TN 4 (06-04)

RS 02635.015 Incorrect, Missing or Questionable Removal Data

A. Background - Removal report assigned to wrong record

The SSA Disability, Railroad, alien and Military Service (DRAMS) removal records are sometimes associated with the wrong Social Security number (SSN). This may happen in the following situations:

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reports an incorrect SSN to SSA, and SSA does not verify the accuracy of the number prior to DRAMS input;

    NOTE: You can access the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) record to determine the SSN that DHS provided to SSA on the removal report (see MSOM INTRANET 002.001). This may help to resolve identity problems.

  • A person under investigation for removal was carrying another person's identification (including their SSN) at the time of apprehension by DHS officers--a situation sometimes indicated by the presence of an alias on the DRAMS file;

  • Similarities between the identifying information supplied by DHS and the SSA Numident file prompt SSA to assign the removal report to the wrong SSN;

  • SSA made a clerical error while manually inputting the SSN of a removed number holder (NH) onto DRAMS.

B. Policy- When to question a DRAMS entry

Assume DRAMS removal data from DHS is accurate and was correctly associated with the SSN belonging to the person removed unless:

  • Discrepancies between DRAMS and the SSA Numident information (name, sex, date of birth, country of birth) indicate that the NH on the SSN where DRAMS was associated may not be the person removed; or

  • The NH on the record where DRAMS was associated (or a third party) denies that he/she ever received a Formal Order of Deportation or Removal issued at a hearing before an immigration Judge; or

  • Other evidence or allegations indicate a formal removal never occurred (e.g., the NH claims he/she was given the option of leaving the U.S. voluntarily before or after a removal order was issued). See RS 02635.015E.3.

C. Procedure - Initial verification of DRAMS removal record

In all cases where there is a removal alert (see RS 02635.010) or other indication that the NH has been removed for grounds requiring suspension of benefits (see RS 02635.001D.1. EXCEPTIONS), compare DRAMS and Numident records for the NH identified. (See RS 02635.015E. if an allegation or other indication of the NH's removal is not supported by a DRAMS record.) If identifying information is in substantial agreement, follow the remaining steps in RS 02635.020A. - RS 02635.020D. in applying the removal provisions. Otherwise, follow the procedures below to resolve DRAMS association problems:

1. Obvious association error

If DRAMS and Numident identifying information disagree as to name, sex, place of birth and/or date of birth and it is obvious the NH whose SSN was associated with DRAMS is not the same person as the individual removed:

  1. Have the incorrect DRAMS entry deleted (see RS 02635.005C.2.);

  2. Attempt to locate the removed person's correct SSN record by querying the Alpha-Index file;

  3. If located, show the correct SSN on the DRAMS deletion request prepared under RS 02635.015C.1.a.;

  4. Based on the correct SSN, check to see if the removed NH is receiving retirement or disability benefits (see RS 02635.001D.1.) or SSI payments (see RS 02635.001E.4.). If so, notify the Program Service Center or field office for possible suspension action.

2. Possible association error

If disagreements between Numident and DRAMS identifying information (i.e., name, sex, date of birth, place of birth, etc.) cast doubt as to whether the removal report applies to the NH whose SSN was associated with the DRAMS removal report, take the following actions:

  1. Search the Alpha-Index file to determine if the NH on another record with similar identifying information is more likely to be the person removed. If so, have the DRAMS data deleted from the record where it was incorrectly associated and transferred to the removed person's correct SSN per RS 02635.005C.2. (Also see RS 02635.015C.1.d. for determining if the removed NH is receiving Title II retirement or disability benefits or SSI payments.)

  2. If the Alpha-Index search is inconclusive, advise the NH (or survivor) of the removal report.

  3. Obtain a statement of explanation if the NH (or survivor) disagrees with the removal report.

  4. Obtain available evidence to support any claims that the NH and the person removed are not one and the same person.

  5. Follow RS 02635.015C.3. if SSA records show a person reported as removed was born in the United States.

3. SSA records show NH on DRAMS was born in United States

In some cases, DRAMS and Numident information may agree substantially except that DRAMS shows the NH was born abroad while the Numident on the SSN associated with DRAMS (and, possibly, other evidence of age) shows he/she was born in the United States. If the NH (or survivor) agrees with the Numident and denies the removal:

  1. Verify that a U.S. record of birth exists for the NH at the State Bureau of Vital Statistics level, regardless of other evidence of birth which may have been submitted.

  2. Initiate a search for a death record if there is any indication that the removed person may be using the SSN of a deceased NH.

  3. If evidence at the State level supports the NH's U.S. birth (and the removal report does not belong to the NH) follow the steps in RS 02635.015C.1. to correct the DRAMS file.

  4. If a U.S. record of birth does not exist at the State level, follow steps RS 02635.015C.2.b. through RS 02635.015C.2.d.

  5. If it is determined that the NH was actually born outside the United States, suspend benefits under the removal provisions and develop for valid evidence of age and fraud, if necessary.

D. Procedure-NH denies removal order

If it appears the removal report was associated with the correct SSN but the NH (or a claimant/beneficiary on the NH's record) protests the suspension and denies the removal report, obtain a full explanation and follow the procedures below:

1. Identity theft

On occasion, a NH will disclaim a DHS report of removal and claim that the person who was actually removed was carrying his or her identity papers at the time of DHS apprehension (probably due to earlier loss or theft of wallet, etc.) Obtain any evidence available to support such a claim. The presence of an alias on the DRAMS file would provide some support (absent any evidence to the contrary), particularly if the name of the person removed and the alias are completely different. See RS 02635.025 on coordinating with DHS if evidence to support a claim of identity theft is insufficient.

NOTE: Rather than proving the NH was not the person removed, it may be easier in some cases to establish that the NH was lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence (LAPR). See RS 02635.030 for evidence to support LAPR status. Once LAPR is verified then the DRAMS record should be deleted (See RS 02635.005C.)

2. Formal removal order questionable

A NH will occasionally question the existence of a formal removal order alleging that he/she was permitted by DHS to leave the United States voluntarily within a certain specified period of time. See RS 02635.015E.3. on voluntary departure and RS 02635.025 on coordinating with DHS if a removal order is questioned for this or some other legal, procedural or administrative reason.

3. Deletion of DRAMS file

In cases where it is finally determined that the NH is not the person removed or a removal order did not exist, have the DRAMS entry deleted according to the instructions in RS 02635.005C.2.

E. Procedure- No DRAMS record located when removal alleged

Occasionally, a NH (or third party) alleges that he/she was removed when there is no DRAMS record or other notification from DHS to support the allegation. Items 1-4 below discuss possible situations that may explain the lack of a DRAMS record. To resolve this matter, follow procedures in RS 02635.025B.

1. Removal report mishandled

This can be an indication that DHS failed to send SSA the record of removal or that SSA failed to input the report properly.

2. Formal removal order questionable

In some cases, NHs mistakenly assume they were formally removed when in reality DHS directed their departure from the United States without issuance of a formal removal order or participation in actual removal proceedings. For suspension under section 202(n) to apply, the NH must have been issued a formal order of removal as a result of a hearing before an Immigration Judge.

3. Voluntary departure

Certain aliens are given the option of “voluntary departure.” This means they are permitted to leave the United States voluntarily (in lieu of having a removal order issued against them) if they have the resources to make the trip abroad and they depart within a certain specified time. Those who accept this option and leave on time are not considered by DHS to have been removed. However, be sure to consider the application of the Alien Non-Payment Provisions (See RS 02610.000.)

Aliens who leave the United States on their own while under a formal order of removal and without having been given the option of “voluntary departure” are generally considered to have removed themselves and are subject to suspension under the SSA removal provisions (section 202(n)) as long as they were not ordered removed under grounds that except them from suspension (see RS 02635.001D.1. EXCEPTIONS).

4. Removal not covered under Section 202(n)

Suspension under section 202(n) of the Act applies to aliens deported or removed under any of the sections of the INA listed in RS 02635.001C.

NOTE: Aliens removed as inadmissible under section 212(a) of the INA other than section 212(a) (6) (A) are not subject to suspension. DHS does not report such removals to SSA.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0302635015
RS 02635.015 - Incorrect, Missing or Questionable Removal Data - 03/29/2016
Batch run: 03/29/2016
Rev:03/29/2016