TN 29 (06-15)
RS 01702.424 Processing the SSA-24, Application For Survivors Benefits (Payable Under Title II of the Social Security Act)
By law, an application for survivor benefits filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) constitutes an application for Title II survivor benefits. When a survivor files a claim for VA benefits, he or she also completes an SSA-24 survivor application.
A. Receipt of SSA-24
The VA faxes or mails completed SSA-24s to either the servicing program service center (PSC) or nearest field office (FO). Receipt of an SSA-24 serves as an application for Title II survivor benefits.
The date a survivor files a claim with the VA, as shown by the date stamp on the SSA-24, is the filing date for Title II survivor benefits unless the survivor filed a separate Title II claim prior to the date on the SSA-24. If the VA did not date stamp the SSA-24, contact the VA for the filing date.
B. PSC actions upon receipt of an SSA-24
1. No prior claim
When there is no record of a prior claim for survivor benefits, request, via Modernized Development Worksheet (MDW), the FO servicing the address of the principal claimant to develop the survivor claim. Fax the SSA-24 into the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documentation.
2. Claimant previously awarded
When we previously awarded Title II benefits to the survivor(s) shown on the SSA-24 or certified the special VA payment, treat the SSA-24 as a duplicate claim. For more information on handling duplicate claims, see GN 00204.028.
3. Claimant previously disallowed or terminated
When we previously disallowed or terminated any survivor listed on the SSA-24, determine whether that survivor is now entitled to Title II benefits or the special VA payment. If now entitled to either benefit, request, via MDW, the servicing FO to develop the claim. The filing date is usually the date the VA date stamped the SSA-24, unless the prior claim established an earlier date. If the VA did not date stamp the SSA-24, contact the VA for the filing date.
If we disallowed the prior claim for lack of insured status, determine whether the veteran has deemed military wages or railroad employment that would provide the quarters of coverage needed for insured status. Treat the SSA-24 as a duplicate claim if the veteran still does not meet insured status. If the veteran now meets insured status, request, via MDW, the servicing FO to develop the claim.
C. FO actions upon receipt of an SSA-24
1. No prior claims action
When there is no record of a prior claim for survivor benefits, process the SSA-24 as follows depending on whether the veteran is insured.
a. Veteran is insured
If none of the survivors listed on the SSA-24 are eligible for Title II survivor benefits, disallow the claim according to the instructions in GN 01010.400.
NOTE: In some cases, it is advisable to take an application from a survivor even if it is obvious that he or she is not entitled to monthly benefits. For example, completing an application for a child who does not meet the dependency requirement substantiates the reason for the disallowance.
When there are eligible survivors listed on the SSA-24, complete a Title II application for survivor benefits, even if the claimant did not sign the SSA-24. When loading the survivor application into the Modernized Claim System (MCS), avoid asking for information already provided on the completed SSA-24. Exceptions to this are asking for:
the deceased veteran's name;
Social Security number(s) (SSN) needed for identification of the claimant(s); and
the claimant’s name or the names of any other potential beneficiaries.
b. Veteran is not insured
After considering deemed military wages and railroad employment, if you determine that the veteran is not insured, take one of the following actions:
When the file contains a VA Form 21-4180 or other official communication (such as a DD Form 1300 (Report of Casualty) or letter) from the service department notifying the survivor of the in-service death, develop a claim for the special VA payment as instructed in RS 01702.544.
For more information on the special VA payment, see RS 01702.540.
When the file does not contain a VA Form 21-4180 or other official communication notifying the survivor of an in-service death, disallow the Title II survivor claim for lack of insured status according to the instructions in GN 01010.440.
You may disallow a claim for lack of insured status without proof of the veteran’s death, provided the SSA-24 shows the date of death.
2. Prior claims action
When the claimant previously filed a claim for survivor benefits, process the SSA-24 as follows, depending on the action we took on the prior claim.
a. Claimant previously filed
Treat the SSA-24 as a duplicate claim for any survivor(s) listed on the SSA-24 that:
Identify prior awards for the special VA payment by listing code 166 as explained in RS 01702.562.
Forward duplicate claims to the PSC in accordance with GN 00204.028.
When the SSA-24 includes a survivor(s) who did not previously file for Title II benefits, process a Title II claim for the “new” survivor(s). Request needed proofs or information from the claimant or the VA following instructions in RS 01702.450.
b. Claimant previously disallowed or terminated
When we previously disallowed or terminated Title II benefits for a survivor listed on the SSA-24, determine whether that survivor is currently entitled to Title II survivor benefits or the special VA payment. If entitled to either benefit, follow instructions in RS 01702.424C.1. in this section. The filing date is the date the VA stamped on the SSA-24, unless the prior claim established an earlier filing date.
If the survivor is still not entitled to either benefit, treat the SSA-24 as a duplicate claim and follow GN 00204.028.
c. Claim referred to the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)
When our records show that we transferred a previous claim to the RRB or referred the claimant to the RRB, send the SSA-24 to the RRB by route slip (OF-41) with an explanation for the referral following the instructions in RS 01602.200.
3. Survivor files Title II claim before we receive the SSA-24
When a survivor files a Title II survivor claim and alleges previously completing an SSA-24 with the VA, take one of the following actions:
When the veteran is insured, complete a full survivor application per RS 01702.424C.1.a. in this section. Request the SSA-24 filing date from the appropriate VA regional office by phone or letter. Document the date of filing of the SSA-24 and your contact with the VA on the Report of Contact (RPOC) screen in the MCS claims path. For more information on the RPOC screen, see MSOM MCS 008.007.
When the veteran is not insured, handle the claim per RS 01702.424C.1.b. in this section.