TN 6 (09-02)
GN 00603.110 Handling Conserved Funds When Payee's Whereabouts are Unknown or Upon the Death of the Payee
When you are unable to locate a payee or a payee dies, you must select a new payee. Enter the date and relevant comments in the Make Note screen on eRPS to indicate that the payee's whereabouts are unknown or that the payee has died. Determine if there are any conserved benefits held on behalf of the beneficiary and, if so, arrange for the funds to be returned to SSA for transfer to the new payee.
Where appropriate, inform the new payee about his/her responsibilities for accounting for these conserved funds.
If the savings are in a bank or other financial institution, contact the bank to learn if the savings still exist and to discuss how benefits can be returned to SSA for reissuance to the successor payee. After contacting the bank, notify the new payee by sending a notice (see NL 00703.354 -- Conserved Benefits - Entire Amount Paid to New Representative Payee or to the Beneficiary) of the amount of the conserved funds.
If the funds are not actually returned to SSA because the bank will not release the funds, document the file as to the reasons given by the bank and refer the case to regional programs staff for referral to the Regional Chief Counsel.
Where the funds have been conserved in other forms (such as burial policies, mortgages on homes, common stock, etc.), contact the responsible party to find out how the title of the conservation can be changed so as to be available to the new payee when needed by the beneficiary. (The “responsible party” to be contacted may be the representative of the deceased payee's estate, the person issuing the policy or holding the mortgage, etc.). Notice and assistance to the new payee will be similar to that given where the savings are in a bank account.