TN 9 (07-15)
RS 02655.007 Processing the Foreign Enforcement Questionnaire (FEQ) — Wilkes-Barre Direct Operations Center (WBDOC), the Division of International Operations (DIO), and the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU)
These instructions describe how FEQ responses are processed. For a description of the follow-up and suspension process for the non-responders (beneficiaries who do not respond), see RS 02655.010.
We process complete FEQ responses according to the following categories:
Approved: No changes, all answers on the form agree with the information on the MBR; and
Actionable: Some of the answers, or lack of, require action by the WBDOC, DIO, or the FBU.
A. Summary of the FEQ process in WBDOC
For an explanation of the screening and routing procedure WBDOC uses when they receive FEQ responses, see WB 00801.000.
WBDOC takes the following actions when they receive FEQ forms:
manually review FEQs for discrepancies prior to scanning;
return incomplete forms to the beneficiary;
scan all complete forms into the Automated Image Retrieval System (AIRS) and process responses to create a responder file;
send a responder file to Center for Information Technology (CIT) to create a non-responder file;
send FEQs indicating change of addresses that do not affect payment of benefits to the FBU of jurisdiction via email containing links to the image in AIRS;
send images of FEQs from Canada indicating change of address to the DIO via Paperless Processing System (PPS) for action;
send all other actionable FEQ images to DIO via PPS; and
establish and maintain controls according to the necessary actions.
B. Summary of the FEQ process in DIO
DIO receives actionable FEQs in PPS. Examples of actionable FEQs include changes of address, citizenship, custody, marital status, and representative payees, and issues pertaining to adoption, dependent parents, and work status.
DIO takes the following actions when they receive FEQ forms in PPS:
review the FEQ responses and process according to the appropriate Program Operations Manual System (POMS) procedure;
request the assistance of the servicing FBU or FO to resolve issues; and
process changes using Postentitlement Online System (POS) or the Manual Adjustment Credit and Award Data Entry System (MACADE).
C. Summary of the FEQ process in the FBUs
The FBUs take the following FEQ actions:
use POS to process change address or telephone numbers when they receive emails from WBDOC; and
develop, investigate, and contact beneficiaries when necessary to obtain missing information, clarification, or assist other offices upon request.
NOTE: FBUs are not authorized to take adjudicative actions. They must forward any actionable FEQs that affect benefit payment to DIO for processing.
D. FEQs returned directly to the DIO, the SSA Field Office, or FBU
It is important for WBDOC to receive all FEQs for scanning into AIRS and recording on the responder list. Some beneficiaries return their completed questionnaires directly to DIO, an SSA Field Office (FO), or FBU instead of mailing it back in the return envelope (addressed to WBDOC) which they received with the FEQ form. These instructions describe how DIO, FOs, and FBUs handle FEQs they receive directly from the beneficiaries (or their representatives).
1. FEQ form received before benefits have been suspended for non-receipt of
If there are:
any changes reported on the form, the office that receives the form should process any actions that are within their responsibility before forwarding to WBDOC; or
no changes reported on the FEQ, or the office is not able to process the changes reported, they should forward the FEQ to WBDOC for processing.
2. FEQ form received after benefits have been suspended for non-receipt of
Follow these instructions:
the FBU must forward these FEQs to WBDOC for processing; or
the FOs and DIO should process any actions they decide are necessary (including reinstatement of benefits if applicable) and then forward the FEQ to WBDOC in an envelope marked “SCAN ONLY.”
E. Retention of FEQ forms
WBDOC takes the following actions:
stores the paper FEQ forms for 90 days before destroying, in case there is a need for a rescan; and
keeps the scanned FEQ image in AIRS for 7 years.
F. Disposition of FEQ forms
1. Approved FEQs
Do not record a formal disposition for an approved FEQ. The image is stored in AIRS for 7 years and you can view it during that time to see that no action was necessary.
2. Actionable FEQs
We will record all changes reported that require a systems action on the MBR.
If DIO determines that there is no action necessary (NAN) on an actionable FEQ that they received, they must annotate PPS with the following:
NOTE: All offices must ensure that they clearly annotate any actions and determinations on the MBR, and retain them in AIRS or PPS for a minimum of seven years (or the life of the claims folder).