TN 18 (07-17)

RS 02650.160 Payments to Beneficiaries in Georgia

CITATIONS: Social Security Act, Section 202(t)(2)

20 CFR § 404.460

A. Background on payments to beneficiaries in Georgia

From March 1951 through May1968, U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) regulations prevented the payment of Social Security benefits to, or on behalf of, beneficiaries in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the Soviet Union). When Treasury removed these restrictions in June 1968, SSA still could not make payments to the Soviet Union because there was no reliable way to deliver benefit checks to those residing there. In addition, the Soviet Union would not allow SSA free access to beneficiaries and vital statistics records. SSA requires free access to verify existence, identity, entitlement, and continued eligibility.

When the Soviet Union dissolved on December 25, 1991, the former Soviet republics became independent. The United States recognized Georgia as an independent country on that date. However, SSA was unable to obtain assurances of free access in the country. Without such assurances, we could only make payments to eligible persons who met and agreed to certain restricted payment conditions. (See RS 02650.040A, Special Payment Procedures for Certain SSA-Restricted Countries).

In January 2017, SSA received the necessary written assurances of free access in Georgia through the U.S. Department of State and began removing SSA’s payment restrictions on Georgia.

B. Policy on current payments to beneficiaries in Georgia

We can pay current benefits to people in Georgia who are:

  • U.S. citizens or

  • non-U.S. citizens who meet an exception to the alien nonpayment provisions (ANP). (See RS 02610.010, Exceptions to Alien Nonpayment.)

NOTE: Georgian citizens cannot receive benefits after being outside the United States for more than six consecutive calendar months unless they meet another exception to the ANP not based on Georgian citizenship.

C. Policy on retroactive payments to Georgia

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 these beneficiaries went to Georgia.

2. Non-U.S. citizens

a. Months before July 1968

Due to the time that has elapsed, SSA is unlikely to receive benefit claims and requests for months before July 1968, when Treasury regulations and SSA restrictions prevented us from making payments to persons in Georgia. Treasury removed its restrictions on payments to Georgia in June 1968, when it was part of the Soviet Union.

NOTE: If you receive a case involving potential underpayment eligibility for months before July 1968, you must refer it to the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO), Division of Training and Program Support (DTPS). DTPS will collaborate with the Office of International Programs (OIP) for instructions on the individual case. Eligibility for payment under the ANP was different before July 1968. See RS 02650.160.D of this section for information on determining eligibility for payment under the ANP.

b. Months after June 1968

Citizens of Georgia do not meet an exception to the ANP based on citizenship. (See RS 02650.160.D of this section for additional information about Georgian citizens under the ANP.)

However, we can pay benefits for months after June 1968 for:

  • the first 6 calendar months the beneficiary was outside the United States; and

  • months after June 1968 if the beneficiary meets another exception to the ANP not based on Georgian citizenship. For information on exceptions to the ANP, see RS 02610.010.

NOTE: 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 Georgia

Georgian citizens do not meet an exception to the ANP based on prior Soviet citizenship from July 1968 through December 1991. We determined the Soviet system in effect in Georgia at that time did not meet the requirements for a citizenship exception.

From January 1992 to the present, we have not evaluated the social insurance system in Georgia for a citizenship exception under the requirements of section 202(t)(2) of the Social Security Act. Therefore, Georgian citizens cannot meet the social insurance exception, which is alien exception code (AEC) 6, the 10-year U.S. residence exception (AEC 3), or the 40 quarters-of-coverage exception (AEC 4). Once we receive the required information, we will determine if Georgian citizens can meet an exception based on citizenship.

NOTE: You must contact DTPS if you find a case involving payment eligibility for benefits withheld before July 1968 because of Treasury regulations. The ANP and the exceptions a non-citizen could meet were different prior to July 1968. Before July 1968, a return to the U.S. for any part of one day could interrupt the six consecutive month period of absence. In addition, the ANP did not apply the 10-year U.S. residence and 40 quarters of coverage exceptions based on citizenship. These exceptions were not limited and were applicable to any non-U.S. citizen who met the requirements.

E. Process for removing payment restrictions

1. Beneficiary identification for notification and contact

We identified all beneficiaries in Georgia who were eligible for current or retroactive benefits due to the removal of SSA’s payment restrictions on Georgia.

Included in the selection for contact were beneficiaries who:

  • were receiving benefits under the special payment procedures; or

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

We did not include beneficiaries whose entitlement we terminated due to death.

2. U.S. Foreign Service Post (FSP) action

a. Beneficiaries currently receiving payments in Georgia

We approved beneficiaries currently receiving benefits in Georgia under the restricted conditions for payment in RS 02650.040. These beneficiaries were eligible to receive their payments while in Georgia if they reported to the FSP every 3 months and showed proof of identity and citizenship. We asked 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 Georgia;

  • verify their current mailing and residence addresses; 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 three months, and verify identity and citizenship.

The FSP documents the beneficiary contacts, notifications, and current information on Form SSA-5002 (Report of Contact). The FSP sends the completed SSA-5002 along with any documentation to the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) in Rome. The FBU scans the SSA-5002 and any documentation into the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents application (NDRed). The FBU forwards the material via paperless to the Division of International Operations (DIO).

b. Beneficiaries suspended (LAF–SL) for being in Georgia

We require a face-to-face contact to determine eligibility for benefits we withheld from beneficiaries in Georgia due to the restrictions. We asked 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 all of these actions on a 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 FSP;

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

    • his or her eligibility to receive current benefits.

      The beneficiary or representative payee should complete and sign the following forms.

    • 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).

NOTE: Be sure to obtain information to document eligibility for the entire retroactive period and not just for the period specified in the forms. Put the additional information on a Form SSA-795 (Statement Of Claimant Or Other Person).

The FSP sends all completed forms and documentation to the FBU in Rome. The FBU scans these completed forms and documentation into NDRed, and sends them via paperless to DIO.

c. FSP is unable to contact beneficiary

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

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. DIO action on receipt of material from FSP

DIO reviews the material from the FSP and determines if the beneficiary is eligible for payment. As appropriate, DIO 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 address, and the residence address if it is different than the mailing address;

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

  • initiate any required additional development.

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

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RS 02650.160 - Payments to Beneficiaries in Georgia - 07/03/2017
Batch run: 09/03/2019