TN 60 (07-23)

GN 01010.011 Reviewing the earnings record (E/R) with the number holder (NH) or claimant

A. Policy for reviewing the E/R

For all initial in-office and telephone claims, review the earnings posted to the Master Earning File (MEF) with the NH or claimant during the claims interview to:

  • Ensure accuracy and completion. Use the Summary Earnings Query (SEQY), or the Detail Earnings Query (DEQY) to compare the claimant’s work history and earnings allegations for inaccuracies. Also, obtain an Earnings Alert Query (EARQ) to identify potential earnings record discrepancies; and

  • Inform claimants, when applicable, that monthly benefit amounts are determined using the highest 35 years of indexed earnings and, that in some cases, additional work could increase the benefit amount. For more information on how we compute monthly benefit amounts, see RS 00605.000.

For Internet claims (iClaim), query the SEQY or DEQY to compare the claimant’s work history and earnings allegations, as well as EARQ alerts to determine if contact with the claimant is necessary.

B. Procedure for reviewing E/R

In all claim situations, the technician is responsible for reviewing the claimant’s earnings record to identify situations that may adversely affect the claimant’s benefits (e.g., insured status). Refer to RS 01404.110C to determine when to develop potential earnings record inaccuracies.

In addition to the earnings record review, the technician must request EARQ alerts in all claim situations. Resolve alerts as follows:

  1. 1. 

    If the claimant agrees with their Social Security statement or earnings record, resolve the EARQ alerts only if:

    • it is clear the claimant is incapable and will require a representative payee; or

    • a multiple Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax report or possible duplicate earnings alert exists and, using the alerted earnings, could result in an incorrect increase.

  2. 2. 

    If the claimant does not agree with their Social Security statement or earnings record, resolve the alerts following instructions in RS 01404.110 through RS 01404.140. For internet claims (iClaim), if a claimant indicates that they do not have an earnings statement, contact the claimant to review the earnings history per RS 01404.110.

While reviewing the earnings record pay particular attention to earnings posted after 1977. An E/R review with the claimant indicates whether the field office (FO) must develop the following issues:

  • Lag earnings, see RS 01404.005;

  • Accuracy of the E/R, see RS 01404.105;

  • Pre-lag earnings, see RS 01404.110 and RS 01404.175;

  • Gaps, see RS 01404.120 ;

  • Duplicate or erroneous postings, see RS 01404.140; or

  • MS active duty periods prior to 1968, Wage Credits or Deemed Wages. Verify active duty periods of any alleged or proven MS prior to 1968. This includes 1957 through 1967 Deemed Military Wages (DMW) and Pre-1957 MS Wage Credits or the lack thereof from 1940 to 1968.

NOTE: Do NOT show post-1956 MS earnings or DMWs as precluded (PRE) unless the benefit computation for Railroad (RR) benefits used them.

For information about E/R review requirements see RS 01404.105.

CAUTION: To determine longevity for a government pension, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) only uses the time in service, not the post-1956 MS earnings or DMWs earned. Thus, do not preclude these earnings or DMWs from the SSA PIA or benefit payment computation. For instructions about how OPM credits post-1956 military service, see RS 01702.356.

C. References

  • RS 00605.000 Initial Computation of the PIA – Recomputations and Recalculations – Table of Contents

  • RS 01404.003 Wage Development Policy

  • RS 01404.005 Lag Period – and Lag Earnings

  • RS 01404.105 Examining the E/R for Accuracy

  • RS 01404.110 Pre-lag Development and Documentation Requirement

  • RS 01404.120 Gap Development

  • RS 01404.140 Development of Possible Erroneous or Duplicate Postings

  • RS 01404.175 Forms W-2/W-2c as Evidence of Pre-lag Wages

  • RS 01702.356 Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Use of Military Service (MS)

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GN 01010.011 - Reviewing the earnings record (E/R) with the number holder (NH) or claimant - 07/24/2023
Batch run: 07/24/2023