TN 12 (01-07)

RS 00208.085 Mother's/Father's To Widow(er)'s Benefits at Full Retirement Age (FRA)

A. Policy

We must convert mother/father or surviving divorced mother/father benefits to widow(er)’s benefits, even if disadvantageous to the family, when the beneficiary attains full retirement age (FRA) and meets the conditions for entitlement to WIB or surviving divorced spouse’s benefits (RS 00207.001). When a mother/father attains FRA, Title II Redesign (T2RD) will automatically convert her/him to widow(er)'s benefits if:

  • the number holder (NH) is fully insured (RS 00301.105), and

  • age for the mother/father is proven on the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) (proof code B, C, F or Q).

By law we cannot continue mother/father benefits at FRA if the claimant meets the conditions for entitlement to WIB or surviving divorced spouse’s benefits. Neither can we convert mother/father benefits to widow(er) benefits without necessary proofs. If the beneficiary does not submit required evidence, suspend (S9) mother/father benefits effective with the month of attainment of FRA as proven or alleged on our records and annotate the Special Message field with the reason for suspension. The due process procedures in GN 03001.000 apply.

REMINDER: You may use the POA tolerance procedure in GN 00302.030, if it applies, to determine the beneficiary’s age for RETAP alerts RT11 and RT42. For details, see GN 00302.030B.7.

IMPORTANT: Surviving divorced mothers/fathers must meet the 10 year duration of marriage requirement for entitlement to a surviving divorced spouse’s benefit. (See RS 00207.005D. and SM 03020.100C.2.) When the claimant is a surviving divorced mother/father, the system checks the MBR to ensure the marriage duration requirement is met in addition to the entitlement conditions shown in RS 00208.085A. before converting benefits.

B. Processing Center (PC) Procedure

The Entitlement and Eligibility (EE) business process will generate a Date of Birth (DOB) alert for potential conversion cases the month in which a mother/father or surviving divorced mother/father attains FRA, if the date of birth is alleged. (See SM 03020.360, SM 03005.135, SM 03020.090D.2. and SM 00883.125B.2. for T2RD processing instructions.) A subsequent DOB alert will generate 4 months following FRA if the benefits have not been converted and the DOB for the mother/father is alleged.

If an alert is received, the CA/CTE will initiate DOB development and determine whether any of the following mentioned issues need to be resolved.

1. NH Not Fully or Transitionally Insured

If the NH is not fully or transitionally insured, the CA/CTE will:

  • Explore potential entitlement on another earnings record (ER) (see RS 00208.085D.); and

  • Secure the mother/father's certified earnings record (CER) (see SM 00349.001);

  • If the CER shows the mother/father is insured and he/she is within 4 months of attaining FRA (e.g., alert generated prior to FRA), ask the field office (FO) to contact the mother/father about filing for retirement insurance benefits (RIB); and

  • Depending on the claimant’s decision, terminate mother/father benefits if the RIB PIA is equal to or greater than three-fourths of the survivor PIA or continue mother/father’s benefits as long as there is an entitled child in care (SM 03020.100C.2.)

REMINDER: A (surviving) divorced spouse cannot be entitled on the NH’s ER if the NH was only transitionally insured. (RS 00202.015A.2.)

2. Proof of Age Establishes Later Date of Birth

If evidence of age shows that the beneficiary is too young to be converted to widow(er)'s benefits, the CA/CTE will route to the BA/BTE to process the proof of age (POA) correction and resumption through MACADE.

3. Remarriage

If it appears that the mother/father remarried prior to age 60, the CA/CTE will:

  • verify whether the marriage continues and

  • convert or terminate benefits based upon the results of the verification.

C. Processing – Entitlement to WIB - Manual Conversion Process

See RS 00208.085A. for the conditions necessary for T2RD to automate the conversion to WIB. A manual conversion action would be necessary if the action cannot be done through MONET. When all evidence and issues have been resolved, and the mother/father meets the conditions for entitlement to WIB (or surviving divorced spouse’s benefits) and a manual conversion process is required, the CA/CTE will:

  • consider applying the Widow(er)’s Indexing Computation (WINDEX) or Retirement Insurance Benefit Limitation (RIB LIM) (follow instructions