TN 77 (05-24)

GN 02408.301 Title II and Title XVI Check Reclamation

A. Background

Check reclamation is the U. S. Department of the Treasury’s (Treasury) process for requesting the return of funds from a financial institution (FI) when the FI has honored a benefit check that was either cashed over a forged signature or was not due. Treasury reclaims the funds from the FI and returns the credit to the Social Security Administration (SSA). For the electronic funds transfer (EFT) reclamation procedure, see GN 02408.610.

B. Process for check reclamation

1. Death of the beneficiary/recipient with no representative payee (forgery)

  • Check payments issued after the death of the beneficiary/recipient are incorrect payments that are not due except in some situations of a Title II PMA payment or Title XVI underpayment/type-2 payment .

  • In PMA or underpayment/type-2 situations, the deceased may be entitled to a portion or all of the payment being reclaimed. Eligible family members may apply for those funds.

  • When the date of death is input into the Title II or Title XVI system, an E-stop reclamation request is transmitted for each check issued after the date of death.

  • If the death information reaches the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) before the check(s) was cashed, Treasury systems will prevent the check from being paid and reclamation is not necessary (GN 02408.006).

  • If the death of the beneficiary/recipient is unknown at the time the check(s) is cashed, the death information will not have reached the FRB for the Treasury system process to work. Therefore, Treasury reclaims the funds from the FI that honored the check because it was a forgery since the beneficiary/recipient is deceased.


  • GN 02301.050 - Applications For Title II Underpayment Due Deceased Beneficiary

  • GN 02301.500 - SSA-1724, Claim for Amounts Due in the Case of a Deceased Beneficiary

  • SI 02101.003 - SSI Underpayment Due - Individual Deceased - General

2. Nonreceipt/Forgery

In nonreceipt/forgery situations when the beneficiary/recipient/payee does not recognize the signature as their own and Treasury determines that forgery is involved, Treasury reclaims the money from the presenting FI and returns the credit to SSA. (For nonreceipt policy, see GN 02406.000)

C. Policy for check reclamation periods

1. Death cases

Treasury can only reclaim checks issued in the last 12 months; i.e., dating back 12 months from the month that SSA learned of the death.

EXAMPLE: If the beneficiary died 24 months prior to SSA learning of the death and check payments had continued to be sent out and negotiated, Treasury would only be able to reclaim the 12 latest checks cashed after the death. Treasury cannot reclaim on checks cashed before that time period. Recovery attempts are left to SSA. (See GN 02401.901GN 02401.920 – Limited Payability.)

2. Forgery and nonreceipt cases

Treasury has 18 months to reclaim money paid over a forged signature in nonreceipt/forgery cases. This does not change the requirement that nonreceipt must be alleged within 12 months of the date of the missing check. By sending the claim to Treasury, we ensure that Treasury is able to reclaim the funds if a forgery exists. With that in mind, Treasury can accept the nonreceipt input into the 13th month (but the actual "allegation" has to be timely, i.e., within 12 months of the date of the check). Sometimes delays occur due to the timing of the allegation or an administrative error on SSA’s part. It is possible for Treasury to act on a claim received after the 13th month, but we must ask Treasury to input the stop because the action rejects in SSA systems due to limited payability. The Regional Office (RO) for Title XVI and the Processing Center (PC) for Title II contact Treasury’s Check Claims Branch (CCB) for 13th month input requests.

NOTE: For timely allegations of nonreceipt that are sent to Treasury in the 13th month, watch for the disposition code to make sure it processed correctly. This may require assistance from Treasury’s CCB if it rejects.

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GN 02408.301 - Title II and Title XVI Check Reclamation - 05/10/2024
Batch run: 05/10/2024