TN 23 (06-10)

RS 01402.510 Tolerance Rule for Developing Questionable Pay

A. Definition of developing questionable pay

Questionable pay is any payment that cannot be determined to be wages without special development.

B. Policy for questionable payment

If the questionable payment was reported on a Form W-2 as Social Security wages, assume the payment represents wages. If the payment was not reported on a Form W-2, assume the payment is not wages.

C. Procedure for When to develop questionable payments

1. When to develop questionable payments

  1. Develop questionable payments only if:

    • annual earnings test deductions (AET) will apply or the PIA will be affected by $1 or more; and

    • the employee or employer raises a question; and

    • evidence clearly establishes payments are not wages.

    For more information on annual earnings test deductions, refer to RS 02505.005

  2. If possible, establish insured status without developing the questionable payment.

  3. If no previous determination, determine whether an employer-employee relationship existed (see RS 02101.000).

2. How to develop questionable payments

Send an SSA-7160-F4 to both the employer and employee. When both forms have been returned, review the instructions in RS 02101.800 to determine if an employer/employee relationship existed. This POMS section also includes suggestions for documentation to assist you in making a formal employer/employee relationship determination, if the forms are inconclusive or contradictory, additional guidance is available in RS 02101.865 to assist in resolving any discrepancies between the forms.

3. Make a determination of coverage or wages

Refer to RS 01405.010 for instructions on when to make a determination of coverage or wages.

4. When to submit cases for review

If a determination cannot be made based on existing instructions or the determination is at variance with the employer's treatment of the payment and involves a number of employees:

  • prepare a brief explanation of the problem including information describing how the employer reports the payments for social security purposes and the basis for such reporting; and

  • submit the case for review through the appropriate Regional office to:


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0301402510
RS 01402.510 - Tolerance Rule for Developing Questionable Pay - 08/26/2013