TN 17 (07-92)

RS 00605.005 Benchmark Year (Eligibility Year)

A. Policy - General

1. Definition

The benchmark year, or eligibility year, for computation purposes is the year in which the number holder attains a specific age or a specific event occurs.

2. Retirement Insurance Benefit

The benchmark year for RIB is the year of age 62 attainment (see RS 00605.040A.2.e. for men born before January 2, 1913).

3. Disability Insurance Benefit

The benchmark year for DIB is the earlier of:

  • the year of actual age 62 attainment, or

  • the year of disability onset or date of first insured status if later (freeze computation) or assumed age 62 (non-freeze computation). See RS 00605.220 - RS 00605.225 for discussions of freeze and non-freeze. See RS 00605.201 for a definition of “assumed age 62.”

4. Survivor

The benchmark year for survivor's benefits is the earlier of:

  • the year of age 62 attainment; or

  • the year of death.

NOTE: See RS 00615.302 for benchmark determination for the widow(er)'s indexing provision. This provision does not change the benchmark determination for deceased number holder's (NH's) record.

B. Policy - Prior DIB Involved

In determining the benchmark year the following rules apply where the NH was entitled to DIB before the current entitlement or death.

NOTE: Whether the benefit was paid or not is not material. A month of suspension for EPE still counts as entitlements.

1. Within 12 Months

If the NH was entitled to DIB in any of the 12 months before the date (month and year) determined in RS 00605.005A., the benchmark year is the year of onset of the prior DIB, unless the prior period of DIB is not used. See RS 00605.005B.3.

NOTE: The prior DIB entitlement may continue after the date in RS 00605.005A.

2. More Than 12 Months

If the NH was entitled to DIB prior to 12 months before the date (month and year) determined in RS 00605.005A., the current eligibility date (month and year) from RS 00605.005A. will be the benchmark year.

3. Prior Period Not Used

The prior period of disability may be disregarded if the NH is insured without considering the period.

If the period is disregarded for one purpose, it must be disregarded for all computation purposes, including elapsed years, base years and benchmark year determinations.

4. DIB Guarantee PIA used as Survivor PIA

If the survivor benefits will be paid using a DIB Guarantee PIA the ELY will be the year of age 62 or death if before age 62. The DIB Guarantee is a 78 New Law PIA so Windexing may apply.

C. Procedure

To determine the benchmark year:

1. Insured Status

Establish the benchmark year without considering insured status if age 62 attainment is used for the benchmark year. Determine that insured status has been met for benchmark years based on disability onset or death.

2. PIA Computations

Compute a PIA using all applicable computation methods for each benchmark year determined under RS 00605.005A. and RS 00605.005B.

3. COLA's

Include all COLA's that apply to the method up to the date of entitlement.

NOTE: Since COLA's for some PIA methods are applied based on the benchmark year, the number of applicable COLA's may vary for the same NH.

Select the PIA upon which payment is based after COLA's are applied.

4. Selection

Compare all PIA's and select the highest. This is the PIA of record. Establish the benchmark year as the benchmark year used to compute the highest PIA.

D. Examples

Example 1

Susan, DOB 2/20/29, filed for DIB in 1/88. A period of disability was established beginning 6/12/87. Her benchmark year was 1987, the year in which the period of disability began.

Her condition improved so her DIB was terminated 10/89 (the DIB entitlement continued through 9/89). In 3/91, at age 62, she filed