TN 7 (09-95)
RS 02650.128 Claims for Underpayments Due Deceased Beneficiaries in Albania
Because of the time which has elapsed since payments were last made to beneficiaries in Albania, SSA may receive a number of claims for benefits due deceased individuals.
The underpayments due deceased U.S. citizens can be quite large since there is no restriction on the accrual of benefits to citizens and nationals of the U.S. in Treasury barred countries.
If the deceased beneficiary's file no longer exists, it may be difficult to determine whether an underpayment exists. These files are also needed for citizenship and relationship questions, as well as for determining what benefits were paid to the deceased.
The individual claiming the underpayment must establish:
the deceased beneficiary was entitled to any unpaid benefits (e.g., no deduction or termination events occurred for the underpayment months); and
he/she (i.e., the claimant) meets all the requirements for entitlement to the underpayment.
The U.S. Embassy must establish the identity of the underpayment claimant(s) in a personal interview conducted by an Embassy representative. The interview may be conducted either at the time the underpayment claim is filed or when the check is delivered.
2. Nonresident Alien Tax
Underpayments for months after November 1983 are subject to the nonresident alien tax withholding if the individual/estate to whom the payment is made is a nonresident alien. This is true even if the deceased beneficiary was a U.S. citizen. (See GN 05010.300 for a discussion of taxation and underpayments.)
3. Underpayments for Months Before July 1968
An alien beneficiary whose benefits were being withheld on June 30, 1968 because of the Treasury regulations can only receive an amount equal to the last 12 months benefits payable to him/her. If such a beneficiary dies, the underpayment can be paid only to an individual who was entitled to benefits on that record for the month in which the beneficiary died.
4. NH's SSN Unknown
SSA assumes that if an underpayment claim has been filed at the U.S. Embassy in Albania and the deceased NH's SSN is unknown, the Embassy has established that the claimant(s) has no documents showing the NH's SSN.
If the NH died in the U.S. and the underpayment claim does not include a copy of the death certificate, SSA develops directly with the appropriate field office to determine if the death record shows the SSN.
If a request is received for payment of an underpayment due a deceased beneficiary, obtain the NH's claims folder to determine whether it appears that an underpayment exists.
1. No Underpayment or Claimant Not Eligible
Deny the claim if:
no underpayment exists; or
the claimant would not be entitled to the underpayment (e.g., the only possible underpayment is the 12-month amount explained in RS 02650.128B.3. and the claimant was not entitled to benefits on that account for the month of death).
2. Underpayment May Exist
If an underpayment may exist, obtain proof of the:
deceased beneficiary's citizenship as explained in RS 02650.124 if the deceased was a citizen of the U.S. or a country other than Albania;
NOTE: Normally, proof of retention of citizenship other than U.S. is needed only if the beneficiary died after September 1992 since, except as noted in RS 02650.128B.3., no benefits accrue to non-U.S. citizens for months before September 1992.
deceased beneficiary's entitlement to the benefits for the underpayment months;
NOTE: Generally, this will be an SSA-21, or other signed statement, completed by the underpayment claimant showing whether any termination or deduction events occurred in those months.
claimant's relationship to the deceased if he/she is filing as the spouse, child or parent of the deceased beneficiary;
citizenship and residence of the underpayment claimant(s) if the claimant(s) is a U.S. citizen or resident (or residence if the claimant(s) is a tax treaty country resident) and the underpayment involves payment for months after November 1983; and
claimant's appointment as the legal representative of the deceased's estate if this is the basis for the underpayment claim.
Legal representative of estate, GN 02315.015