TN 51 (01-14)

GN 02602.304 Beneficiary Recontact Program

A. Policy for when we use the Beneficiary Recontact Program

We use the Beneficiary Recontact Program to detect unreported marriages and reports of no child-in-care situations of young surviving spouses. Young surviving spouses are under age 60 with a Beneficiary Identification Code (BIC) of E (or E followed by a subscript), not entitled to widow(er)s insurance benefits, per the requirements in RS 00208.001C. In the past, the Social Security Administration (SSA) relied mainly on voluntary reports of marriage and other events that cause suspension and termination of benefits. Studies show that some young surviving spouses report only when we ask directly, resulting in significant overpayments that often go undetected.

The automated program mails Form SSA-1588-SM (Beneficiary Recontact Report), and a notice to young surviving spouses to determine their continued eligibility. We require all entitled young surviving spouses, with dependent child(ren) in their care, to periodically complete this form to affirm their eligibility. The automated program also sends follow-up mailings to non-responders. If we do not receive a response to the final request notice, the automated program terminates benefits and notifies the young surviving spouse of the action. For more information regarding nonresponders, see GN 02602.308.

Prior to September 2012, we also used the Beneficiary Recontact Program to detect unreported marriages of young children (BIC Cs), age 17, whom we paid directly or had a representative payee. Effective September 2012, we eliminated the recontact to beneficiaries (young children) approaching age 17.

B. Surviving spouse information and selection

Each month the Regular Transcript Attainment and Selection Pass (RETAP) program selects young surviving spouses eligible for the Recontact process based on their date of birth (DOB), date of current entitlement (DOEC), and NOTICE indicator in the Recontact (RECNTACT) data line on the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR). Surviving spouses receive the initial mailing in the same month in which they first became entitled and in year 1, 2, 3, 6, and 9 of their entitlement.

The Recontact (RECNTACT) Data Line on the MBR controls the automatic RETAP selection and records the status of the recontact process. For more detailed information about this process, see SM 03020.230.

C. Mailing Form SSA-1588-SM

The automated program sends an initial mailing of the form SSA-1588-SM to all eligible young surviving spouses. The young surviving spouse has 90 days to complete and return the form to the Wilkes-Barre Direct Operations Center (WBDOC) at:

PO Box 5888
Wilkes Barre PA 18767-5888

D. References

  • SM 00510.260 Recontact (RECNTACT) Data Line

  • WB 01001.001 Overview of the Beneficiary Recontact Program

  • MSOM COMMON 005.028 Recontact (RQUD)

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GN 02602.304 - Beneficiary Recontact Program - 08/23/2016
Batch run: 08/23/2016