TN 19 (10-17)

GN 02403.161 Social Security Electronic Remittance System (SERS) for Programmatic Collection

A. Background on SERS

SERS is an automated payment solution that uses card readers and check scanners to electronically process domestic remittances paid by check, money order, or debit/credit card (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover). In 2014, the Social Security Administration (SSA) implemented the SERS application in the Field Offices (FO) to collect standard fees for non-programmatic requests for information. In 2017, SSA implemented SERS for certain programmatic debts for Title II and Title XVI.

SERS:

  • Reduces the amount of remittances mailed to the Mid-Atlantic Program Service Center (MATPSC) for processing and deposit;

  • Reduces unverified alerts in FOs;

  • Enhances timely resolution of discrepant remittances in FOs;

  • Improves processing time for checks, money orders, debit/credit cards received in FOs;

  • Provides better management information required to manage the workload;

  • Assists the Agency’s compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS);

  • Improves timely collection of programmatic debts and promptly updates the debt balance;

  • Enhances customer service to the public; and

  • Helps streamline and modernize the remittance handling process.

B. Types of remittances accepted through SERS

SERS only accepts debit/credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover), money orders, and checks for Title II and Title XVI programmatic remittances related to the following:

  • Overpayments;

  • Conserved Funds; and

  • Misused Funds.

FOs will continue to process and send all other acceptable remittances to MATPSC. Follow the current procedures in subchapter GN 02403.000 for processing all remaining remittances not listed in GN 02403.161A. in this section.

C. Web service for program debts

The SERS application uses a web service to retrieve Title II and Title XVI programmatic debt data related to overpayments, conserved funds, and misused funds for the storefront. The web service retrieves various pieces of data from different data services. These internal data services include:

  • Recovery of Overpayments, Accounting, and Reporting (ROAR);

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) System;

  • Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) Cross Reference Query Verified Data Retrieval Service;

  • Core Services Own SSN;

  • Numident;

  • Celebrity SSN; and

  • Person Information.

Upon submitting the SSN, the SERS storefront triggers the programmatic debt web service, which gathers the necessary data from the internal data services and returns that information to the storefront. SERS will then individually list the retrieved programmatic debts obtained from the beneficiary or recipient’s record.

NOTE: There are instances where all debts may not be returned.

For example, if there is an overpayment on the Title II record and a conserved fund debt also owed on that same Title II record, SERS will display two line items for that SSN only. For SERS limitations, see subsection GN 02403.161G. in this section.

NOTE: Due to an existing system design limitation not related to SERS, remittances paid will post to the oldest debt on the Title II or Title XVI record. For example, if a debtor wishes to make a $20 remittance on a more recent Title II benefit overpayment, it will post to the oldest debt on the Title II record.

D. Procedures for handling SERS remittances

When an individual walks into the FO to pay a debt related to overpayments, conserved funds, or misused funds via check, money order, or debit/credit card, the technician/interviewer must:

  1. 1. Request the controlling SSN or Beneficiary’s Own Account Number (BOAN) of the account that the remitter wishes to pay.

  2. Ensure that the remitter provides the correct SSN and that there is an active debt on the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) or Supplemental Security Record (SSR).

  3. Input the SSN into SERS and review the returned programmatic debt(s) with the remitter. For instructions on how to input remittances into SERS, see MS SERS 001.001 through MS SERS 001.011.

  4. Inform the remitter of the acceptable forms of payment for SERS (check, money order, or debit/credit card (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover)).

    For more information regarding examining remittances, see GN 02403.005.

  5. Prior to completing a payment, inform the remitter that the transaction is NON-REFUNDABLE.

  6. Determine the type of payment to be used (debit/credit card, check, or money order).

    1. If debit/credit card:

      • verify the amount with the remitter, then

      • instruct the remitter to swipe his or her debit/credit card.

      NOTE: SERS verifies with the bank whether there is a sufficient balance to cover the transaction at that time.

    2. If check or money order:

      • verify the date and signature, and ensure that the check or money order is made payable to SSA,

      • verify the amount on the check is equal to the amount to be paid in SERS, then

      • the FO technician will scan the remitter’s check or money order, and

      • return the check or money order to the remitter (walk-in) or shred the check or money order (mail-in) upon completion of transaction.

      IMPORTANT: Inform the remitter that completed transactions will occur immediately.

  7. Print Payment Authorization Form.

  8. Ensure the remitter reviews, signs, and returns the Payment Authorization Form.

    IMPORTANT: The Payment Authorization Form should reflect the amount that the remitter intends to pay. If the form does not reflect the accurate amount, cancel this transaction and begin a new one.

  9. Scan Payment Authorization Form into NDRed, then shred paper copy.

    NOTE: This is a FO form only; it is not a receipt. Do not give a copy to the remitter.

  10. Submit order and print receipt according to these procedures:

    1. For debit/credit cards:

      • print two copies,

      • obtain a signature on one receipt, and retain the signed receipt, and

      • provide the unsigned receipt to the remitter.

      • scan signed receipt into NDRed, then

      • shred the paper copy.

    2. For checks or money orders:

      • print copy of receipt, and

      • provide to the remitter.

E. Debt Management System (DMS) file

Every evening, SERS gathers the remittance data and creates a batch file to send to DMS. DMS will process and post the remittance to the correct record. Remittances processed through SERS do not produce a Field Office Remittance Transmittal (FORT) or Credit Card Field Office Remittance Transmittal (CCFORT), and no action is necessary to mail remittances to MATPSC’s Remittance and Accounting Unit (RAU).

NOTE: Remittances processed within SERS will not produce an unverified alert.

F. Procedures for handling unique scenarios

SERS will allow FOs to process remittances related to overpayments, conserved funds, and misused funds only for Title II and Title XVI debts. FOs can process checks and money orders via mail-in or walk-in; however, debit/credit card remittances can only be processed when the remitter is present.

The following scenarios may occur that may require further action when using the SERS application. See the following charts for appropriate action.

When SERS produces an error, follow this chart:

If…

Then…

There is a Title II or Title XVI benefit overpayment, conserved fund, or misused fund on the MBR or SSR, but the web service does not display the item on the SERS storefront;

Ensure that the input of the SSN is correct on the SERS storefront. If not, input the correct SSN.

The correct SSN is entered and the web service still does not display the overpayment, conserved fund, or misused fund on the SERS storefront;

Follow the current procedures in GN 02403.000 through GN 02403.160.

(See limitations in GN 02403.161G in this section.)

The SERS application is not working or temporarily out of service;

Follow the current procedures in GN 02403.000 through GN 02403.160.

The SERS application indicates the web service is not responding or the response contains no debts and indicates an error was encountered when retrieving debts;

Follow the current procedures in GN 02403.000 through GN 02403.160.

When there is more than one debtor/debt/payment method.

If…

Then…

The remitter would like to make one payment for multiple debts;

Example 1: John Doe wants to make one payment for his own debt and his two children (on his own record and for another person on the same record).

Example 2: A nursing home is paying multiple debts in a single payment for multiple beneficiaries.

  • The FO technician will query each debtor SSN separately,

  • Select the debts for that SSN,

  • Enter a payment amount, and

  • Submit to the SERS shopping cart.

For each additional SSN, the FO technician will return to the Query SSN screen and follow the same process as above until the FO technician has added all SSNs to the SERS shopping cart.

NOTE: If a single SSN has multiple programmatic debts, then SERS will retrieve the debts pulled from the web service and display them individually.

NOTE: A debt for a dependent child will be displayed under the child’s SSN within SERS.

The remitter would like to make multiple payments for one debt;

Example: John Doe wants to make two payments for his own debt.

Process each transaction separately. SERS can only process one payment at a time.

IMPORTANT: Do not process more than one payment at a time in SERS because it will create an error in the system.

The remitter would like to make a payment in FULL for all of the debts returned on the SSN;

Example: John Doe has a Title II disability overpayment of $100, a Title II retirement overpayment of $200, and a Title XVI overpayment of $500, and he would like to repay all in full with a single payment of $800.

The web service will retrieve the multiple debts, and SERS will display each individual debt.

The FO technician will take the following actions:

  • select all applicable debts,

  • enter the amount that the remitter wishes to pay for each debt,

  • once entered, add to SERS shopping cart.

For this example, the FO technician should enter $100, $200, and $500 for a total of $800 for John Doe.

The remitter wants to use more than one method of payment to pay one or multiple debts.

Example: John Doe want to makes three payments on his own debt using his credit card, a check, and a money order.

The FO technician will submit separate SERS transactions for each payment method.

For this example, there will be three separate SERS orders, three separate Payment Authorization Forms, and three receipts.

  

When there are scenarios that are not listed in the previous charts, follow this chart:

If…

Then…

A debit/credit card remittance for a Title II or Title XVI overpayment, conserved fund, or misused fund is mailed to the FO;

Follow the current procedures in GN 02403.006D through GN 02403.006F.

NOTE: SERS is not equipped to handle debit/credit card transactions when the remitter is not present.

The remittance is not related to a debt displayed in SERS;

Example: John Doe would like to make a payment for a debt unrelated to a Title II or Title XVI benefit overpayment, conserved fund, or misused fund.

Follow current procedures in GN 02403.000 through GN 02403.160.

NOTE: It is possible that a FO can receive many different types of remittances in one day (benefit overpayments, CMS premiums, and attorney fees). When this event occurs, ensure that SERS processes the remittance for the overpayment and process the remaining remittances using the current procedures in GN 02403.000 through GN 02403.160.

The remitter would like to cancel his or her debit/credit card, check, or money order transaction after he or she signs the Payment Authorization Form and the transaction has been submitted in SERS, and the cancellation request is not due to an SSA error;

Example: John Doe returns to the FO with his receipt and requests a refund and cancellation of the transaction. He explains he needs the funds for a personal matter, and want to cancel that payment.

The FO technician explains to the remitter that the initial transaction was final and dependent upon the remitter reviewing and signing the Payment Authorization Form.

NOTE: These are temporary instructions. In the future, SERS will have functionality to reverse or cancel a transaction within the FOs. Until then, please follow these instructions.

The remitter would like to cancel his or her debit/credit card, check, or money order transaction after the transaction has been submitted in SERS, and the cancellation request is a result of an SSA error;

Example: John Doe requests to make a $50 payment for his Title XVI debt. The FO erroneously processes a $500 payment or the FO did not give him the opportunity to review and sign the Payment Authorization Form prior to submitting the payment in SERS. John Doe requests a refund or cancellation of the transaction, because the amount charged was incorrect or the FO made the error by not allowing him to review the Payment Authorization Form and processing the incorrect amount;

  • Obtain his or her contact information,

  • Review the transaction and obtain claims representative or equivalent approval; and

  • Forward the request, and a copy of the receipt to the ^SERS helpdesk for assistance. The ^SERS helpdesk will coordinate with headquarter components to resolve.

NOTE: These are temporary instructions In the future, SERS will have functionality to reverse or cancel a transaction within the FOs. Until then, please follow these instructions.

The remitter would like to repay conserved funds using a U.S. savings bond;

Follow current procedures in GN 02403.015 since SERS cannot process U.S. savings bonds.

SERS returns debts to the storefront but also indicates that the web service encountered some errors;

Example: John Doe has three different debts on his MBR and SSR and wants to make a payment for all three, but SERS only displays two debts.

Review the returned debts to the storefront with the remitter, and process through SERS.

For all other debts not retrieved by the web service and not displayed in SERS, follow the current procedures in GN 02403.000 through GN 02403.160.

G. SERS limitations

SERS will not display the debt data for the following scenarios:

  • when the date of birth fields on the MBR and Numident do not match;

  • when the Title XVI debtor is deceased; or

  • when the web service, or any of the other internal data services, encounter an error.

SERS will not allow a payment greater than the amount due (SERS displays a debt of $400; however, a remittance of $500 is entered into the SERS).

H. Conclusion

The SERS application will accept remittances related to overpayments, conserved funds, and misused funds for Title II and Title XVI. It will assist in the reduction of the manual remittance workloads in FOs and MATPSC and ultimately enhance customer service to the public.

For further information, contact the SERS helpdesk at 410-966-2001, and via the provided links:

  • SERS helpdesk email: ^SERS or SERS@ssa.gov

  • MS SERS 001.001 through MS SERS 001.011

  • Teleservice Query Application

  • SERS Intranet Site


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202403161
GN 02403.161 - Social Security Electronic Remittance System (SERS) for Programmatic Collection - 10/03/2017
Batch run: 10/03/2017
Rev:10/03/2017