TN 46 (04-18)
GN 02406.705 Determination for Mass Loss of Checks
A. Mass loss background
The term “mass loss” describes the situation when all checks in a specific geographic location are undeliverable due to:
See General Information on Mass Loss of Checks in GN 02406.700.
The declaration of mass loss usually results from a delay in delivery situation described in GN 02406.705B and GN 02406.705C in this section.
When the Office of Payment and Recovery Policy (OPRP) declares a mass loss, the Office of Public Service and Operations Support (OPSOS) notifies the Usability Center, and requests that they include the specific mass loss information on SSAlerts.
The Field Office (FO), Regional Office (RO), Teleservice Center (TSC) and Processing Center (PC) may view mass loss information in SSAlerts.
For further assistance on SSAlerts, submit an inquiry using the Communications Central website.
B. Delay in delivery of checks situation (not a mass loss)
A delay in delivery of checks is when:
These are not mass loss situations, only a delay in delivery, which may lead to a determination of mass loss. Normal non-receipt procedures apply when there is a delay-in-delivery situation. Therefore, wait three mailing days before inputting a non-receipt in order to allow adequate time for locating the check(s). See Failure to Receive a Paper Check, Title II, Title XVI –FO, PC, TSC Procedures—Overview in GN 02406.117.
NOTE: Mass loss instructions do not apply when the USPS holds checks due to natural disasters.
IMPORTANT: Do not use the SSI Early Missing Check Report (UPER) screen for delay in delivery scenarios. To view the SSI Early Missing Check Report screen see MS BUSSR 003.021.
C. Investigation of delayed delivery of checks
The FOs notify the ROs that a pattern of missing checks has occurred. The RO Payment Delivery Alert System (PDAS) Coordinator receives missing check information directly from the FOs. The RO PDAS Coordinator reports the missing checks to the Mail and Postal Policy Branch (MPPB). The FO manager obtains the following information for the RO PDAS Coordinator to pass on to MPPB:
Did post offices receive and process the normal volume of SSA checks? If the investigation began on or after the scheduled delivery date, the FO manager gives the postmasters any available information about the number of inquiries or non-receipts reported to date.
How many checks or trays of checks does this location usually receive? How many did it actually receive?
Do the missing checks appear to be from one particular Treasury Regional Financial Center (RFC)?
What is the location of the USPS distribution center that processes mail for this post office, and how does it transport the checks (by air, truck, etc.)?
Has the local postmaster contacted the USPS distribution center to determine if it received the checks there? What was the result of the contact?
How many inquiries has the local postmaster received from his or her customers regarding missing benefit checks?
After receiving the information, the RO PDAS Coordinator shares the information with regional management. The FO and RO PDAS coordinator also determine if media contact is appropriate.
D. Declaration of mass loss
OPRP declares if a delay in delivery scenario is a mass loss. Depending on the number of checks involved, OPRP will:
advise Office of Public Service and Operations Support (OPSOS) to input mass loss non-receipts (A-stops), or
invoke the Mass Loss Central Office Systems Replacement procedures.
To avoid any confusion, please see the scenario in GN 02406.705D.1. and GN 02406.705D.2. in this section.
1. Technician instructions for inputting mass loss non-receipts
If the loss of checks does not include an entire zip code (consular code for foreign checks) or only involves a small number of checks, then OPSOS posts the information to SSAlerts. This action advises the field that we are aware of the mass loss and they must input the mass loss non-receipts.
For this scenario, the SSAlerts message will read:
MASS LOSS - TITLE II (or TITLE XVI) MASS LOSS NON-RECEIPT INPUT REQUIRED FOR ZIP CODES (or CONSULAR CODES):
ST:XX 99999 99999 99999
ST:XX99999 99999 99999
Technicians input mass loss non-receipts (Type A) as people in the affected area allege non-receipt of their regular monthly payments. This input prompts Treasury to issue a courtesy disbursement payment to the beneficiary or recipient. We do not consider previous double check negotiation abuse when processing a mass loss non-receipt in this scenario, which is a consideration in other non-receipt situations when we suspect abuse. Technicians must not wait 3 days before inputting a mass loss non-receipt in this situation.
If the beneficiary or recipient alleges dire need, he or she may be eligible to receive an Immediate Payment (IP). For more information on IPs, for Title II see RS 02801.010 or for Title XVI see SI 02004.100.
2. Central Office Mass Loss Systems Input for replacement check
If the mass loss affects an entire zip code(s) or an entire consular code(s), OPRP invokes the Mass Loss Systems Input for replacement check procedures. OPRP authorizes Systems to send a special mass loss non-receipt payment file to the Treasury. Systems gathers each beneficiary or recipient's payment information within that zip code or consular code and places the data on the mass loss file. Treasury creates and issues a replacement check for persons on the special file regardless of a history of abuse. Treasury takes this action without input from the field. When OPRP invokes mass loss procedures, technicians do not input non-receipt actions.
The purpose of a systems replacement mass loss declaration is for SSA Central Office to make the large volume of non-receipt inputs using the special non-receipt payment file. The payment file eliminates the need for FOs and TSCs to input large volumes of non-receipts manually.
If OPRP invokes the Central Office Mass Loss Systems Input for Replacement Check procedures, the SSAlerts message will read:
CENTRAL OFFICE MASS LOSS SYSTEMS INPUT FOR REPLACEMENT CHECK - TITLE II (or TITLE XVI) -- NO MASS LOSS NON-RECEIPT INPUT REQUIRED FOR ZIP CODES (or CONSULAR CODES):
ST: XX 99999 99999
ST: XX 99999 99999
In this situation, if someone living in the affected zip code(s) alleges non-receipt, advise him or her that Treasury has already initiated a replacement check for delivery within 7 to 10 days. Explain the advantages of electronic payment.
If the beneficiary or recipient alleges dire need, he or she may be eligible to receive an IP. For more information on IPs, see RS 02801.010 for Title II or SI 02004.100 for Title XVI.
If a technician in the field inputs a regular non-receipt before we became aware that the Central Office Mass Loss Systems Input for Replacement Check procedure applies, Treasury will issue only one replacement check. The second non-receipt input will reject.
E. Non-receipt reports and inputs for Title II and Title XVI
A declaration of mass loss affects FO, TSC, and PC processing of non-receipt reports. Technicians must follow the instructions below when OPRP authorizes the OPSOS to input mass loss non-receipts.
1. Title XVI mass loss non-receipt inputs
The FO or TSC must use only UPER to make Title XVI mass loss non-receipt inputs when:
The FO or TSC Inputs the mass loss non-receipt using #1 on the UPER screen. The UPER screen is only available on check delivery day (e.g., the 1st of the month) and the next day (the 2nd).
Do not use the UPER screen for regular non-receipt and delay in delivery (PDAS) situations, when a group of checks has not arrived at designated postal stops for sorting or delivery and postal authorities are searching for the checks. These situations require a 3-day mailing waiting period so that the checks may arrive before the non-receipt is input.
NOTE: Mailing delivery days are Monday through Saturday. Exclude Sundays and postal holidays.
See How to Process Mass Loss Cases in SM 01315.185 and Early Mission Check Report (UPER) in, MS BUSSR 003.021.
2. Title II mass loss non-receipt inputs
When a beneficiary or recipient reports nonreceipt of a title II check to an FO, TSC or PSC in a designated mass loss situation, input a Title II mass loss non-receipt, using NON-RECEIPT TYPE 3 (MASS LOSS). This action sends a B-stop to Treasury and applies code A to PHUS. Do not consider previous double check negotiations in mass loss situations. See Direct Input of a Non-receipt, Photocopy or Stop Payment Request in, SM 00609.001 and Non-receipt 2 (PEN2) in MS T2PE 003.029.
3. Title II and Title XVI Central Office (CO) Mass Loss Systems Input for Replacement Check
An indication will appear on SSAlerts when CO invokes the Central Office Mass Loss Systems Input for Replacement Check procedures for Title II or Title XVI. When this occurs, non-receipt reports do not require an input. In this scenario, CO has made non-receipt reports to Treasury for all affected beneficiaries and recipients in the area without waiting for individual reports from the affected persons.
EXCEPTIONS: Record a mass loss non-receipt input for a beneficiary or recipient after the CO has invoked the Central Office Mass Loss Systems Input for Replacement Check procedures when:
The PHUS/Treasury Status Query shows no non-receipt action 4 days after the check delivery date (See Treasury Status Query (UPTQ) in MS BUSSR 003.020.); or
The Zip code on the beneficiary or recipient’s record is incorrect and the person lives in an area affected by the mass loss.
If there is more than one Beneficiary Identification Code (BIC) involved for a Title II record when CO invokes the Central Office Mass Loss Systems Input for Replacement Check procedures, the Return Check Action (REACT) program sends a non-receipt report for one BIC per day to Treasury, one-by-one in priority order. For example, if the household contains a BIC A and a BIC B beneficiary receiving checks (i.e. the record contains two BICs), REACT sends the non-receipt for BIC A on the first day and the non-receipt for BIC B the following workday.