TN 38 (12-18)

GN 02201.030 Collection of Title II Overpayments by Tax Refund Offset (TRO)

A. Policy - Tax Refund Offset (TRO)

1. Authority for TRO

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 permits the Social Security Administration (SSA) to recover delinquent Title II overpayments from former beneficiaries by offsetting their Federal income tax refunds. The Unemployment Compensation Act of 1992 made TRO a permanent authority for SSA.

2. Criteria for TRO selection

SSA's system selects debts for recovery by TRO from the Recovery of Overpayments, Accounting and Reporting (ROAR) file, the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) and Numident records. The main criteria for TRO selection is:

  • The debtor is alive;

  • The debtor is not entitled to benefits (ledger account file (LAF) code is equal to T, U, X, N or P);

  • The beneficiary’s own account number (BOAN) for the debtor can be identified on the MBR;

  • The debt is $25 or more;

  • The debtor is not making regular installment payments, or efforts to recover the debt have terminated (for example,TC-71 debts);

  • The debt is past-due, and

  • The debt is legally enforceable.

NOTE:: 

TRO runs on a weekly selection/certification cycle. The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) conducts the TRO program through its automated system, the Treasury Offset Program (TOP). See GN 02201.029 for more information about TOP.

NOTE:: 

Effective May 12, 2017, SSA no longer refers Title II, Title VIII, or Title XVI debts that have a delinquency date of May 19, 2002 or earlier. There is no manual action necessary to prevent TOP selection or referral because TOP selection is automated. Rather, our automated External Collection Operation (ECO) system no longer selects these debts for external collection. Debts with a delinquency date after May 19, 2002 remain eligible for TOP referral.

3. Pre-offset notice

Once SSA's system selects a debt for TRO, SSA sends the debtor a notice using the debtor's address of record from the MBR. If the MBR does not have an address or if the notice is returned as undeliverable based on the MBR address, TOP will retrieve any available address from the credit bureau via an automated address request operation run by SSA.

  1. a. 

    If the credit bureau provides an updated address, SSA will create and send a new pre-offset notice using that address.

  2. b. 

    If the credit bureau does not provide an updated address, then the case will be removed from TOP.

NOTE:: 

The automated address request operation is a separate project from the address requests made by the Debt Management Sections (DMS). The automated operation has no impact on the DMS requests.

The notice informs the debtor of the planned offset action and that:

  • He or she owes a delinquent overpayment debt in a particular amount;

  • SSA plans to refer the debt to Treasury for TRO and send information about the debt to credit bureaus after 60 days have expired from the date on the notice;

  • SSA will not take this action if, before the end of that 60-day period, the debtor pays the debt in full, makes regular installment payments under an agreement with SSA, requests waiver, or furnishes evidence showing that he or she does not owe all or part of the stated amount or SSA does not have the right to collect the debt; and

  • The debtor has the right to review and request a copy of SSA's records regarding the debt.

NOTE:: 

ECO notices sent November 2015 or later are stored in the Online Notice Retrieval System (ORS). For ECO notices sent prior to November 2015, view the ECO master query. For additional information on the ECO master query, see MS DMS 014.007

B. Past-due debt

1. Definition of past-due debt

For SSA TRO purposes, a past-due debt is one in which:

  • Payment is delinquent; and

  • No appeal or waiver request is pending.

2. When a debt is delinquent

A debt is delinquent on the later of the following dates:

  • The 60th day after the date the debt is established on ROAR; or

  • The date on which a decision on a reconsideration and waiver request is posted to ROAR.

C. Legally enforceable debt

A legally enforceable debt for SSA TRO purposes is a debt that is still subject to recovery from the debtor because:

  • The debt has not been paid in full;

  • Recovery of the debt has not been waived;

  • A petition for bankruptcy is not pending in court;

  • The debtor is alive; and

  • The debtor is primarily liable for the debt.

D. Procedure- Handling debtor inquiries/protests - Pre-offset

In the majority of cases, the debtor has previously been given ample opportunity to dispute the overpayment and repay the debt. However, there are situations when the selection for TRO may be erroneous because SSA's records contain outdated or incorrect information.

Although, the time period to request reconsideration of the overpayment determination has passed, under the TRO process, the debtor has the right to object to the collection of a debt on the basis that all or part of the debt is not past-due or not legally enforceable (see GN 02201.030B. and GN 02201.030C. in this section). This section explains how to handle specific inquiries, protests and allegations prior to certification and subsequent offset.

1. Request For explanation of overpayment

For a request for an explanation of the overpayment, proceed as follows:

a. Field Office (FO)/Teleservice Center (TSC) action

If the debtor contacts the FO/TSC requesting an explanation, use the MBR, ROAR, Payment History Update (PHUS), Or Query Response Overpayment (QROP) to provide an explanation of the overpayment .

NOTE: Keep explanations generic and if possible, provide the explanation immediately. For example: "You were no longer disabled as of 05/01 and continued to receive payments through 12/01"; or you remarried in 03/01 and continued to receive checks through 07/01". Do not input “TRO Explanation” on the Protest Request screen DRPF for FO (see MS DMS 006.019) and DRPT for TSC (see MS DMS 006.020).

If online queries contain insufficient information or unresolvable discrepancies, proceed as follows:

  • Input "TRO Explanation" on the Protest/Stop recovery screen (DRPF for FO and DRPT for TSC). See MS DMS 006.019 and MS DMS 006.020.

  • Refer to the Processing Center (PC) to provide an explanation to the debtor and update the Debt Management System (DMS) remarks screen (RMKS) with your action.

  • Annotate the referral "Necessary Action - TOP/Credit Bureau Case - Do Not Backlog.” If asked, advise the caller that his or her should receive a response within 30 days.

b. PSC action

If the debtor contacts the PSC directly or a request is received from the FO for explanation of overpayment, stop recovery (if applicable) via Protest/Stop Recovery Request DRPF screen in DMS (see MS DMS 006.003) using the "explanation" protest reason. Check ORS for any notices sent to the debtor regarding the overpayment then provide an explanation and resume recovery (if applicable) take the following actions:

Provide a written explanation of the overpayment using the following:

  • MBR;

  • ROAR;

  • PHUS;

  • OPWIZ (located on the personal communications, Office of Quality Assurance (PCOM OQA) toolbar); or

  • In Paperless.

If online queries contain insufficient information or unresolvable discrepancies, proceed as follows:

  1. 1. 

    Input “TRO Explanation” on the Protest/Stop Recovery Request (PC) screen (DRPR). However, if the FO has already input “TRO Explanation” Provide the explanation to the debtor (see GN 02201.030D.1.a in this section.).

  2. 2. 

    Determine if the debtor is satisfied with the response and ensure that he or she has no additional requests (i.e. request for waiver) and review the status of the debt and process as follows:

If the debt was written off (in terminated collection status) when the debtor requested an explanation, terminate collection by using the Terminate Collection screen (DFTE) (see MS DMS 007.003). Terminating collection will set the debt up for TOP selection in the next monthly selection cycle; or

If the debt was in the Recovery and Collection of Overpayment Process (RECOOP) system and was not written off when the debtor requested an explanation, input an installment agreement on the Record Installment Agreement screen (DRIN) (see MS DMS 006.014). This will resume billing and allow the system to select the debt for TOP in the next selection.

2. Request for waiver

If the debtor requests a waiver, obtain a Request for Waiver of Overpayment Recovery or Change in Repayment Rate (SSA-632-BK) in accordance with current instructions in GN 02250.002 and GN 02250.200.

Advise the debtor that TRO remains in effect until SSA receives a completed SSA-632-BK (or its equivalent).

Input the waiver request in the Protest Request screen (DRPF for FO and DRPT for TSC) under the TRO category only when the form (or any other written request) is received in accordance with GN 02201.034. Do not delay recording the request once written documentation is received.

3. Request to review record

If the debtor asks to review records in person at the FO, obtain all systems (MBR/ROAR/PHUS) queries and explain what the queries show.

If the debtor makes a request by telephone to the FO, set up an appointment for a review of the MBR/ROAR/PHUS queries. Set the appointment well within the 60-day time limit the debtor has to submit evidence.

If the debtor makes a request to a TSC or PSC, advise the FO to contact the debtor to set up an appointment, and advise the requester that someone from the FO will contact them to schedule an appointment.

In all situations, the FO will attempt to satisfy the request for review without the need to obtain the claims folder. However, if the debtor indicates he or she wishes to review the folder, you must obtain it.

If the FO has not conducted a folder review by the time of the TRO certification run, input “TRO Explanation” to the Protest/Stop Recovery request (PC) screen (DRPR using code TC-23F).

NOTE:: 

Certification will occur no less than 60 days after the date of the pre-offset notice.

4. Request for installment payments

If the debtor wants to repay the debt by monthly installments, follow GN 02210.180 to negotiate a reasonable monthly payment amount.

Advise the debtor that the debt will remain eligible for TRO until we receive a payment and TRO will be inactivated only as long as payments are made according to the agreement. However, upon default of one or more installment payments, the system will refer the debt to Treasury for collection, where it will remain until the debt is paid in full. The debtor may subsequently, offer to restart or resume paying regular installments. We will accept and apply those payments towards the debt but the payments will not inactivate TRO until the debt is paid in full.

Tell the debtor to send installment payment to the address shown on the “Notice of Payment Due” form attached to the pre-offset notice. If the debtor does not have the form, provide the remittance address (MATPSC, P.O. Box 3430, Philadelphia, PA 19122-9985). Always make sure that the name and claim number are on the remittance to ensure proper posting for the beneficiary.

Input the manual installment agreement via the Record Installment Agreement (DRIN) screen (MS DMS 006.014).

5. Debtor objects to collection of debt

a. Debtor objects to SSA's determination that the debt is past-due and legally enforceable

Under the law that authorizes TRO, a debtor has the right to object to the collection of a debt on the basis that all or part of the debt is not past-due or not legally enforceable (see GN 02201.030B. and GN 02201.030C in this section.) These types of protests require submission of evidence to rebut SSA's findings. However, there will be some situations in which we will base an effective protest to collection on the debtor's current statement and information in the claims folder only.

If the debtor objects collection, SSA must receive evidence supporting the objection within 60 days from the date of the pre-offset notice. Examples of evidence that could rebut SSA's determination that a debt is past due and legally enforceable include:

  • Copies of checks (front and back), money orders and receipts showing payments that reduced or eliminated the debt;

  • A waiver approval notice,

  • A waiver or reconsideration request (but no SSA determination regarding that request);

  • A hearing request (but no SSA determination regarding that request);

  • A report that the debtor is deceased; or

  • Bankruptcy documents showing that the debt has been discharged or a bankruptcy petition is pending.

NOTE:: 

This list is not all-inclusive. SSA must evaluate any evidence submitted by the debtor on a case-by-case basis.

If evidence to support objection to collection of the debt is received after 60 days from the date of the preoffset notice, SSA will accept and review the evidence. However, the debt remains in the TRO program unless evaluation of the evidence proves the debt is not past due and legally enforceable.

  1. 1. 

    FO action

If the debtor objects collection proceed as follows:

  • Obtain a statement from the debtor that explains his or her reason(s) such as a Statement or Other Person, Form SSA-795 for objection to collection of the debt. DO NOT OBTAIN AN SSA-561-U2, (Request for Reconsideration).

  • Accept any evidence the debtor submits.

  • Input the protest to the DRPF screen using selection #19 Non-Enforcement. This releases a TC-23Q (TRO LEG ENF/PAST DUE) code to ROAR. See MS DMS 006.019 Protest/Stop Recovery Request (FO) (DRPF).

  • Forward material to the PC annotated “NECESSARY ACTION - TOP/Credit Bureau Case - Do Not Backlog.”

b. PSC action

If the debtor objects collection proceed as follows:

  • Obtain the claims folder.

  • Obtain additional information if needed from the debtor prior to making a decision. Contact the debtor by telephone or by direct mail, if possible.

  • Review the evidence to determine if the debt is still past due and legally enforceable as defined in GN 02201.030B. and GN 02201.030C in this section. If so, and the case can be adjudicated without additional information, send a notice to the debtor explaining why the debt is collectable (in whole or in part).

  • Notify the debtor of the final decision and input the Terminate Collection (DFTE) screen to re-activate ECO. See MSOM DMS 007.003.

  • If the final decision is the debt is NOT past due or legally enforceable and the debt is still active in ECO input the Stop Collection Action (TRSC) Screen to inactivate. See MS DMS 014.003.

IMPORTANT:: 

Since a review to determine if a debt is past due and legally enforceable is not an initial determination, do not include any appeals language in the decision notice.

c. Debtor protests the fact or amount of debt

If a debtor protests the fact or amount of a debt, obtain a full account (FACT) MBR query.

If there is no indication that a request for review is pending, explain that the time period to appeal the overpayment determination has expired and, therefore, the determination is final. If the debtor establishes good cause for extending the time limit, process the request as timely filed (see GN 03101.020).

If the debtor indicates that he or she has evidence that refutes SSA's records, explain that we will refer the debt to Treasury unless we receive the evidence within 60 days from the date of the pre-offset notice. Follow GN 02201.030D.5.a. and GN 02201.030D.5.b. in this section, when the evidence is received.

6. Debtor alleges nonreceipt of overpayment

If a debtor alleges nonreceipt of the overpayment, obtain an MBR, ROAR and PHUS query. If the query shows no record of nonreceipt of the payment(s) in question, proceed as follows:

  • If the debtor had a representative payee, explain that we sent the payment to the payee and there is no indication that the payee did not receive the payment(s).

  • If there was no representative payee (payee), explain that our records do not show any evidence of a nonreceipt allegation at the time we sent the initial overpayment notice.

  • If the debtor insists that we provide a photocopy of the check(s) in question, explain that we will investigate but our system will still refer the debt to Treasury for offset. We will repay any erroneous offset if our investigation supports the nonreceipt allegation. Follow GN 02406.000 to handle the nonreceipt allegation (these references apply to Title II, Title XVI and Black Lung payments). DO NOT make a ROAR input.

NOTE:: 

If the investigation shows that a copy of the check is not available, presume that the debtor received the check. We will determine the overpayment occurred and remains subject to collection.

7. Debtor makes a compromise offer

If the debtor makes a compromise offer, process in accordance with existing instructions in GN 02215.100 through GN 02215.125.

8. Debtor alleges nonreceipt of initial overpayment notice

If a debtor alleges never receiving the initial overpayment notice, proceed as follows:

a. TSC action

  • Advise the debtor to submit a statement regarding nonreceipt of the notice along with his or her current address and telephone number to the FO in person or by mail.

  • Provide the address and telephone number of the FO that services the debtor.

  • Explain to the debtor that TRO will continue to apply unless we can confirm his or her allegation.

b. FO action

  • Get a statement from the debtor regarding nonreceipt of the notice along with his or her current address.

  • Forward material to the PSC annotated “Necessary Action TOP/Credit Bureau Case -- Do Not Backlog.”

  • Explain to the debtor that TRO will continue to apply unless we can confirm his or her allegation through a folder review.

If the claims folder is in the FO after a folder review is requested, check for an undeliverable notice (see GN 02201.030D.4. in this section). If an undeliverable notice is present:

  • Advise the debtor that further investigation is necessary.

  • Return the folder to the PC, clearly marked “TRO - Undeliverable Overpayment Notice in File - Do Not Backlog.”

c. PC action

Review the claims folder to determine if the notice was returned as undeliverable. If so, verify that we did not mail a subsequent notice. If we did not mail a subsequent notice, the debtor has the right to a full administrative review process. Therefore:

  • Re-date and mail the notice to the debtor's current address.

  • Delete the old overpayment on ROAR via the Transaction Correction (SMTC) screen (MS DMS 002.011).

  • Query ROAR the following day to verify deletion. When deleted, reestablish the overpayment as a new debt on ROAR via the Establish Debt (SMED) screen (MS DMS 002.003). Use the current date as the establishment date.

NOTE:: 

The above actions will delete the debt from the TRO program until the debt becomes delinquent and meets all TRO selection criteria.

If we mailed a subsequent notice, advise the debtor (by telephone, if possible) of the date we sent the new notice.

If there is no evidence to support the debtor's allegations, advise the debtor accordingly (by telephone, if possible). Explain that since there is no evidence that the notice was returned as undeliverable by the post office, we must proceed on the assumption that the notice was received.

Document the DMS Remarks screen (RMKS) with the information about debtor contact.

9. Report of death

For a report of death, follow this procedure:

a. FO/TSC Action

If the FO/TSC finds out that a debtor is deceased, input the death report via the Death Information Processing System (DIPS). FO technicians must obtain proof of death as required by GN 00304.001.

b. PC action

If the PC finds out that a debtor is deceased, input the death report via DIPS. Obtain proof of death as required by GN 00304.001.

Input the death using the Stop Offset screen (TRSO) which is requested from the Debt Management Menu's (DMMU) function number 12 — Treasury Offset Program Menu (TRMU) screen (see MS DMS 014.002). This input will delete the debtor from TOP.

Conduct any estate development in accordance with GN 02215.050 through GN 02215.070.

10. Report of bankruptcy action

If the debtor alleges a bankruptcy petition is pending or the court discharged the debt in bankruptcy, obtain a copy of the petition or discharge order. Input “Decision Pending” via the DFBP screen (Record Bankruptcy Petition) and send the petition to the PSC/OCO for action. (See GN 02215.185 for information on handling bankruptcy cases.) To process a notification of pending bankruptcy, see GN 02215.190 for FO procedures and GN 02215.195 for PC procedures.

If the debtor alleges that the court discharged the debt in a bankruptcy judgment, ask him or her to submit a copy of the discharge. If the judgment includes the SSA debt, input “Decision Pending” via the DFBP screen to prevent any further collection activity. If the judgment does not include the SSA debt, make no system input. The PSC/ Office of Central Operations (OCO) handles the case in accordance with GN 02215.230.

E. Procedure - Handling post-offset/postcertification inquiries

SSA will receive some inquiries after certification of cases to Treasury or after actual offset has occurred. In the majority of these cases, the debtor simply failed to contact us to resolve the repayment issue as specified in the pre-offset notice. There are other situations, however, where certification to Treasury may have been incorrect. This section explains how to handle specific post-offset/postcertification inquiries.

1. Allegation of pending protest, waiver, or hearing request

If a debtor alleges that he or she filed a protest or requested waiver or hearing but never received a decision, obtain a ROAR query and proceed as follows:

  1. a. 

    If there is a 23W, 23R, or 23H posted before the date of the offset but no decision has been made and released:

    • The PC refunds any amount offset by Treasury. This refund is known as an Agency Refund, and we must notify Treasury about the refund. Input the Agency Refund using the Correct Offset Amount screen (TRCA), which is requested from the Debt Management Menu (DMMU) function number 12-Treasury Offset Menu (TRMU) screen (see MS DMS 014.005).

    • Look for an SSA-632-BK (Request for Waiver of Overpayment Recovery or Repayment Rate), a letter from the debtor or his or her representative or a Form SSA-795 (Statement of Claimant or Other Person) in FO records or in the claims folder.

    • Process the waiver/protest in accordance with GN 02201.034 or GN 02201.036.

  2. b. 

    If ROAR reflects an unfavorable reconsideration, waiver, or hearing decision:

    • Advise the debtor that since we resolved the issue, recovery via TRO was appropriate.

    • Do not refund any amounts offset by Treasury.

  3. c. 

    If there is no ROAR posting but the debtor still indicates he or she filed a prior protest/waiver/hearing, look for an unprocessed SSA-632-BK, letter or SSA-795 in FO records or in the claims folder. If there is no evidence in the claims folder, check DMS Remarks.

    • Documentation found of waiver/protest or hearing filed before certification/offset

      Process as in GN 02201.030E.1.a. in this section.

      Post the pending request to ROAR via the DRPR or DRPF screen.

    • No documentation found advise the debtor that the records review fails to produce any evidence of a precertification protest, waiver or hearing. Follow GN 02201.030E.2. in this section, if the debtor wishes to file a new waiver request.

2. Request for waiver

If we receive a request for waiver , proceed as follows:

  1. a. 

    Obtain an SSA-632-BK in accordance with current instructions in GN 02250.002 and GN 02250.200. Input the request for waiver.

  2. b. 

    If TRO recouped the entire debt (i.e., the debt balance is zero), proceed as follows:

    • Consider waiver on the entire overpayment amount, and follow GN 02201.034 to process the waiver.

    • Advise the debtor that SSA will refund the amount offset only if SSA approves the waiver.

    • Refund any monies due if the waiver is approved (partially or fully). Refund any amount offset by Treasury. Process the refund as in GN 02201.030E.1.a. in this section.

  3. c. 

    If TRO partially recouped the debt, proceed as follows:

    • Consider waiver on the outstanding balance unless the debtor asks for waiver for the full overpayment amount. See GN 02250.310A.3 which states that for recovery to defeat the purpose for amounts already recovered, the person must show that he went into debt to repay the overpayment.

    • Follow GN 02201.034 to process the waiver.

    • Refund any monies due if we approve the waiver request (partially or fully). Process the refund as in GN 02201.030E.1.a. in this section.

3. Request for installment payments

When a request for installment payments is received, proceed as follows:

  1. a. 

    If the debtor negotiated an installment agreement prior to certification and the debtor made payment(s) in accordance with that agreement but offset still occurred, refund the amount offset, unless the debtor wants us to retain the money as payment toward the debt.

    If you refund the offset, input an Agency Refund as in GN 02201.030E.1.a. in this section.

  2. b. 

    If the request is made after certification, proceed as follows:

    • Input the manual installment agreement via the Record Installment Agreement (DRIN) screen (MS DMS 006.014).

    • Advise the debtor that offset may have already occurred or could still occur because SSA has no control over when Treasury conducts the TRO operation. Explain that SSA will not refund any offset monies (except for excess collection, see GN 02201.030E.4) The installment agreement will apply to the debt balance remaining after offset.

4. Excess collection

Excess collections occur when the total amount of voluntary payments and offsets exceed the debt amount. For example, when a certified debtor enters into an installment agreement and fully refunds the debt after certification, an excess collection would occur if Treasury offsets for the full amount of the debt.

If one debtor is on the record, refund the excess amount using the instructions below:

Refund Excess collection to the TRO debtor.

  • If the offset causes the excess collection, input an Agency Refund as in GN 02201.030E.1.a. in this section.

  • If the voluntary remittance caused the excess collection, repay the excess to the debtor but do not input an Agency Refund because we are sending back only the voluntary remittance, not the TRO.

If more than one debtor is on the record and the system posted the excess collection to that other debtor, an “unverified offset alert” is generated to the PC. If this occurs, proceed as follows:

  • Refund the excess collection to the TRO debtor. If the offset caused the excess collection, input an Agency Refund as in GN 02201.030E.1.a. in this section.

  • If the voluntary remittance caused the excess collection, repay the excess to debtor but do not input an Agency Refund because we are sending back only the voluntary remittance, not the TRO.

  • Remove the other debtor from the Recovery and Collection of Overpayment Process (RECOOP) system if the other debt was loaded as a result of the posted excess refund. Correct the other debtor's overpayment balance.

5. Erroneous offset due to incorrect BOAN

If the FO discovers the incorrect BOAN, report the case to the PC so that it can be deleted from TRO. Provide the claim number, debtor's name and both the correct and incorrect BOANs in the report.

If the PC discovers the incorrect BOAN, stop the offset by using the TRSO screen. Select “permanent deletion” as the reason for stopping the offset (see MS DMS 014.003).

Correct the MBR per SM 00613.605 once the correct BOAN is determined.

Refund the erroneous offset to the person due the tax refund.

6. Erroneous offset to a joint taxpayer

When a couple files a joint tax return and the person who is not an SSA debtor wishes to receive his or her portion of the refund, advise the person to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (1-800-829-1040) and to ask for an "injured spouse claim". The IRS is responsible for adjudicating injured spouse claims and any refunds must be made by the IRS, not SSA.

F. Examples

Following are case examples of common post-offset and post-certification situations.

1. Timely protest resolved prior to certification

A debtor contacted us in September and provided documents he felt would show that the debt does not exist. In November, the PSC advised him that his case was reviewed and the overpayment does exist. The debtor has taken no further action until contacting us in early February to say that he has been refused a rapid refund.

Explain that our referral to Treasury for collection was proper. If there is a balance after the offset and he or she now wishes to pay that balance in full or negotiate an installment agreement, we will accept it. And, explain that SSA we will not return the offset monies unless the total that was repaid exceeds the amount of the overpayment, or if he or she requests a waiver that SSA subsequently approves.

2. Alleged non-receipt of preoffset notice

a. Undeliverable notice posted to TOP

A debtor calls us in March complaining that Treasury has informed him that $500 of his refund has been offset to repay a debt to SSA. He says he never received his pre-offset notice.

SSA's query shows an undeliverable notice posted on March 5. Explain both the TRO process and the existing overpayment to the debtor. Also explain that we received the returned notice from the post office too late to stop the offset, but we will take action to refund the money withheld by Treasury if the debtor wishes it. If the debtor request the money be returned to them, determine his or her preferred method of receiving the funds. Tell the debtor we will refer his debt to Treasury again if he becomes delinquent in repaying, where the debt will remain until it is paid in full.

b. No undeliverable notice entry on TOP

The same situation as above, except the Collection Query does not have an undeliverable notice entry.

Explain that we have a record of all notices returned as undeliverable by the Postal Service and his notice was not returned. When the notice has not been returned, we must assume that it was delivered and proceed under the provisions for debt collection under TRO. Explain to the debtor that we must keep the money collected by Treasury unless he establishes that:

  1. 1. 

    The debt does not exist;

  2. 2. 

    The debtor has no liability for repaying the debt;

  3. 3. 

    The recovery of the debt is waived; or

  4. 4. 

    The debtor provides clear and convincing evidence that the letter was never delivered. He or she may pursue any of these options, but SSA will not refund any money unless a favorable decision was reached based on the information he or she provided us.

 


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202201030
GN 02201.030 - Collection of Title II Overpayments by Tax Refund Offset (TRO) - 02/11/2014
Batch run: 12/28/2018
Rev:02/11/2014