TN 38 (12-02)
SI 00501.410 Ineligibility Due to Absence from the United States/Developing Presence
Social Security Act, Sec. 1611(f);
20 CFR 416.215
A. Policy — General
1. Calendar month requirement
An individual is not eligible for SSI benefits for any month during all of which he/she is outside the United States (U.S.).
2. 30-Day requirement
An individual who was outside the U.S. for 30 consecutive days is not considered in the U.S. until he/she is in the U.S. 30 consecutive days.
NOTE: There are exceptions for certain blind or disabled children of military parents stationed overseas and students who are temporarily abroad for study purposes. See POMS instructions in SI 00501.415 ff. for blind or disabled children of military parents stationed overseas and SI 00501.411 ff. for students temporarily abroad.
B. Policy — Periods of absence
1. When absence begins
The period of absence begins with the day after the individual's departure from the U.S.
2. When absence ends
The period of absence ends for eligibility purposes:
The day before the individual's return to the U.S. if the time outside the U.S. is less than 30 consecutive days; or
Thirty consecutive days after return to the U.S. (including an individual newly arrived in the U.S., i.e., for the very first time), if the time outside the U.S. is 30 consecutive days or more.
3. Initial claims
Initial eligibility cannot be found until after the end of a period of absence (see SI 00501.410B.2.). For newly arrived individuals who have never been in the U.S., eligibility cannot be found until the individual has been in the U.S. for 30 consecutive days.
If otherwise eligible, an individual whose benefits have been suspended because of absence from the U.S. will be reinstated:
Effective with the day following the 30th day of continuous presence in the U.S. after the recipient's return if the time outside the U.S. was for 30 consecutive days or more; or
Effective with the day the recipient returned to the U.S., if the time outside the U.S. was for a full calendar month, but less than the 30 consecutive days (calendar month of February only).
The following definitions apply for purposes of this subsection:
1. United States
The 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands;
Full 24-hour day.
D. Procedure — When to develop presence in the U.S.
Develop continuous presence in the U.S. if there is reason to believe the individual has been outside the U.S. for 30 consecutive days or a full month. The list below provides some indicators that may alert CRs to question an individual's continuous presence in the U.S. The list is not all-inclusive, but CRs should question the individual's continuous presence in the U.S. if any of these indicators or similar ones exist that may raise a question of continuous presence:
The recipient's lack of response to requests for information to update a record for a medical continuing disability review (CDR);
The presence of prior periods of ineligibility on the SSI record due to absences from the U.S.;
The supplemental security income record (SSR) shows direct deposit to a foreign bank and the individual has a U.S. address; or
Relatives or other third parties respond to requests for information and ask for appointments to be rescheduled.
NOTE: Indicators such as repeated absences from the U.S. may also raise the question whether the individual continues to be a U.S. resident. See GN 00303.740 for instructions for making a U.S. residency determination.
E. Procedure — Proof of presence in the U.S.
Obtain the following information when continuous presence must be proven:
1. Individual's statement
A signed statement from the claimant giving the date he/she entered the U.S., the place at which he/she stayed in this country during the first full month, and affirming that he/she did not go outside the U.S. at any time during such a month; and
2. Supporting evidence
Any evidence which establishes the claimant's date of entry into the U.S.; such as:
A copy of the return plane ticket, a passport showing the date of entry and date of departure, or similar evidence which establishes the date of entry; or
A signed statement from one or more U.S. residents having knowledge of the claimant's presence in the U.S. to corroborate his/her presence during the 30 days in question. A statement from the person who furnished the recipient lodging throughout the month in question is preferable. Statements from a member of the clergy, neighbors, or anyone else likely to have knowledge of the claimant's presence in this country are also acceptable. Persons executing corroborative statements must give their addresses and must indicate the basis for their knowledge.
NOTE: The date of departure is material for redeterminations to determine the duration of an absence. Use the evidence above to obtain such date.
1. Example 1: Individual newly arrived in the United States
Sergeant Madison who is a resident of California is in the military service stationed in Germany. She arrived in the U.S. with her one-year old disabled child on April 12. The child was born in Germany. On May 2, she filed an SSI application for the child. Because the child had never been in the U.S., he has been outside the country for 30 consecutive days. Thus, the child is considered to be outside the U.S. for eligibility purposes until he has been in the U.S. for 30 consecutive days. The 30-day period begins on April 12, the date of the actual entry into the U.S. and ends on May 11. The child is not considered to be in the U.S. for eligibility purposes until May 12. If the child meets all other requirements for SSI eligibility, benefits will begin on June 1.
2. Example 2: Frequent trips for less than 30 days
Mr. Hernandez is a U.S. citizen who has always resided in San Diego, CA. He first applies for SSI on May 22. He reports that he made several one day shopping trips into Mexico in the prior 30 days, but was not absent from the U.S. for 30 consecutive days. The brief trips into Mexico have no affect on Mr. Hernandez's eligibility for SSI benefits since he was not out of the U.S. for 30 consecutive days and he is a U.S. resident.
3. Example 3: Outside U.S. for calendar month based on 30-day absence
Mr. Lee left the U.S. on March 1 and returned on April 1. Counting March 2 through March 31, he was outside the U.S. for 30 consecutive days; thus his period of absence from the U.S. continues for 30 additional consecutive days. He remains eligible for March because he was not outside the U.S. for the full calendar month. Counting April 1 through April 30, he is outside the U.S. and not eligible for the calendar month of April. Payments start effective May 1.
4. Example 4: Outside U.S. for at least 30 days and for calendar month
Ms. Robinson left the U.S. on April 15 and returned on July 1. Counting April 16 through June 30, she was absent and not eligible for the calendar months of May and June. She was absent for more than 30 consecutive days; thus her period of absence from the U.S. continues for 30 additional consecutive days, July 1 through July 30. Payments start effective July 31.
5. Example 5: Outside U.S. for 30 days but not for any calendar month
Mr. Benes left the U.S. on July 1 and returned on August 1. Counting July 2 through July 31, he was outside the U.S. for 30 consecutive days and his period of absence from the U.S. continues for another 30 consecutive days. Beginning with the day of return and counting through August 30, he was not absent for any full calendar month. Thus, he is eligible for a full payment in July and a prorated payment in August.
6. Example 6: Outside U.S. for calendar month but less than 30 days (February only)
Ms. Johnson left the U.S. on January 31 and returned on March 1. Counting February 1 through February 28, she was absent for the full calendar month of February and thus was ineligible for that month. Because the absence was for less than 30 consecutive days, the period of absence ends the day before her actual return; therefore, she was again eligible for payment beginning with March 1.
7. Example 7: Failure to respond to requests for Continuing Disability Review (CDR)
A medical improvement expected (MIE) diary was set on the record to schedule Mr. Shaw for a CDR based upon his particular impairment. In 6 months, when the diary was due, the field office (FO) made several attempts to contact Mr. Shaw to obtain information concerning his medical condition. His failure to respond to repeated requests for information might indicate that he is absent from the U.S.
8. Example 8: Prior periods of ineligibility for SSI due to absence from the United States
Ms. Smith has had a prior periods of ineligibility for SSI benefits due to absences from the United States (N03). In the past, she has failed to report trips outside the U.S. until her return. When she fails to respond to a request to contact the local social security office to file a claim for title II benefits, the FO suspends her benefits for failure to pursue the title II claim. When she contacts the FO two months later to request reinstatement of her SSI benefits, the CR takes steps to determine whether she has been outside the United States.
SI 02301.225 contains a further discussion of suspension of eligibility because of absence from the United States.
NL 00804.170 contains notice language related to this subsection.
3. Establishing U.S. residency
See GN 00303.740
4. Blind or disabled children overseas
See SI 00501.415
5. SSI Eligibility for Students Temporarily Abroad
See SI 00501.411