TN 18 (11-08)

GN 02408.700 Erroneous Death Termination Involving EFT Payments

A. Background

An erroneous death termination is caused by:

  • an incorrect report,

  • a death match with another agency that has received an incorrect report,

  • an erroneous return by the financial institution (FI) with a reason code of death, or

  • an input error at SSA.

Once the erroneous death is on one of SSA's systems, it is propagated to other SSA and Medicare/Medicaid systems.

Incorrect returns frequently come from financial institutions (FIs) as a result of a report received from SSA or another source by the FI. For example, when SSA sends a Death Notification entry (DNE), the FI “flags” the customer's account to return any future payments for this customer. Sometimes future payments received for joint account holders, including a spouse, are returned erroneously with a reason of death.

A Title II EFT payment that the FI returns for death does not automatically result in death termination. Instead, the beneficiary's/recipient's benefits are suspended while the responsible component develops to determine whether the report of death is accurate. However, it is still possible to encounter a case in which the beneficiary/recipient has been erroneously terminated for death by other means.

For information about DNEs, see GN 02408.605.

B. Process when SSA receives information that a terminated claimant is alive

When SSA receives a report that a beneficiary/recipient terminated for death is still alive, the field office or processing center (FO/PC) takes immediate steps to determine whether the report is true and restores payments if the beneficiary/recipient is determined to be alive.

The FO/PC follows the references in GN 02408.700C. to do the following:

  • Investigate to determine whether the beneficiary is alive.

  • If so, determine how the erroneous death termination occurred.

  • When dire need is alleged, repay any reclaimed payments through an Immediate Payment at the FO, a critical payment system (CPS) payment (Title II), a One-Time Payment (OTP) (Title XVI), or a Special Voucher payment at the Division of Benefit Certification and Accounting (Title XVI).

  • Correct all SSA records, including Title II, Title XVI, NUMIDENT, and HI master file. See Erroneous Death Terminations GN 02602.055.

  • Contact the FI to remove the death indicator from the account so additional payments will not be returned.

  • Send form “Abandon Reclamation Request– EFT” (SSA-1714) for any payments for which an automated or manual reclamation has been sent. (For the SSA-1714, see GN 02408.800D.)

C. References

  • GN 02408.800 — Abandon Reclamation – EFT

  • GN 02602.055 — Erroneous Death Terminations

  • SM 00810.200 — Restoring a Terminated Beneficiary to Entitled Status

  • SM 00875.270 — Resumption of Student Benefits and Marriage Termination

  • TC 14001.040 — Erroneous Death Termination

  • SM 01315.140 — How to Abandon Reclamation - Field Office

  • GN 02602.055 — If an Individual Deceased on SSA Records is Alive

  • SM 00706.085 — Correction of Date of Death on Health Insurance Records -- General

  • MSOM ADMIN 002.007 — Date of Death Correction -- HI Master File

  • GN 02602.054 — Erroneous Suspensions – Unverified Returned Payments for Death — Title II

  • TC 14001.070 — Title II Returned Payments Indicating Death

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GN 02408.700 - Erroneous Death Termination Involving EFT Payments - 12/04/2015
Batch run: 01/14/2016