TN 19 (10-17)
GN 02403.001 Overview of Field Office Remittance Process
A. Introduction for the field office remittance process
The Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices (FOs) may receive checks, money orders, debit/credit card or cash from the general public for a variety of reasons, including programmatic debt (the most frequent type) and Medicare premiums. We do not accept cash for standard fees for SSA services. Standard fees for services include the following:
payment for earnings records,
photocopies of documents or requests under the Freedom of Information Act, material in claims files,
forwarding letters, or
providing non-program related benefit information or verification.
For more information on standard fees for services, see GN 02403.012.
In this section, we define payments for debts, premiums, or standard fees as remittances. SSA may also receive checks from Special Agents of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) in response to an investigation or other OIG initiative.
The Program Service Centers (PSCs) send monthly bills to non-current-pay program debtors, and instruct the debtors to return their payment, and the payment coupon, in the envelope provided to the Mid-Atlantic Program Service Center (MATPSC). Some debtors opt to pay in-person in our FOs.
These instructions give the procedures for handling such remittances and the necessary controls to safeguard the money we receive and the employees who handle the money, and how to forward the money for processing and deposit.
MATPSC is the national remittance processing site where FOs and debtors send programmatic debt payments for processing and deposit. FOs send other remittance items (standard fees and unendorsed returned benefit checks) to other locations (the Office of Finance or the Department of the Treasury).
SSA developed controls for the FO remittance process by providing for the following:
adequate separation of remittance duties among FO personnel;
a limitation on the number of employees issuing receipts for remittances; and
effective daily management verification of all receipts we issue.
1. Debt Management System (DMS)
We designed the Debt Management System (DMS) remittance process to issue a receipt for remittances received in the FO. The latest DMS release generates two end-of-day Field Office Remittance Transmittals:
checks and money order remittances (FORT), and
remittances paid by debit/credit card (CCFORT).
The FORT lists remittances received for the following reasons:
benefit overpayment refunds,
claimant representative fee refunds,
gifts to the Social Security Trust Funds,
retroactive Medicare premiums paid on an installment basis,
court ordered restitution payments,
checks resulting from OIG investigative activity, and
other miscellaneous items directed to MATPSC.
The CCFORT lists transactions made by debit/credit card.
DMS also generates a Field Office Daily Receipt Listing (FODRL) for auditing and reconciling other program money (unendorsed returned benefit checks) and non-program money (standard fees). DMS generates the receipt and an instruction sheet for certain money items, and provides the mailing address of where to send the items.
The FORT and CCFORT serve as transmittals that accompany remittances sent to the MATPSC, rather than to the related PSC of jurisdiction for the account number.
Remittances include Title II and Title XVI overpayment refunds, money gifts to the Social Security Trust Funds, or conserved funds, including savings bonds, and Medicare premiums and overpayments. For the list of acceptable remittances, see GN 02403.005A.
The FO will give the person submitting any of these items a receipt.
NOTE: Unendorsed returned benefit checks are NOT remittances (even though we provide the person presenting an unendorsed returned benefit check a receipt). FO personnel return these checks to the Treasury Regional Disbursing Office whose address appears on the Treasury check. For more information on Unendorsed Returned Benefit checks, see GN 02405.010 and GN 02405.100
FOs will maintain the manual receipt process (using the Form SSA-1395-BK (Receipt and Transmittal Form)) for situations where DMS malfunctions or for out-of-office receipting when the DMS process is unavailable.
2. Social Security Electronic Remittance System (SERS)
SERS is an automated payment solution that uses card readers and check scanners to electronically process remittances paid by check, money order, or debit/credit card. In 2014, SSA implemented the SERS application in the FOs to collect non-program standard fees for requests for information. In 2017, SSA implemented SERS for certain programmatic debts.
SERS will only accept debit/credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover), money orders, and checks for remittances related to the payment/return of the following:
Conserved Funds; and
SERS eliminates FO’s need to send all programmatic remittances to the MATPSC. Remittances will process the same day and produce a payment authorization form and receipt for the debtor. FOs continues to process and send all other acceptable programmatic remittances to MATPSC and administrative remittances to the Office of Finance, as applicable. See SERS procedures in GN 02403.161. Instructions on using the SERS application are located in MS SERS 001.001 through MS SERS 001.011.
B. Process for automated receipts
All funds received in an FO require a DMS automated receipt. When the FO receives a remittance it will send to MATPSC for deposit, DMS generates a coupon, which the FO sends to the MATPSC. The coupon bears the receipt number and other pertinent information the MATPSC uses to credit the account with the payment.
For information on the DMS remittance process input, query, and request screens, see MS DMS 003.001.
If the remittance clerk or the alternative is unavailable, any employee, excluding FO management, may request FORTs, CCFORTs or FODRLs.
The following is the process for issuing DMS-produced receipts for funds received in the FO and for the control of money through the FORT, CCFORT, and the FODRL:
The interviewer (claims, service, or field representative) enters the remittance information via the Field Office Remittance Input (RFOR) screen.
For more information on the RFOR screen, see MS DMS 003.006.
If the remitter has a Recovery and Collection of Overpayment Process (RECOOP) Coupon (bill stub), enter the bill number in the bill number field of the RFOR screen. Once entered into the RFOR screen, FOs should destroy the RECOOP/Recovery of Overpayments, Accounting, and Reporting (ROAR) coupon the debtor may have brought to the FO. DMS will produce a forwarding instruction sheet for other funds received (standard fees).
IMPORTANT: Verify if the mailed remittance and payment coupon is a claimant representative fee refund, and then input the information into DMS. The coupon will not have a scan line if it is a Title XVI claimant representative fee refund.
For information on how to input the remittance into DMS, see MS DMS 003.006.
DMS produces an automated receipt. The interviewer provides the automated receipt to the remitter.
The interviewer provides the remittance to the remittance clerk.
The Correct Field Office Receipt (RCFR) screen performs any subsequent correction to a receipt for other than the remittance amount and credit amount. For more information on the RCFR screen, see MS DMS 003.022. The check and money order scanner in MATPSC relies on the data contained in the scan line of the payment coupon. For more information on the scan line, see MS DMS 003.007H.24. If you correct the receipt, ensure that you include the most recent coupon with the remittance.
NOTE: For corrections to remittance and credit amount fields or deletions of FO receipt items, only FO management (staff assistant, supervisor, management support specialist, operations officer, and manager) may make the corrections or deletions using the RMCR screen. For more information on the RMCR screen, see MS DMS 004.011.
At the end of the business day, the remittance clerk requests the DMS-generated FORT, CCFORT and the FODRL. These automated forms list all remittances where DMS issued an automated receipt for that business day. DMS generates a FORT and CCFORT for remittances the FO will forward to the MATPSC. If you are processing standard fees, you must manually prepare a Form SSA-414-U3 (Fee Transmittal Register). For fee processing instructions, see GN 02403.012. For remittances received after DMS generated the day’s FORT, DMS allows FOs to change the receipt date. For information on how to change the receipt date, see MS DMS 004.007.
On a daily basis, the remittance clerk reconciles all remittances and provides all materials to the remittance supervisor.
The remittance supervisor verifies the remittance clerk's work, reconciles all automated receipts issued that business day, and sends all remittances to the appropriate location the same day. If the FO cannot mail the day’s FORT and remittances on the same day, secure them and mail the next business day.
C. Process for manual receipts
We restrict the use of the Form SSA-1395-BK (Receipt Book) receipt to remittances received outside the FO or when DMS malfunctions.
FO employees may receive remittances during out-of-office visits or in resident stations and contact stations without terminals with access to SSA systems.
The out-of-office representative or interviewer signs the Receipt Book Log acknowledging receipt of the SSA-1395-BK containing the specified unissued SSA-1395-BK receipts. He or she also completes the SSA-1395-BK receipt for each remittance received and provides the Remitter Copy of the receipt to the remitter.
Upon return to the FO or via mail, the out-of-office representative or interviewer for in-office manual receipts:
submits all remittances to the remittance clerk;
enters the SSA-1395-BK receipt information into DMS;
writes the automated receipt number on the SSA-1395-BK;
gives the remittance information to the Remittance Clerk;
returns the SSA-1395-BK receipt book and the automated receipts to the issuer; and
enters his or her initials on the Receipt Book Log to indicate agreement with the log entries.
GN 02403.100 Issuing and Reassigning SSA-1395-BK Receipt Books