TN 11 (11-02)

RS 02650.005 Payment of Accrued Benefits and the Resumption of Benefits

A. Policy

1. General

To receive accrued benefits and/or to have benefits resumed after leaving a restricted country, the beneficiary must appear in person and submit proof of identity and eligibility for benefits.

If the beneficiary is in a foreign country, the Regional Federal Benefits Officer (RFBO) is contacted and a personal interview is conducted in a Federal Benefits Unit (FBU), or a Foreign Service Post (FSP) with RFBO approval. If the beneficiary is in the U.S., the personal interview is conducted in a field office (FO).

2. Cuban and Foreign Assets Control Regulations

When beneficiaries leave Cuba or North Korea, any payments which are due as a result of withholding payments while they were present in those countries are subject to limitations imposed by Treasury's Cuban Assets Control Regulations and Foreign Assets Control Regulations.

a. Cuba

The Cuban Assets Control Regulations apply to beneficiaries residing in Cuba after July 7, 1963.

The Cuban Assets Control Regulations do not apply to the U.S. Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba unless the remittance is to, or for the benefit of, a national of Cuba.

NOTE: SSA has a specific license to send Social Security checks to beneficiaries living on the U.S. Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, who are Cuban nationals, provided that the checks are sent through the U.S. postal facilities and are cashed on the base.

No restrictions apply to the payment of withheld benefits for beneficiaries who have left Cuba and reside in the U.S.

If the beneficiary has left Cuba and is in a nonrestricted country other than the U.S., the amount of withheld benefits paid in any one month may not exceed $100 to an alien and $1,000 to a U.S. citizen. An additional $1,000 for expenses may be paid to a U.S. citizen who intends to return to the U.S.

b. North Korea

The following rules apply if a beneficiary-national of North Korea establishes eligibility outside that country. If the beneficiary is in:

  • another restricted country, nonpayment continues;

  • the U.S., any benefits due can be paid;

  • another nonrestricted country, a special license is required (see RS 02650.005B for information on special licenses).

3. Evidence of Citizenship

Absent information to the contrary, SSA assumes that a person born in a barred country is a citizen of that country.

a. Secure Proof of Citizenship

Proof of current citizenship must be secured for any person who claims to be a citizen of:

  • the U.S.; or

  • a country other than that of his/her birth and an exception to the alien nonpayment provisions (as explained in RS 02610.015) can be met based on that citizenship.

b. Proof of Current Citizenship

Proof of current citizenship can be:

  • a passport issued after the beneficiary left the barred country;

  • a passport issued before the beneficiary left the barred country and used for travel when, or after, the beneficiary left the barred country;

  • a statement or finding of citizenship issued by an appropriate authority of the country of citizenship after the beneficiary left the barred country.

B. Process

If a special license is required from the Treasury Department to make payments, the case is forwarded to OIP for resolution. FOs submitting such cases route them through the Regional Office.

C. Procedure

1. Verifying Identity and Eligibility

a. FBU/FSP or FO Interviewer

Examine closely all official identification papers or other evidence of identity submitted. Prepare photocopies and/or a Form SSA-704 (Certification of Contents of Documents or Records) or other extract.

Amend the following forms to reflect the entire retroactive period during which benefits were withheld due to Treasury restrictions:

  • Form SSA-21 (Supplement to Claim of Person Outside the United States); and

  • Form SSA-7162-OCR-SM (Report to United States Social Security Administration) or Form SSA-7161-OCR-SM (Report to United States Social Security Administration by Person Receiving Benefits for a Child or Incapable Adult).

Have the beneficiary (or his or her representative payee) complete and sign the forms. Review all the responses about work carefully with the beneficiary, where this is material to payment.

Forward this material to the program center (PC).

EXCEPTION: After taking action as explained to verify the beneficiary's identity, the FO can resume payment per MSOM COMMON 005.006 if:

  • The suspension was incorrectly imposed; or

  • The beneficiary is a U.S. citizen and is eligible for payment for all the months for which he/she is to be paid (i.e., payment will be resumed effective with the month of suspension and no suspension or termination events occurred).

b. PC Action

Before authorizing payment, compare the beneficiary's latest signature with the other signatures and information already in the claims folder. If discrepancies raise doubts about the identity of the person claiming to be the beneficiary, request the interviewer to check further, including questions about matters that would usually be known to the beneficiary but not to others (e.g., parents' names, place of birth, name and location of last employer in the U.S., if any, etc.)

2. Verifying Citizenship

a. FO

Verify the beneficiary’s citizenship. Obtain evidence of current citizenship if the beneficiary claims to be a U.S. citizen as explained in RS 02650.005A.3. of this section.

b. FBU/FSP

Verify the beneficiary’s citizenship. Obtain evidence of current citizenship if the beneficiary claims to be a U.S. citizen. Also, obtain evidence of current citizenship if beneficiary claims to be a citizen of a country other than that of his or her birth and an exception to the alien nonpayment provisions can be met based on that citizenship. See RS 02650.005A.3. of this section.

3. Delivery of Accruals and Resumption of Payments

a. Accrued Benefits

Send checks for accrued benefits to beneficiaries outside the U.S. in care of the nearest FBU/FSP.

Ask the FBU/FSP to take the following action:

  • Verify the beneficiary's identity by personal contact before releasing the check;

  • Verify that the beneficiary is physically outside a restricted country if the check is to be delivered to a representative payee; and

  • Notify the Division of International Operations (DIO) after the check is delivered.

b. Monthly Benefits

Resume monthly benefits once satisfied that the beneficiary no longer resides in a restricted country.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0302650005
RS 02650.005 - Payment of Accrued Benefits and the Resumption of Benefits - 03/29/2018
Batch run: 03/29/2018
Rev:03/29/2018