TN 3 (01-03)

GN 01713.210 Developing Evidence in Claims for Belgian Benefits

A. Introduction

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

B. Policy — General

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

C. Policy — Using evidence submitted in claim for U.S. benefits

Evidence that is used to establish a factor of entitlement for U.S. Social Security benefits may also be used by Belgium to establish the same factor for Belgian benefits. Consequently, it is unnecessary for the applicant to submit additional evidence to document a factor of entitlement for Belgian 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 Belgian benefits.

1. Retirement Claims

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

  1. Age of worker

  2. Marriage, if the worker has a dependent spouse

  3. Marriage, divorce and age of divorced wife, if a divorced wife's benefit is claimed.

2. Survivors Claims

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

  1. Date of death of worker

  2. Age and marriage, if a widow(er) benefit is claimed

  3. Marriage, divorce and age of divorced widow, if a divorced widow's benefit is claimed.

3. Disability Claims

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

  1. Degree of disability (medical evidence)

  2. Date of marriage, if the worker has a dependent spouse.

E. Procedure — General

Take the following actions when developing evidence to support claims for Belgian 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 Belgian 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 Belgian agency will contact him or 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:

  1. Proof of age in GN 00302.000

  2. Proof of death in GN 00304.000

  3. Proof of marriage and divorce in GN 00305.000.

Applicants filing for Totalization retirement benefits as miners or seamen will need to establish the type of work they performed in the United States and the length of time they performed that type of work (see GN 01713.125A.1.). If the applicant asks for guidance, suggest that he or she obtain a statement from the employer showing the type of work performed and the dates of employment in that type of work.

3. Document the File

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

a. Concurrent Title II/Belgian Claim

Send a certified photocopy of the relevant evidence with the Belgian 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 the Number Holder's (NH's) U.S. Coverage

  1. Obtain proof of lag earnings through the quarter of filing or death in all claims for Belgian benefits. (Lag earnings are always needed since Belgium counts a worker's U.S. quarters of coverage in computing the amount of the Belgian benefit.