When we initially entitled someone to benefits, there was information in the file
that the claimant was entitled to a government pension not covered by Social Security.
However, the adjudicator did not address the non-covered government pension in any
way and no paragraph was included in the award notice.
SSA's notice of entitlement is a notice of an initial determination on all issues
which were before the adjudicator. Therefore, an initial determination has been made
on GPO; i.e., the adjudicator has “determined,” albeit erroneously, that GPO is not
an issue or does not apply in this case.
If the error is discovered within 4 years of the notice of initial determination,
then we can reopen the earlier initial determination based on having good cause with
this error on the face of the evidence.
If more than 4 years pass after the date of the notice of the initial determination
and we discover the error and the claimant is still receiving the same pension on
which the initial determination was based, then we cannot correct the error and cannot
impose GPO since the end result of revising the record would be unfavorable to the
claimant (GN 04010.020).