TN 12 (07-97)
GN 00904.030 Determining Resident Office
Many cases involve several individuals, living in two or more different service areas. Responsibility for processing claims leads, claims inquiries, claims and earnings discrepancies is assigned to one servicing office called the “resident” office. Auxiliary claims, other claims filed by nonprincipal claimants and leads should be kept and completely processed in the servicing nonresident office, UNLESS there is a claim pending on the DOWR on the primary beneficiary in the resident office. This information can be determined by sending an MBR or other systems query. In that case, the servicing nonresident district office will forward the application, etc., to the resident district office (see GN 00904.010) as soon as possible. If it is necessary to delay forwarding a claim (longer than 10 days) the file should be documented as to the reason for the delay; e.g., additional development was required, etc.
When the principal claimant files his claim and there are other potential beneficiaries living in another service area, the resident office should promptly initiate an assistance request(s) to obtain appropriate application(s) and/or development. When feasible such requests should be sent within 72 hours of receipt of the primary claim or determination of the potential claimant's whereabouts.
When a representative payee applicant files for the principal claimant, see GN 00501.015E.
When the principal claimant prefers to file his claim with an office other than the resident office, the office preferred by the claimant assumes the duties of the resident office until the claimant is on the rolls (see GN 00904.064D). This protraction of duties is essential to guarantee claimant preference through all stages of claim(s) processing.
A. Principal claimant defined
As used throughout these instructions the term claimant refers to potential or actual claimant, payee or beneficiary. The words primary and principal are used interchangeably. The principal claimant is the claimant highest on the following list (see GN 00502.105 if the representative payee is involved or GN 00904.048 if the principal claimant has appointed as representative):
Social Security Number Holder in title II cases or eligible individual in title XVI cases.
If a wife will be paid as “K1” beneficiary on her husband's social security number and he has not filed a claim, she will be deemed the principal claimant.
If the eligible individual member of a couple is no longer eligible but the spouse's eligibility continues, for DO jurisdictional purposes the spouse is deemed the principle claimant.
Widow (includes the “D” subscripts in order) for widower, or mother or father (includes “E” subscripts in order) claiming monthly benefits. If there is more than one claimant, the one with the lowest subscript (see GN 01050.005) will be the principal claimant.
The youngest child for whom a claim will be filed.
Childhood disability claimant.
Parent (father, if both parents are claimant), claiming monthly benefits.
Lump-sum claimant as described in GN 00904.030B.
DIB after death claimant as described in GN 00204.005F.
B. Principal claimant in LS only cases
In LS only cases the principal claimant is the claimant highest on the following list:
Surviving spouse (see RS 00210.005).
Child of the W/E (see RS 00210.005).
If there is more than one claimant in any category, the principal claimant is the one filing the earliest application.
When a claim for the lump sum is filed subsequent to formal disallowance of a prior lump sum claim, the claimant next in line in the "G" subscript series will be the principal claimant.
If an LSDP has been paid to a domestic claimant, and a subsequent foreign claim is filed, the resident office for the foreign claim will have jurisdiction unless the rights of the domestic claimant are affected by the foreign claim.
C. Principal claimant does not file
When it becomes apparent that a potential principal claimant will not file a claim, the person next in line will become the principal claimant. Prepare an R /C or include other documentation in the file explaining why a claim was not obtained from the potential principal claimant. If the next person in line lives in another service area, forward the development to the appropriate office without delay.
D. Principal claimant not eligible
Even though the principal claimant may not be eligible, if he or she has filed a claim, he or she will remain the principal claimant until his or her claim is forwarded and the processing center completes adjudication of the claim. Such resident office jurisdiction is extended to ensure orderly processing if other claims are filed.
E. Principal claimant's address unknown
The resident office will be the office for the address of the next claimant in line.