TN 12 (11-05)

RS 02650.020 SSA Restrictions on Payments to the Former Republics of the Soviet Union

A. Background

1. General

Prior to July 1968, Treasury restrictions prohibited the payment of Social Security benefits to, or on behalf of, beneficiaries in the Soviet Union. When the Treasury Department lifted these restrictions, SSA did not pay benefits to these individuals because arrangements could not be made for the orderly distribution of benefits. Also, the Soviet Union would not give SSA free access to beneficiaries and records so that SSA could verify the identity and continuing entitlement of beneficiaries in the areas in which the Soviet Union's laws were in effect.

As the republics of the Soviet Union became independent, and when the Soviet Union ceased to exist as a political entity, SSA asked the Department of State (DOS) to contact the appropriate officials in the former republics and obtain:

  1. written assurance of free access to individuals and records in these republics; and

  2. information about the social insurance system of each republic.

2. Former Republics

a. Former Republics That Formed the Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.)

The following former republics formed the Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.):

  • Armenia;

  • Azerbaijan;

  • Belarus;

  • Kazakhstan;

  • Kyrgyzstan;

  • Moldova;

  • Russia;

  • Tajikistan;

  • Turkmenistan;

  • Ukraine;

  • Uzbekistan.

b. Independent Countries-Not Part of the C.I.S.

The following areas became independent countries, not part of the C.I.S.:

  • Estonia;

  • Georgia;

  • Latvia;

  • Lithuania.

B. Policy

SSA can pay benefits to, or on behalf of, beneficiaries in:

Except as provided in RS 02650.040, SSA cannot pay benefits to, or on behalf of, beneficiaries in any of the other former republics of the Soviet Union listed in RS 02650.020A.2. at this time. SSA will make a decision on the payment of benefits to individuals in each former republic when the appropriate officials of that republic give SSA the information shown in RS 02650.020A.1.

NOTE: A decision to pay benefits to individuals in a specific republic does not require the information in both RS 02650.020A.1.a. and RS 02650.020A.1.b. If the authorities in a republic give SSA written assurance of free access to beneficiaries and records in a republic, SSA can, absent any problems, pay benefits to U.S. citizens and citizens of certain other countries who are in that republic.

Exceptions to the nonpayment policy may be made if SSA has unrestricted access to the beneficiary and to evidence bearing on the beneficiary's continuing eligibility. The Office of International Programs (OIP) must approve all exceptions.

SSA recognizes a power of attorney or direct deposit arrangement only when it is clear the beneficiary is in the former Soviet republic as a tourist for 6 months or less.

C. Procedure

When a beneficiary moves to one of the former republics to which no payment can be made, change the address and suspend payments (code SL). (See MSOM T2PE 003.002 and MSOM T2PE 002.009 for information on entering the data to change the address and suspend benefits.) The system automatically generates a listing code of 925 for all cases involving residents of the former republics listed in RS 02650.020A.2. (except Armenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia). The listing code will help identify any beneficiaries eligible for payments if the country becomes unrestricted.

(See GN 00905.675 for instructions on responding to inquiries about payment to residents of the portions of the former Soviet Union to which payment cannot be made.)