TN 4 (04-01)

GN 01709.210 Developing Evidence in Claims for Swiss Benefits

A. Introduction

The following subsections show the types of evidence that may be used to support claims for Swiss benefits.

B. Policy -- General

Under the agreement with Switzerland, SSA will take applications for both regular and Totalization benefits on behalf of Switzerland and provide limited assistance in obtaining evidence needed to support the claim.

C. Policy -- Using U.S. evidence

Evidence that is used to establish a factor of entitlement for U.S. Social Security benefits may also be used by Switzerland to establish the same factor for Swiss benefits. Consequently, it is unnecessary for the applicant to submit additional evidence to document a factor of entitlement for Swiss benefits when that factor has already been verified for SSA purposes.

D. Policy -- Entitlement factors

The following indicates what factors of entitlement, in addition to insured status, must be established in claims for Swiss benefits.

1. Retirement benefits

The entitlement factors that must be established for Swiss retirement claims are:

  • age of worker

  • age and relationship of child, if child's benefit claimed

2. Survivors benefits

The entitlement factors that must be established for Swiss survivors claims are:

  • death of worker

  • age of widow, if over age 45 and not caring for child under age 19 (age 26 if in school)

  • date of marriage, if widow(er)'s benefit claimed

  • dates of marriage and divorce, if divorced widow(er)'s benefit claimed

  • age and relationship of child, if child's benefit claimed

3. Disability benefits

The entitlement factors that must be established for Swiss disability claims are:

  • age of worker

  • degree of disability (i.e., medical evidence)

  • age of spouse and marriage, if spouse's supplement claimed

  • age and relationship of child, if child's benefit claimed

E. Procedure — General

Take the following actions when developing evidence to support a claim for Swiss benefits.

1. Accepting evidence

Accept any evidence the applicant wishes to submit. If the applicant does not want to release an original document, photocopy the evidence and certify the copy.

CAUTION: Do not hold claims for Swiss benefits for prolonged periods pending receipt of evidence. If an applicant is unable to obtain needed evidence within a reasonable time, transmit the claim to the Office of International Operations (OIO) without the evidence. Advise the applicant that the responsible Swiss agency will contact him/her directly to obtain any evidence it needs.

2. Types of evidence

If the applicant requests guidance on the type of evidence to submit, see:

3. Document the file

Document the file to show when a factor of entitlement for Swiss benefits has already been verified for a U.S. claim.

a. Concurrent title II/Swiss claim

Send a certified photocopy of the relevant evidence with the Swiss claim to OIO if the concurrent title II claim will be sent to a program service center (PSC) other than OIO.

b. Prior title II claim

Include a master beneficiary record (MBR) printout in the claims file sent to OIO to show which factors, other than disability, have been verified in a prior file.

4. Obtain record of number holder's (NH's) U.S. coverage

  • Obtain a record of the NH's U.S. coverage in all claims for Swiss benefits. When the applicant is filing for both U.S. and Swiss benefits, completion of the modernized claims system (MCS) screens will automatically generate a separate earnings record for the Swiss claim. When a claimant files for Swiss benefits only, which is a complex MCS exclusion, request an Informational/Certified Earnings Record (ICER) per MSOM ICERS 001.004.

  • Obtain proof of lag wages only if U.S. covered work in the lag period is alleged and the applicant is filing for a Swiss disability benefit or for orphan's benefits on the record of a deceased mother.

F. Procedure -- all claims

In addition to taking the actions in GN 01709.210E., indicate in the "Remarks" section of the paper Form SSA-2490-BK (Application for Benefits Under a U.S. International Soc