TN 13 (01-14)

RS 02650.060 Payments to Beneficiaries in Cambodia

A. Background on payments to Cambodia

U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) regulations prevented the payment of Social Security benefits to, or on behalf of, beneficiaries in Cambodia from May 1975 through November 2001. When Treasury lifted the restrictions in December 2001, the Social Security Administration (SSA) could not pay unrestricted benefits because we did not have assurances of free access to claimants and beneficiaries or vital statistics records in Cambodia. For instructions on Special Payment Procedures for Certain SSA-Restricted Countries see RS 02650.040A.

SSA requires assurances of free access in a country to make entitlement and continuing eligibility determinations. In August 2012, we received the necessary assurances of free access in Cambodia from the Cambodian government and began removing the restrictions.

B. Policy on current payments to Cambodia

We can pay current benefits to individuals in Cambodia who are:

  • U.S. citizens; or

  • non-U.S. citizens who meet an exception to the alien nonpayment provisions. For information on Exceptions to Alien Nonpayment see RS 02610.010.

Cambodian citizens cannot receive benefits after being outside the U.S. for more than six consecutive calendar months unless they meet another exception to the alien nonpayment provisions.

C. Policy on retroactive payments to Cambodia

If a beneficiary meets all other factors of entitlement and eligibility for the months in question, we can make payments as explained in this section.

1. U.S. citizens

We can pay benefits to U.S. citizens retroactive to the month that we suspended benefits because the beneficiary went to Cambodia.

2. Non-U.S. citizens

a. Months before December 2001

By law, no benefits can accrue to a non-U.S. citizen for any month after June 1968 during which he or she resided in a country prohibited by Treasury regulations. The period of Treasury prohibition in Cambodia was May 1975 through November 2001. Non-U.S. citizens cannot accrue benefits for any month they resided in Cambodia during this period. This non-accrual restriction also applies to benefits that we would otherwise pay under the alien nonpayment provisions for the first 6 calendar months the beneficiary was outside the United States.

b. Months after November 2001

Citizens of Cambodia do not meet an exception to the alien nonpayment provisions based on Cambodian citizenship. However, we can pay:

  • benefits after November 2001 for the first 6 calendar months the beneficiary was outside the United States; and

  • for months after November 2001 if the beneficiary meets another exception to the alien nonpayment provisions not based on Cambodian citizenship. For information on Exceptions to Alien Nonpayment see RS 02610.010.

Beneficiaries entitled as survivors or dependents may have to meet a 5-year U.S. residence requirement as explained in 5 Year Residency Requirement for Alien Dependents/Survivors Outside the United States RS 02610.025.

D. Alien Nonpayment for citizens of Cambodia

We have not made a determination on the status of Cambodia’s social insurance system under the requirements of section 202(t)(2) of the Social Security Act. Once we receive the required information, we will determine if Cambodian citizens can meet the social insurance, 10-year residence, or 40-quarters-of-coverage exceptions.

E. Process for removing payment restrictions

1. Beneficiary identification for notification and contact

We identified all beneficiaries in Cambodia who were eligible for current or retroactive benefits due to the lifting of the Cambodian restrictions.

Included in the selection for contact were beneficiaries who:

  • were receiving benefits under the special payment procedures; and

  • had benefits withheld or suspended because they were in Cambodia.

We did not include the following in the selection for contact:

  • beneficiaries whose entitlement was terminated due to death; or

  • Cambodian citizens who did not meet another exception to the alien nonpayment provisions.

2. Foreign Service Post (FSP) action

a. Beneficiaries currently receiving payments in Cambodia

Beneficiaries currently receiving benefits in Cambodia were approved for payment under the Special Payment Procedures for Certain SSA Restricted Countries per RS 02650.040. These beneficiaries were eligible to receive their payments while in Cambodia if they reported to the FSP monthly and showed proof of identity and citizenship. We requested the FSP to contact these beneficiaries and take the following actions:

  • verify their continued existence and eligibility for benefits;

  • notify them of the removal of SSA restrictions and special payment conditions in Cambodia;

  • verify their current mailing and residence address; and

  • have a face-to-face contact with any beneficiary who did not report to the FSP under the special payment procedure within the past 30 days, and verify identity and citizenship.

The FSP documents the beneficiary contacts, notifications, and current information on form SSA-5002 (Report of Contact). Once completed, the FSP faxes the SSA-5002 and any other documentation into the Non Disability Repository Application (NDRed). The FSP forwards the material via paperless to the Office of International Operations (OIO).

b. Beneficiaries suspended (LAF-SL) for being in Cambodia

We require a face-to-face contact to determine payment eligibility for beneficiaries whose benefits were withheld or suspended for being in Cambodia. We requested the FSP to contact each of these beneficiaries, including those requiring a representative payee. For a new payee appointment, we require the completion of Form SSA-11 (Request to be Selected as Payee). SSA resolves other payee issues using current rep payee procedures.

These cases require the following actions.

  1. 1. 

    Beneficiary notification and contact

    The FSP notifies the suspended beneficiaries of the removal of restrictions and the need to determine payment eligibility. The FSP also obtains current address and residence information. The FSP documents these actions on Form SSA-5002.

  2. 2. 

    Eligibility documentation and required forms

    A suspended beneficiary requires a face-to-face interview to determine eligibility for payment. Before we can pay benefits, the beneficiary must establish:

    • his or her identity with a representative of the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh,

    • that no termination or deduction events have occurred during the retroactive period,

    • his or her eligibility to receive current benefits.

    We need to document eligibility for the entire retroactive period we withheld benefits. The beneficiary or representative payee should complete and sign the following forms amended to show the entire retroactive period:

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

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

    The FSP faxes all documentation and completed forms into NDRed, and sends them via paperless to OIO.

c. FSP is unable to contact beneficiary

The FSP documents all unsuccessful attempts to contact a beneficiary on the Form SSA-5002. The FSP scans the SSA-5002 and any additional documentation showing attempts to locate or contact the beneficiary into NDRed, and forwards the material to OIO.

d. Report of death of the beneficiary

The FSP documents a report of death on the Form SSA-5002, and develops for proof of death.

3. OIO action on receipt of material from FSP

OIO reviews the material from the FSP and determines if the beneficiary is eligible for payment. As appropriate, OIO takes action to:

  • resume benefits and release any retroactive payments if the beneficiary is eligible;

  • update the master beneficiary record (MBR) data with current information including the mailing and residence address;

  • place the current residence address in the special message field;

  • ensure copies of documentation and evidence are in the beneficiary’s electronic file; and

  • undertake any additional development required.

If the material from the FSP shows that they were unsuccessful in their attempt to contact the beneficiary, OIO should review the file to determine if there is a better address to make contact. OIO should process these cases based on the Whereabouts Unknown instructions in GN 02602.320.

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RS 02650.060 - Payments to Beneficiaries in Cambodia - 01/07/2014
Batch run: 10/17/2018