TN 35 (05-06)
GN 02602.320 Whereabouts Unknown
Social Security Act 1631(e)(1);
20 CFR 404.705 and 404.721;
Social Security Ruling 99-1p
This section explains the policies to follow when we cannot locate Title II beneficiaries or Title XVI recipients in postentitlement and/or posteligibility cases. The proper input for “whereabouts unknown” cases is LAF code S9 for Title II cases and payment status code (PSY) S06 for Title XVI cases.
B. Policy – suspension for whereabouts unknown
Third party reports, mail, and undeliverable checks may indicate that a beneficiary’s/recipient’s whereabouts are unknown. For Title II cases, suspension is proper when we cannot locate a beneficiary and his/her whereabouts are unknown. For Title XVI cases, suspension is proper when we cannot locate a recipient and cannot determine his or her eligibility and benefit amount.
C. Policy – postentitlement/posteligibility cases
1. Title II cases (non-disability)
Development for whereabouts unknown should be made through direct contact using the Field Office (FO) development procedures. Send an advance notice as outlined in NL 00601.030 advising the beneficiary that benefits will be suspended as of the date that the beneficiary’s whereabouts are unknown. Record any efforts to locate the beneficiary in the special message field of the MBR to avoid duplication of resolution activity. Follow the instructions as outlined in SM 03005.160; SM 03020.290; and MSOM COMMON 005.034 to suspend benefits. LAF S9 is the proper suspension code for “whereabouts unknown.” However, if further development determines that another LAF code is more appropriate due to other entitlement, termination, or suspension events, update and/or change the LAF code and/or RFST.
2. Title II cases (disability)
For disability cases, follow the procedures in DI 13010.160; and SM 03020.050 when we are unable to locate a beneficiary.
3. Disability - special CDR issues
In those situations where whereabouts unknown issues arise during the continuing disability review (CDR) process, follow the instructions in DI 13015.025; DI 28075.005; DI 40525.001; and DI 13015.001.
4. Title XVI cases
Follow the instructions in SI 02301.240.
D. Policy- representative payee
Do not suspend Title II/Title XVI benefits (S9/S06) when the whereabouts of the representative payee is unknown. Initiate development for a new payee following the guidelines in GN 00504.110.
E. Policy - reinstatement
1. Title II cases
Once the beneficiary is located, verify the beneficiary’s identity per GN 00203.020 and determine whether benefits should continue. If yes, reinstate benefits effective with the first month of suspension using the guidelines found in SM 03005.160. If the beneficiary has a representative payee, follow the procedures as outlined in GN 00504.160 to reinstate benefits.
2. Title XVI cases
Follow the procedures in SI 02301.205 to reinstate benefits after a period of suspension.
F. Policy - presumption of death after 7 year benefit suspension – Title II non-disability cases (adult beneficiaries)
When benefits have been suspended for “whereabouts unknown” for a period of at least 7 continuous years because an adult individual has been absent or missing from his or her residence and has never been heard from during this period, assume that the reason he/she has failed to request his/her benefits is death. Terminate entitlement to benefits effective with the date that the adult beneficiary disappeared, unless there is convincing evidence to establish a more likely date of death. If the evidence rebuts the presumption of death, follow the instructions in GN 00304.050.