TN 77 (05-24)

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 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 (FO) or processing center (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. See GN 02602.054, Subsection J.1.d for information on how to contact the FI to have the death indicator removed.

  • Abandon the reclamation request, see GN 02408.800D.)

C. References

  • GN 02408.800 — Abandon Reclamation – EFT

  • GN 02602.054 — Suspension - Report from Treasury of Returned Payment for Death

  • 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 - 05/10/2024
Batch run: 05/10/2024