TN 23 (09-01)

GN 02210.213 Skiptracing

A. Definition of skiptracing

Skiptracing is the process of locating a debtor who cannot be readily located by the usual telephone or mail procedure.

B. Policy

1. When initiated

Skiptracing is initiated when:

  • An overpayment notice or bill is returned as undeliverable, or

  • Followup notices (bills) are returned as undeliverable, or

  • Followup contact attempts by telephone reveal the address or telephone number of record is no longer valid.

2. Need for basic data

Obtaining the debtor's BOAN is very important to successful skiptracing. The BOAN is mandatory for credit bureau contact and IRS Project 719.

3. List of resources

The following is a list of the available resources. However, it is not necessary to use all of the resources when attempting to locate a debtor.

  • Credit bureau

  • MBR/SSR

  • CD-ROM Phone List

  • Directory assistance

  • Master Earnings File (MEF) for employers

  • Claims Folder

  • Department of Motor Vehicles

  • Post Office

C. Procedure - undeliverable overpayment notice or bill--debtor contact representatives (DCR) action

Note: If it is a RECOOP case that is being skip traced, the actions taken should be recorded on the RECORD SKIP TRACE (DBST) screen. (See MSOM DMS 008.011 .)

When an undeliverable title II or title XVI overpayment notice or bill is received in the Debtor Contact Section (DCS), proceed as follows:

STEP

ACTION

1

Check for recent address change on the MBR, SSR or RECOOP. If there was a recent change, remail to the new address.

2

If no new address, obtain debtor's SSN and request online address from credit bureau.

3

If new address from credit bureau:

  • Remail the notice with the current date.

  • Update the MBR/SSR (and RECOOP - when appropriate).

4

If no new address from credit bureau:

  • Suspend billing if RECOOP debt.

  • Attempt to locate the debtor in accordance with instructions in this section. Resume billing if located.

5

Follow GN 02210.213E.. below if unable to locate the debtor.

D. Procedure - DCR use of credit bureau

The Fair Credit Reporting Act contains provisions on SSA’s use of consumer credit reports. Since 1995, SSA has been using credit reports in overpayment collection efforts and referral of cases to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Credit reports are obtained only for those individuals who owe program debts to the agency and are used as documentation in cases of referrals to DOJ for collection via civil suit. The reports are accessed through an online website in the Debt Management Sections (DMS) of each of the Program Service Centers (PSC). Each employee in the DMS has been assigned pins/passwords to access the reports.

The administrator in each PSC has access to reports used as audit trails to monitor the use of the consumer credit reports to ensure that these reports are being obtained for legitimate business needs. Since the consumer credit reports contain highly sensitive information, extreme care should be taken to safeguard the reports at all times.

Note: Consumer credit reports should only be accessed when there is a legitimate business need for obtaining a consumer’s credit report, i.e., referral to DOJ. The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act imposes criminal penalties, including a fine, imprisonment or both, for willfully obtaining consumer reports under false pretenses

E. Procedure - unable to locate debtor

1. Title II debt

DCR - Check the Query Response Selection List (QRSL, MSOM QUERIES 006.002 ) to determine if other persons are currently receiving benefits on the same record. ALSO CHECK THE COLLECTION QUERY TO DETERMINE IF THE DEBTOR HAS BEEN SELECTED FOR TOP (SEE MSOM DMS 014.007 FOR DESCRIPTION OF COLLECTION QUERY). Proceed as follows:

  1. Other person(s) receiving benefits living at the aame address as the debtor (SFU)

    Refer to the Debt Specialist (DS) to take appropriate action regarding recovery from the other person(s).

  2. Other person(s) receiving benefits living at a different address from the debtor (MFU) - debtor selected for TOP (GN 02201.029), and Credit Bureau Reporting if Applicable (GN 02201.032)

    • Diary the case for 1 year in order to give TOP and credit bureau reporting a chance to yield collections.

    • Annotate the RMKS screen with the reason for the diary.

    • When the diary matures, obtain a Collection Query to see if the debt is still in TOP. Take action as follows:

    If debtor is still in TOP, continue to rediary for 1-year intervals until debtor is deleted from TOP.

    If debtor is deleted from TOP, refer to DS to take appropriate action regarding recovery from other person(s) receiving benefits in MFU.

  3. Other person(s) receiving benefits living at a different address from the debtor (MFU) - debtor Not Selected for TOP/ECO and Credit Bureau Reporting

    Terminate collection via the DFTE screen (MSOM DMS 007.003). Debts on which recovery action has been terminated will be selected for TOP if they meet all criteria.

    Diary the case for 60 days in order to determine if debtor was selected for TOP and credit bureau reporting (if appropriate).

    • If the debtor is selected for TOP/ECO, follow GN 02210.213.E.1.B.

    • If debtor not selected for TOP/ECO rediary the case for one year.

    • If after one year, the debtor still has not been selected for TOP/ECO refer the case to the DS to determine why the case was not selected and/or to take appropriate action regarding recovery from other person(s).

    Note: Keep in mind that cases with certain characteristics will not be selected for TOP and credit bureau reporting. Do not diary cases which will not be selected for TOP or credit bureau reporting. Instead, follow step 1.c. above. Cases will not be selected if:

    • The debtor is in LAF “S” or any LAF other than “T, U, X, N or P”;

    • The debt was established before the debtor attained age 18;

    • The debt shows an indication that DOJ is involved, such as a TC-31, TC-32 or TC-70;

    • The person being billed is a representative payee;

    • The debt is a overpayment type of event (TOE) 16, 29, or 31;

    • The debtor is deceased.

    The preceding criteria are not all-inclusive. If you have questions about a case, consult with the subject matter expert in your office as determined by local practices.

  4. Other person(s) not receiving benefits and debt is $20,000 or less

    DCR -Terminate collection via input to the Terminate Collection Screen (DFTE, MSOM DMS 007.003 ) and update the RMKS screen.

  5. Other person(s) not receiving benefits and debt is between $20,001 and $100,000

    DCR - Refer to DS

    DS - Proceed as follows:

    • RSI cases and DI cases under PSC jurisdiction - Prepare an SSA-553 in accordance with current operation instructions. Forward to the Assistant Regional Commissioner for Processing Center Operations (ARC, PCO) for approval to terminate collection.

      Upon return of approval, terminate via the DFTE screen and update the RMKS screen.

    • DI cases under OCO jurisdiction - Prepare a Transfer Jurisdiction Screen (DFTJ, MSOM DMS 007.009 ) and route to the Director, OCO with the following information:

      “Unable to locate debtor. Further DCU efforts against debtor not warranted. Debt is between $20,001 and $100,000. Take action to obtain authority to discontinue collection efforts in accordance with current operating instructions. Upon approval, terminate collection.”

  6. Other person(s) not receiving benefit and debt exceeds $100,000

    DCR - Refer to DS

    DS - Proceed as follows:

    • RSI cases and DI cases under PSC jurisdiction- Forward to Central Justice for authority to discontinue collection efforts in accordance with GN 02215.235B.2.b.

    • Make appropriate input to the Record DOJ Referral (DFRF, MSOM DMS 007.008 ) screen.

    • DI cases under OCO jurisdiction - Prepare a DFTJ screen and route to the Director, OCO with the following information:

    “Unable to locate debtor. Further DCU efforts against debtor not warranted. Debt exceeds $100,000. Take action to obtain authority from Central Justice to terminate collection efforts in accordance with GN 02215.235B.2.b.”

2. Title XVI debt

a. Debt is $20,000 or Less

DCR - Complete the MSSICS Overpayment Decisions (UOPD) screen by selecting UNABLE TO LOCATE/OUT OF COUNTRY decision (See SM 01311.200 and MSOM BUSSR 004.008 ). The system will build an M TAC in the OPDD segment and will delete the debt from RECOOP/SSR control.

b. Debt is between $20,001 and $100,000

DCR - Refer to DS

DS - Proceed as follows:

  • Prepare an SSA-553 in accordance with current operating instructions.

  • Forward to the Assistant Regional Commissioner for Processing Center Operations (ARC, PCO) or Assistant Regional Commissioner for Management Operations and Systems (ARC, MOS) whichever is appropriate, for approval to terminate collection. Referrals from the FOs should be referred only to the ARC, MOS and referrals from the PSCs should be referred only to the ARC, PCO.

  • Complete the MSSICS Overpayment Decisions (UOPD) screen by selecting UNABLE TO LOCATE/OUT OF COUNTRY decision (See MSOM BUSSR 004.008 ) so that the system will build a M TAC in the OPDD segment of the SSR when the approved SSA-553 is returned.

c. Debt exceeds $100,000

DCR - Refer to DS

DS - Proceed as follows:

  • Complete the MSSICS Overpayment Decisions (UOPD) screen by selecting UNABLE TO LOCATE/OUT OF COUNTRY decision (See MSOM BUSSR 004.008 ) to close out billing.

  • If no installment indicator is present (G TAC in the OPDD segment), complete the MSSICS Update Sequence Data (UOSD) screen for suspend billing by selecting TRANSFER TO FIELD OFFICE/MISCELLANEOUS REASON. (See MSOM BUSSR 004.006 .), or

  • If there is a G TAC in the OPDD segment, complete the MSSICS Add/Change/Delete Overpayment Decisions (UODC) screen (see MSOM BUSSR 004.007 ) to delete the G TAC and suspend billing by selecting TRANSFER TO FIELD OFFICE/MISCELLANEOUS REASON on the Update Sequence Data (UOSD) screen. (See MSOM BUSSR 004.006 .)

  • Prepare a DFTJ screen and route to the appropriate FO with the following information:

“Unable to locate debtor. Further DCU efforts against debtor not warranted. Debt exceeds $100,000. Forward to Central Justice for authority to discontinue collection efforts in accordance with GN 02215.235B.2.b. Discontinue collection against the debtor. Use the MSSICS Overpayment Decisions (UOPD) screen selecting REFERRAL TO DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE decision (see MSOM BUSSR 004.008 ) and the system will build an L TAC in the OPDD segment.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202210213
GN 02210.213 - Skiptracing - 01/30/2014
Batch run: 01/30/2014