TN 8 (07-15)
RS 02655.010 Follow-ups and Suspensions — Foreign Enforcement Program (FEP)
A. Pre-Suspension process for Foreign Enforcement Questionnaires (FEQs)
SSA mails FEQs in May through June of each year. Recipients are required to respond within 60 days. The Wilkes-Barre Direct Operations Center (WBDOC) maintains a list of beneficiaries and representative payees to whom SSA sends questionnaires. The WBDOC receives the completed FEQ forms, maintains a responder list, and processes the responses. After 60 days, the WBDOC sends the responder list to the Center for Information Technology (CIT) in the Office of Central Operations (OCO). CIT creates the non-responder file by comparing the responder list against the master file containing the claimants selected to receive the FEQ. CIT reviews the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) of the non-responders and eliminates beneficiaries who have had any of the following actions from the FEQ follow-up process:
a termination status (T status code),
a recent change of address to the United States, and
a recent representative payee change.
B. The FEQ follow-up process
In September, SSA mails a second notice and FEQ to the beneficiaries and representative payees who did not respond to the first mailing. We request a reply to the second notice within 45 days. To process responses received after the second mailing, follow the procedure in RS 02655.007.
C. Automatic suspension process for non-receipt of Form SSA-7162
Each January, WBDOC sends CIT the responder file from the second mailing. CIT prepares the automatic suspension file that lists the beneficiaries who did not return the second SSA-7162 FEQ form within the 45-day timeframe. Prior to the Current Operating Month (COM) change in January, CIT transmits the file to Office of Systems to process automatic suspension of benefits. SSA mails suspension notices to these beneficiaries around mid-January. The notices state that benefits will stop with the February payment (for January benefits).
D. Manual suspension process for non-receipt of Form SSA-7161
The Office of International Operations (OIO) processes the SSA-7161 non-responder list manually.
1. OIO action before manual suspension
OIO technicians review the MBRs of the beneficiaries whose representative payees did not respond to the second notice. If the MBR shows any of the following actions processed after the second FEQ mailing, OIO will not suspend benefits for that beneficiary:
recent change of address,
recent change of representative payee,
termination of benefits, or
suspension of benefits for another reason other than foreign enforcement.
NOTE: If the beneficiary is already in suspense for another reason, OIO will add this special message to the MBR to alert those reviewing the record not to reinstate benefits: “Do not resume benefits for (enter the other suspension reason) unless the FEQ is returned.”
2. OIO action for manual suspension
OIO will take the following actions for the remaining non-responders:
send suspension letter to the representative payee,
send a request to the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) to develop for a new representative payee, if necessary, or
suspend benefits using miscellaneous code “S9 FORENF” for the COM.
NOTE: After 12 months of suspension, follow procedure in RS 02655.010F in this section.
E. Post suspension action
The Center for Security Integrity (CSI) will send the FBU a list of FEQ suspensions in its service area. The FBU will investigate the whereabouts of the beneficiaries and the representative payees and any other pertinent changes.
1. FBU. or field office (FO), action
The FBU or FO attempts to locate the beneficiary and takes as many of the following actions that apply:
verify identity and existence;
review the MBR for other changes;
obtain answers to all questions on the FEQ;
initiate and develop any representative payee or custodial change;
take appropriate action for any other changes;
use the Program Operating System (POS) to process changes and reinstate benefits for COM if possible; and
refer cases that cannot be processed through POS to OIO for processing.
2. OIO action
OIO technicians must carefully review the MBR, process any necessary changes, and determine whether benefits can be resumed, terminated, or suspended for any other reason.
F. Presumption of whereabouts unknown
Once a Title II beneficiary has been in foreign enforcement suspension (LAF-S9 FENF) for 12 months, and attempts to contact the person have been unsuccessful, SSA will presume their whereabouts are unknown. OIO will change the suspension status to LAF-S9 Whereabouts Unknown (S9-WHEREU) according to the procedure in GN 02602.320. For information about terminating the benefits of recipients after they are in S9-WHEREU status, visit GN 02602.320F.