TN 59 (03-21)

GN 02210.221 How to Process Death Cases - Debt Contact Representative (DCR) and Debt Specialist (DS) Actions

A. Policy for how to process death cases

When SSA records a death on the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR), the Recovery and Collection of Overpayment Process (RECOOP) automatically stops billing and produces a death alert. When we record a death on the Supplemental Security Record (SSR), RECOOP automatically deletes the debt.

B. Procedure for when someone reports a death

1. Information needed for death reporting

If someone reports a death that is not posted to the MBR or SSR (i.e., A DCR or DS receives the initial report of death), obtain the following information from the reporter:

  • The name, date of death (if available), and claim number of the deceased.

  • The name, address, and phone number of the person making the report.

  • The relationship of the reporter to the deceased person (e.g., relative, friend, neighbor, etc.).

  • Use the Death Information Processing System (DIPS) to input the death. For information on DIPS, see the DIPS User Guide.

NOTE: You can make an input to DIPS on the same day that you make inputs to the Control Record Delete Screen (DTXI) (see MS MISCINPUTS 002.009), and the Control Record Delete Approval Screen (DTXA) (see MS MISCINPUTS 002.010).

2. Title II Debt

a. Deceased not billed - other debtors on bill

If the deceased is not the person being billed, resume billing by making an input to the Record Installment Agreement (DRIN) screen (see MS DMS 006.014). Do not delete the deceased from the bill.

b. Deceased is person billed - other debtors on bill

If the deceased is the person being billed, but there are other debtors on the record, resume billing to the survivors via input to the DRIN screen. Be certain that SSA removed the deceased’s name and his or her debt amount from the bill.

Query the Query Response Selection List (QRSL) (see Queries 006.002) to determine if any other person is currently receiving benefits on the same record. Follow the instructions listed in GN 02210.221B.2.c. or GN 02210.221B.2.d., in this section for appropriate action against the deceased.

c. Debt under $3,000 - no other person(s) receiving benefits

Terminate collection for the deceased via the Terminate Collection (DFTE) screen. (For more information, see MS DMS 007.003).

d. Debt any amount - other person(s) receiving benefits or estate development needed

Retirement and Survivors Insurance (RSI) debt - Refer the deceased debtor's debt to the DS to either propose adjustment against another person(s) or, if no other person is eligible, develop for recovery from estate if the debt is $3,000 or greater (see GN 02205.001 Liability for Title II Overpayment Recovery and GN 02215.050 Liability of Deceased's Estate).

Disability (DI)debt Input a Transfer Jurisdiction (DFTJ) screen and terminate collection for the deceased via the Terminate Collection (DFTE) screen. Refer the debt to Division of International Operations (DIO) or Office of Disability Operations (ODO) with the following information:

  • Account number and Beneficiary Identification Code (BIC)

  • Deceased debtor's name

  • Date of death, if known

  • State the amount of the deceased's debt and ask that ODO or DIO take appropriate action (e.g. adjustment against other person(s), or develop for recovery from the estate when the debt is $3,000 or greater).

3. Title XVI debt

After reporting the date of death of an eligible or ineligible person on the SSR, follow the procedures below.

  1. a. 

    The DS prepares and completes an SSA-1719 DM with a completed death (DH) field. For more information, see SM 01301.375.

  2. b. 

    When the outstanding debt is $5,000 or less (see section c), terminate collection unless there is:

    • A representative payee; or

    • A responsible spouse; or

    • A sponsor of an alien recipient (for more information, see SI 02201.020, SI 02205.001); or

    • Refund has been received; or

    • A complex overpayment issue; or

    • Fraud.

If none of the above apply:

  • Input a Type of Action (TAC) N to the SSR to delete the debt from RECOOP.

  • Prepare an overpayment notice addressed to “the estate of (Name of deceased)”. Develop a notice similar to the notices used in the automated B9 diary process. Show the address and telephone number of the appropriate Field Office (FO).

  • Forward all material to the appropriate FO.

  1. c. 

    When the outstanding debt exceeds $5,000, or one of the conditions in GN 02210.221B.3.b. in this section apply, input the date of death and input a TAC B to the SSR. (The TAC B input will alert the FO to take follow-up development.)

    NOTE: Any overpayment decision for non-collection, suspense, or waiver over $2,000.00 requires management approval. The approval MUST be approved the same day, see MS 00304.020.

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GN 02210.221 - How to Process Death Cases - Debt Contact Representative (DCR) and Debt Specialist (DS) Actions - 10/31/2014
Batch run: 10/26/2023