to document the reasons why you did not select the applicant.
When the payee applicant submits the court documents or prison release papers:
Review the information carefully; and
Follow up with the payee applicant to clarify previous answers, if necessary.
Review the barred crimes state digest in GN 00502.301. This digest breaks down the barred crimes discussed in GN 00502.133A.4 based on the state or territory where he or she committed the crime.
Use the Rep Payee Applicant “Note Type” on the Make Note screen to document the payee applicant’s criminal history information or prison release information, include the following:
If the payee applicant reports difficulty obtaining the court documents or release papers, you can assist him or her by contacting the prison or correctional institution. For additional guidance on obtaining court documents or prisoner information, see the list of third party sources to use to locate missing inmate information in GN 02607.680.
If the court or prison is in another state or region, you can assist the applicant by sending an SSA-562 (Request for Assistance) to the local servicing FO of the court or prison. For information on requesting help from other field offices, see POMS GN 00301.205.
NOTE: If the applicant is currently serving as payee for other beneficiaries, follow current policy instructions on factors to consider in evaluating payee applicants in GN 00502.130 and the payee preference list in GN 00502.105. A history of criminal behavior by the payee applicant may be an indicator that the applicant is not suitable to serve as a payee.
b. Requesting an opinion regarding the applicant’s criminal history
If, after reviewing the barred crimes state digest in GN 00502.301, you are unsure whether you should bar the individual from serving as a payee and you received court documents from the payee applicant, contact the regional office (RO) and send the court documents to your RO contact.
The RO should take the following actions:
Contact your regional chief counsel and send the court documents along with a request for an opinion asking whether the payee applicants criminal history would bar him or her from serving as payee based on the policy in GN 00502.133A.4.
Forward the opinion from the regional chief counsel to the local FO.
c. Handling erroneous criminal information received from the PayeeWiz, Criminal Report tab
If the applicant indicates a crime you discovered by using the PayeeWiz, Criminal Report tab is erroneous, use the following steps in the order below to determine if you need to verify the applicant’s allegation:
Compare the applicant’s identifying information with the identifying information received from the PayeeWiz Criminal Report tab;
Ask the applicant if he or she ever lived in the state where the crime was committed;
If the identifying information is discrepant and the applicant denies ever living in the state where the crime was committed, use the Rep Payee Applicant “Note Type” on the Make Note screen to document the information; and
After documenting the Make Note screen, continue the payee application process. It is not necessary to request further documentation from the applicant.
If the identifying information is correct or the applicant lived in the state where the crime was committed, request further documentation from the payee applicant:
Provide the applicant with a printed copy of the criminal information on the PayeeWiz Criminal Report tab; and
Request court documentation from the applicant and follow the steps in GN 00502.117B.3.a in this section.
4. Verify source of income
a. Verify employment/self-employment
To verify employment/self-employment:
Request a DEQY or other valid employment documentation to verify the applicant's employment allegation.
Use the Rep Payee Applicant “Note Type” on the Make Note screen in the eRPS with the results of your employment verification.
Employment allegations are collected on the Applicant Income screen (MS INTRANETERPS 009.013) in the eRPS or question 15 on the SSA-11-BK.
NOTE: Failure to provide correct information about employment is a good indicator that the applicant may have provided other incorrect information and may not be a good payee.
b. Verify receipt of benefits for applications taken in eRPS
To verify receipt of benefits for applications taken in the eRPS:
consider the allegation verified if the information on the screening query corroborates the applicant's allegations; otherwise,
obtain an FACT/SSID query.
EXCEPTION: You do not need to verify source(s) of income for applicants who complete abbreviated SSA-11-BKs, see GN 00502.107B.2.
c. Do not request information from non-SSA Sources
Do not request information from non-SSA sources (e.g., Department of Veteran’s Administration (DVA) benefits, Worker’s Compensation (WC) payments) or verify a spouse's income unless you need such verification to be convinced of the applicant's suitability.
5. Verify custody
Use whatever means available to verify an applicant's allegation of custody. You may use discretion as to the need to verify custody. However, when the applicant is a parent who alleges custody of a minor child, and also alleges the other parent does not live in the same household, you must make contact with a third party (such as a school official, day care provider, or doctor’s office) to verify custody. Use the Rep Payee/Bene Relationship “Note Type” on the Make Note screen in eRPS (MS INTRANETERPS 015.002) to indicate custody verification.
Example Make Note screen documentation: 11/05/12 Mr. John Doe at Elm Elementary School, Baltimore, MD, verified Mrs. Mary Jones has custody of Ann Jones.
MSOM QUERIES 003.002, Numident Query Sensitive Information (NUMI)
MSOM QUERIES 003.005, Detail Earnings Query (DEQY)
GN 02607.680, Third Party Sources To Use to Locate Missing Inmate Information
GN 00502.118, Verifying EIN
GN 00203.020, Identity of Claimants
GN 00304.100, Use of Numident Death Data