TN 15 (05-08)

RS 02610.010 Exceptions to Alien Nonpayment

A. Alien exceptions

Monthly benefits can be paid when an alien (i.e., Number Holder (NH), dependent, or survivor) is absent from the United States (U.S.) if any one of the following nine exceptions is met. Dependents/survivors entitled on the NH’s record, who were first eligible for benefits after December 1984, must meet the 5–year residency requirement for certain exceptions. See RS 02610.025 5–Year Residency Requirement for Alien Dependents and Survivors Outside the U.S.:

  • December 1956 Eligibility;

  • U.S. Resident For 10 Years;

  • 40 Quarters of Coverage (QC’s);

  • Treaty Obligation;

  • Social Insurance Exception;

  • Railroad Service;

  • Deceased Veteran;

  • Absence Due To Service in U.S. Armed Forces; or

  • Totalization Agreement

B. Explanation of alien exceptions

  • December 1956 Eligibility

    An individual was eligible for a monthly benefit on the same earnings record (E/R) for December 1956. Payment will be made even though:

    The current benefit is of a different type than that for December 1956 (e.g. widow’s rather than wife’s benefits); or

    A benefit was not actually payable in 12/56 due to not filing on time; or

    Deductions applied for 12/56; or

    A dependent’s entitlement to a benefit on the NH’s E/R could not be established because the NH, although eligible, had not yet filed for benefits.

  • U.S. Resident for 10 Years

    • The NH on whose E/R the alien is entitled lived in the U.S. for at least 10 years. The citizenship of the beneficiary determines when this exception applies; however, it is the NH’s years of residence that govern its use. See RS 02610.015 Status of Countries for Applying Exceptions Based on Citizenship.

    • Resided in the U.S. means lived within the territorial boundaries of the United Sates, a U.S. Territory or Commonwealth. These include:

      • The 50 States,

      • The Territories of Alaska and Hawaii prior to January 3, 1959, and August 21, 1959, respectively, when they became states,

      • The District of Columbia,

      • The U.S. Virgin Islands,

      • The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as of January 1, 1951,

      • Guam and American Samoa, as of September 13, 1960, and

      • The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands as of January 1, 1987.

    NOTE: Dependents and survivors entitled on the N/H’s record must have lived in the U.S. for only 5 years. They are not subject to the 10–year residency requirement. See RS 02610.025 5–Year Residency Requirements for Alien Dependents/Survivors Outside the U.S.

    You must obtain documentary evidence that supports allegations of 10–year residency in order to:

    • Verify several periods of residence to meet the 10–years residence requirement; and

    • Prove the NH resided in the home/s during this period.

    The period of residence begins the day the NH arrives in the U.S. with the intention of establishing at least a temporary home here. An arrival as a visitor or tourist to the U.S. would not begin a period of residence.

    The NH can establish intent by taking actions similar to the ones listed below (not all inclusive):

    • Arranging for lodging and the receipt of mail;

    • Establishing a bank account;

    • Obtaining employment;

    • Establishing a business;

    • Obtaining a driver’s license; or

    • Joining a church or fraternal organization.

    The period of residence continues so long as the NH continues to maintain at least a temporary home in the U.S., and is physically present for a significant part of the 10–year period.

    When the file does not support the NH’s allegation of 10-year residence in the U.S. or if several periods of residence must be established to total 10-years residence in the U.S., the NH can establish presence at the beginning of a period of residency by:

    • An official visa or passport; or

    • An entry or reentry permit; or

    • Various application or registration records; or

    • Lodging or employment records; or

    • Signed statements from one or more U.S. residents confirming the NH’s presence in the U.S.

    NOTE: In RS 02610.039D Establishing the 5–Year Residency Requirement, the evidence listed for the 5–year residency requirements for dependents/survivors also applies for the NH meeting the 10–year residency requirements.

  • 40 Quarters of Coverage (QC)

    The NH on whose E/R the alien is entitled has earned at least 40 QCs. The citizenship of the beneficiary determines when this exception applies; however, it is the coverage of the NH that governs its use, See RS 02610.015 Status of Countries for Applying Exceptions Based on Citizenship. Monthly benefits may be paid for the month following the 40th QC.

    For purposes of determining the 40 QCs the following should be considered:

    • The modified method of determining QC’s is not used for this exception.

    • QCs creditable only for freeze purposes are not counted;

    • Military service wage credits are counted; and

    • Railroad (RR) compensation creditable for benefit purposes is counted.

      NOTE: If the NH has any Railroad (RR) compensation creditable for benefit purposes, the RR service exception is met. This can be effective earlier than the 40th QC and applies without regard to citizenship. See RS 02610.010B Exceptions to Alien Nonpayment.

    The 40 QC exception can be used if the Certified E/R was certified in January 1968 or later and at least 40 QCs are shown as self employment (S/E) or wages after 1950.

    CAUTION: Additional insured status requirements must be met for certain Alien Workers under the Social Security Protection Act of 2004. See RS 00301.102 Additional Requirements for Alien Workers-Social Security Protection Act of 2004.

    From July 1968 on, beneficiaries who are citizens of certain countries may not benefit from this exception. See RS 02610.015 Status of Countries for Applying Exceptions Based on Citizenship.

    CAUTION: Beginning July 1968 neither the 10–year residence nor the 40 QC exceptions may apply to an individual who is a citizen of a foreign country which has:

    • in effect a social insurance or pension system of general application paying periodic old age, retirement, or death benefits, but not to otherwise qualified U.S. citizens outside that country; or

    • no social insurance system of general application but is a country to which Treasury regulations currently or within 5 years prior to January 1968 prohibit the delivery of checks. See RS 02650.000 Treasury Department and SSA Restrictions Table of Contents.

      NOTE: Dependents/survivors entitled on the NH’s record must meet the 5–year residency requirement for this exception. See RS 02610.025 5–Year Residency Requirement for Alien Dependents and Survivors Outside the U.S.

  • Treaty Obligation

    The beneficiary is a citizen or national of a treaty country. See RS 02610.015 Status of Countries for Applying Exceptions Based on Citizenship. A treaty country is a country that has entered into a treaty with the U.S. allowing the payment of Social Security benefits to its citizens or nationals, regardless of the duration of the absence of those citizens or nationals from the U.S. The treaty must have been in effect on August 1, 1956. The Treaty Countries are:

    • Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany);

    • Greece;

    • Republic of Ireland;

    • Israel;

    • Italy;

    • Japan; or

    • Kingdom of the Netherlands (survivor cases).

    Except for the survivor case limitation in the treaty with the Netherlands, the citizens of these countries are paid monthly benefits despite their absence from the U.S.

  • Social Insurance Exception

    The beneficiary is a citizen of a foreign country which has in effect a social insurance or pension system that:

    • Pays periodic benefits on account of old age, retirement or death; and

    • Pays those periodic benefits at the full rate, without restriction to eligible U.S. citizens who are outside the foreign country, regardless of his/her length of absence; or

    • Applies even if the citizen of the social insurance country is living in a country of which he/she is not a citizen. See RS 02610.015 Status of Countries for Applying Exceptions Based on Citizenship.

      NOTE: Dependents/survivors entitled on the NH’s record must meet the 5–year residency requirement for this exception. See RS 02610.025 5–Year Residency Requirement for Alien Dependents/Survivors Outside the U.S.

  • Railroad Service

    The NH on whose E/R the alien is entitled had railroad service that was treated as employment covered by the Social Security Act.

    • This exception applies in every case where railroad compensation is creditable for benefit purposes, even though railroad compensation is not required to establish insured status and is not used in the computation of benefits (e.g., disability freeze).

    • Railroad information can be found on the E/R on the Account (ACCT) screen of the A101 and EF101 and on the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) by showing the Railroad (RR) codes of RCU—RR earnings used to establish insured status and/or compute PIA or INV—Primary NH has Railroad credits but not used for insured status or in computation of PIA. See MSOM MCS 014.003 ACCT Screen (ACCT). See SM 00510.070C.7. Account (ACCT) Data Line-Railroad Codes On older forms this is found on a SSA-794 (Earnings Record PIA Determination), SSA-2417 and SSA-101-03 (Determination of Award). Any other code or phrase concerning railroad employment appearing on these forms and no other exceptions would apply.

      NOTE: Dependents/survivors entitled on the NH’s record must meet the 5–year residency requirement for this exception. See RS 02610.025 5–Year Residency requirement for Alien Dependents/Survivors Outside the U.S.

  • Deceased Veteran

    The NH died as a result of:

    • Service in the U.S. military service; or

    • Disease or injury attributable to military service; or

    • Discharged or released from service under conditions other than dishonorable.

    The Veterans Administration (VA) sends VA Form 21-4180 (Request for Certification by Social Security Administration) to obtain information about the special VA non-insured payment when the VA has determined that:

    • The veteran’s death was service-connected, and

    • There are survivors who may be eligible for monthly benefits.

      NOTE: This exception does not apply to the payment of an LSDP. If the NH is or would have been in suspense for the month prior to the month of his death because of the alien nonpayment provision, then the lump sum death payment (LSDP) cannot be paid although monthly benefits will be payable to the survivors on the deceased’s earnings record because of this exception.

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