The SSA-131 was designed to assist SSA in getting special payment information from
employers. Members of several payroll associations requested that a specific form
be developed for use in special payment situations. Use of the form should prove helpful
to SSA in getting special payment information, to employers in providing the information
to us, and to beneficiaries in having their benefits correctly adjusted.
Adjudicators should be mindful of the timeframes for retirement, retirement benefit
calculation/payment and the Annual Wage Reporting (W-2) cycle when using the SSA-131
to request special payment information from the employer. For example, in a post-adjudicative
situation, where a beneficiary responds to an enforcement notice, alleging a special
payment and employer contact is required, it would be reasonable to request a response
in 30 days and follow-up with a second request if a reply is not received within that
time period. This is because the tax year has already ended and the payments have
already been made. On the other hand, if a beneficiary files a claim in September,
and states that he/she will retire November 30 and will receive some type of special
payment from the employer, it would not be reasonable to make a request for special
payment information at that time and expect a reply within 30 days. Instead, send
the SSA-131 to the employer, requesting that the form be completed after the employee
has retired and the information requested is known. A reasonable diary date for follow-up
in this case would be January 30 (after the close of the tax year).
REMEMBER: The form is not routinely required for verification of special payments. If the beneficiary
knows the amount of the payment, or the employer has provided some other statement
showing amounts that can be excluded under the earnings test, there is no need to
use the SSA-131.
If there is no response from the employer to a second request for special wage payment
information, the beneficiary should be told that the employer did not respond, if
the request was initiated based on information provided by the beneficiary.