TN 5 (06-07)
GN 02405.006 Returning Unendorsed Checks to the Field Office
SSA receives inquiries from claimants, representative payees, attorneys, claimant representatives and the general public questioning proper procedure for returning attorney fee checks and unendorsed Title II and Title XVI benefit checks. The individuals who receive these checks may not be entitled to receive the funds for many reasons including a period of nonentitlement, the death of the payee or the beneficiary, a change in payee, substantial gainful activity, duplicate payments, etc.
NOTE: Returned unendorsed attorney fee checks should be processed the same as returned unendorsed benefit checks (see GN 02405.010).
B. Policy – Returning Unendorsed Checks
Checks that are not due the individual who receives them should be returned to SSA to ensure proper handling and record keeping. If a check is returned to SSA unendorsed, SSA can use the returned check as a lead for possible entitlement to other benefits (e.g., survivor), potential overpayments, development for change of address, etc.
C. Procedure – Individual Contacts SSA Concerning Returning an Unendorsed Check
If an individual contacts SSA concerning returning an unendorsed check:
Instruct the individual to hand-deliver the check to any Field Office (FO)
Inform the individual that returning the check to the FO will ensure accurate record updates are completed
Inform the individual to advise the FO why the check is being returned (i.e., death of payee, change of address, etc.)
Inform the individual that he/she will be given a receipt after returning the check to the local FO as proof of the transaction
If the individual is unable to hand-deliver the check to the FO, instruct the individual to mail the check to the FO with a note explaining why the check is being returned (i.e., death of payee, change of address, etc.) and to provide a return address so that a receipt can be mailed when the check is received.
D. Procedure – Individual Returns Unendorsed Check to the FO
If an individual returns an unendorsed check to the FO follow instructions in:
E. Procedure – Unendorsed Check is Lost after Received by FO
If an unendorsed check is lost prior to the check being received by the Department of the Treasury:
Title II: The FO will send an modernized development worksheet (MDW) to the payment center (PC) advising the PC to input an F-stop (see GN 02408.025) for the check and to code the special message (SPC MSG) field with the following language: “F-stop input on mm/dd/yy chk lost in route to Treasury”
Title XVI: The FO will input an F-stop (see GN 02408.025) for the lost check and code the RMKS field with the following language: “F-stop input on mm/dd/yy chk lost in route to Treasury”