TN 44 (05-23)

GN 02401.050 Use of Field Office (FO) Address when a Title II or Title XVI Claimant does not have a Permanent Mailing Address

A. Things to consider before using a FO address as a permanent mailing address

IMPORTANT: Use the FO address as a last resort.

  1. 1. 

    Does the claimant have a new address?

    • If yes, timely input the new address information per GN 02605.015. Stop.

    • If no, continue to Step 2.

  2. 2. 

    Does the claimant have difficulty answering questions, getting evidence or information necessary for post-entitlement development, understanding explanations, or following reporting instructions?

    If so, do you think this difficulty indicates the claimant cannot manage or direct the management of funds?

    • If “yes”, consider developing for a representative payee per GN 00502.020.

    • If you determine that a representative payee is not warranted, continue with address development.

    • If “no”, FO management should consider all other available options as alternatives to using the FO address for payments. For more information on procedure for alternative mailing addresses, see GN 02401.045.

Example of alternative mailing address:

  • General Delivery,

  • PO Boxes,

  • direct deposit, or

  • account at a financial institution that does not charge for maintaining an account used for negotiating Social Security Administration (SSA) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

If the claimant is unable to use an alternative mailing address for payments and correspondences, and is receiving payments by mail, discuss establishing electronic payment.

NOTE: As of March 1, 2013, all Title II beneficiaries and Title XVI recipients must select a form of electronic payment unless an exception exists.

For more information on exemptions to the electronic payment requirement, see GN 02402.001.

B. When to use the FO address

Use the FO address in the following situations:

1. A FO manager approval is mandatory to use the FO address when the claimant does not reside in a permanent dwelling or does not have a fixed home or mailing address.

For more information on Federal Government responsibility to use public resources and programs in a more coordinated manner to meet the critically urgent needs of the homeless of the Nation refer to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 11301, 11302,11311, 11312, and 11313.

2. If the representative payee fails to provide the FO with an annual accounting report or request for an accounting of expenditures when we suspect misuse.

For instructions on the redirection of benefit checks, see GN 00605.085C.

3. Upon assignment of a new SSN for Harassment, Abuse, or Life Endangerment (HALE) cases.

Central Office Center for Automation Security and Integrity (CASI) staff may ask FO managers to approve a claimant address change to the FO address. Use the FO address only if the claimant cannot provide a safe address. This change ensures that any future electronically generated notices do not inadvertently go to the abuser’s address, and thus, compromise the personal information or safety of the claimant.

For specific instructions on HALE cases, see RM 10220.200 through RM 10220.240.

C. Approval to use an FO address

A FO manager approval is mandatory to use the FO address. If the FO cannot obtain an accounting report nor determine the payee’s suitability, the FO manager may redirect the claimant’s direct deposit or Direct Express card payment to the FO address without processing a change of payee.

For more information on redirecting benefits to the FO to make contact with the payee, see GN 00605.085C.

Consider all other options before approving use of the FO address.

For more information on alternative mailing addresses, see GN 02401.045.

NOTE: Limit approval for Title II cases to last resort situations, keeping the number of approved situations to a minimum.

D. Situations where claimant’s cannot use the FO address

Do not use the FO address:

  • Simply for security reasons (because there is a lower probability of mail theft or the claimant reports mail delivery problems);

  • To prevent double-check negotiations (DCN). For the administrative sanctions policy on DCN abusers, see GN 02604.400; or

  • To force a claimant or representative payee to comply with a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) redetermination request.

For failure to provide information and whereabouts unknown, see instructions in SI 02301.235 through SI 02301.240.

NOTE: For mailing of a Direct Express card when a homeless claimant does not have an address or P.O. Box, see GN 02402.007G.

E. Considerations after approving FO address

1. Changing the address to the FO

IMPORTANT: Always start the address lines with “C/O SSA.”

EXAMPLE: How to input change of address for FO recordkeeping.


Representative Payee

Payee line>>

John Smith

Payee line>>

Betty Smith for John Smith

Address line >>


123 Main St.

Anywhere U.S. 99999

Address line >>


123 Main St.

Anywhere U.S. 99999

2. FO recordkeeping

FO manager actions when a claimant uses the FO address:

  1. a. 

    Obtain and store a signed statement, Form SSA-795 (Statement of Claimant or Other Person), from the claimant in the electronic folder stating that they understands:

    • we require proper identification for personal pickup; and

    • we hold checks in the FO for no more than 7 business days.

    NOTE: If the FO receives a check because the representative payee fails to submit an accounting report (non-responder) or due to possible misuse of benefits, you will not be able to obtain the signed SSA-795. However, all of the other record-keeping requirements are the same.

  2. b. 

    Even if the claimant receives electronic payment, emphasize to the claimant that we do not mail checks to another address once it is at the FO and we return all checks to Treasury after the 7th business day after the check delivery date.

  3. c. 

    Create and maintain a record of all approved cases, including:

    • Claimant Name,

    • Check Number, Date, and

    • Number of checks the FO received.

    The FO may use a modified version of the Miscellaneous Money Control Record (MMRC), see exhibit GN 02401.050F in this section.

  4. d. 

    Designate a controlling official to receive the checks and match them against the master list to prevent unauthorized additions or deletions. If there is an assigned person as a backup, that employee should control the checks only when the controlling official is out of the office.

  5. e. 

    Establish a separate control on each check received on an MMCR. The FO may use a photocopy of the exhibit GN 02401.050E in this section, or an FO version of the form. For privacy reasons, an FO version of the form must contain information for only one claimant.

  6. f. 

    Ensure that a separate control record is maintained for each beneficiary whose check is being mailed to the FO.

  7. g. 

    Keep checks in a secure cabinet. The employee releasing the check to the payee must initial the MMCR and have the payee sign the MMCR.

  8. h. 

    Determine if the claimant has been able to establish a new mailing address.

  9. i. 

    Annotate the receipt number on the FO remittance log when returning a check to Treasury.

  10. j. 

    Ensure that control records for benefit checks mailed to the field office are retained in NDRED, or in a secure holding file in the office for 3 years after distribution. Once the files are scanned into it (and verified that they have been uploaded properly), the actual paper file may be destroyed as there is no need to retain the hardcopy.

3. Releasing checks

FO manager actions when releasing a check to the claimant or representative payee:

  • Establish special procedures in the reception area to facilitate check pickup.

  • Establish reasonable measures to ensure proper claimant and payee identification. For verifying identity of both claimants and payees, follow instructions in GN 00203.020.

  • Report any checks the FO did not receive or stolen checks using regular non-receipt procedures.

    For Nonreceipt1 Input (PEN1), see MS T2PE 003.027; for Nonreceipt1 Output (PEN1), see MS T2PE 003.028; and for Nonreceipt2 (PEN2), see MS T2PE 003.029.)

  • If the FO did not receive the check or lost the check and the claimant or payee comes into the FO to pick it up, advise him or her that you followed non-receipt procedure and Treasury will deliver a new check. If the situation involves dire need, see GN 02406.125C and GN 02406.125D. For requirements to qualify as a dire need situation, see RS 02801.010.

  • For regular monthly checks, hold the check for pickup until the 7th business day after the check delivery date, starting the day after the check delivery date. Return the check to Treasury at the conclusion of the 7th business day. For more information on unclaimed checks returned to Treasury after conclusion of the 7th business day, see GN 02401.050E.4. in this section.

EXCEPTION: In payee accounting non-responder cases, we can hold a check up to 30 calendar days. For more information on how to handle non-responder cases, see GN 00605.085.

  • If the claimant or payee does not pick up the check, instruct the controlling official to return the check to Treasury. For more information on unclaimed checks returned to Treasury, see GN 02401.050E.3. in this section. This action puts the claimant in LAF S6 or PSY SO6 suspense, as applicable. The technician must develop for a new address.

  • Treasury regulations prohibit us from mailing checks to another address, to another FO, or to a P.O. Box.

4. Return all unclaimed checks to Treasury after conclusion of the 7th business day

Follow these instructions to process returned Title II and Title XVI benefit checks:

a. Title II

Take the following actions:

  • To process unendorsed checks returned to the FO, follow instructions in GN 02405.010;

  • Use “AD” for the returned check code; and

  • Be sure to annotate the receipt number on the MMCR.

b. Title XVI

Take the following actions:

  • To handle remittances in the FO mailroom and reception area, follow instructions in GN 02403.004;

  • To process unendorsed checks in the FO see GN 02405.100; and

  • Use “AD” for the returned check reason code.

Instructions for systems input of Title XVI returned checks through MSSICS Direct SSR Update are in MS BUSSR 003.004 and MS BUSSR 003.005.

Be sure to annotate the receipt number on the MMCR.

NOTE: We can hold checks up to 30 calendar days in payee accounting non-responder (third alert) cases. For more information on how to handle non-responder cases, see GN 00605.085.

For checks you return to Treasury in non-responder cases, use the return code "CP" for both Title XVI and Title II. These inputs place the claimant in S08 for Title XVI and S8 for Title II.

5. Delivering notices

Inform the claimant timely of any notices mailed to the FO. If there is a delay in an appeal request because of untimely notification, establish good cause.

NOTE: If possible, the beneficiary or payee should provide their telephone number or a number for a third-party contact.

F. Exhibit of a Miscellaneous Money Control Record

The following is an exhibit of a Miscellaneous Money Control Record to use as a guide or to photocopy.

NOTE: Each claimant needs a separate record.

G. References

  • GN 02605.001 Change of Address (COA) in Person, by Telephone, in Writing, or on the Internet

  • GN 02605.015 Direct Input of COA by TSCs and FOs

  • GN 00502.020 Determining Capability – Adult Beneficiaries

  • GN 02401.045 Alternative Mailing Addresses for Receiving Paper Checks

  • GN 00605.085 How to Handle Non-Responder (Third Alert) Cases

  • GN 02406.125 Transmitting Reports of Nonreceipt, Loss, Theft, or Destruction – Title II and Title XVI – Recurring Checks and PMA Checks – Normal and Dire Need Situations

  • GN 02405.010 How to Process Unendorsed Title II Returned Benefit Checks Received in the FO (Including Unendorsed Claimant Representative/Attorney Fee Checks)

  • GN 02403.004 Remittance Handling in the FO Mailroom and Reception Area

  • GN 02402.007 Direct Express Debit Card Program

  • GN 00203.020 Identity of Claimants

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GN 02401.050 - Use of Field Office (FO) Address when a Title II or Title XVI Claimant does not have a Permanent Mailing Address - 05/25/2023
Batch run: 01/19/2024