TN 124 (10-17)

SI BOS00830.314 Augmented VA Benefits

A. Background

1. May 1992 District Court Order

On May 27, 1992 in the class action White v. Sullivan, the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont invalidated the SSI policy of counting the dependent's portion of an augmented VA benefit paid to the veteran or veteran's surviving spouse as income to the dependent.

2. White Class

The White class consists of all SSI claimants and recipients who were residents of Vermont for one or more months since September 1989, and whose benefits were denied, reduced, or terminated because of the policy described in 1. above.

3. Teletype

Based on the district court's order, SSA issued teletype EM-07-93, dated February 5, 1993, which furnished instructions for providing relief to individuals found to be classmembers.

4. SSIRDs and Prior Action

In March 1993, central office sent SSIRDs to Vermont field offices for class members who were in payment status C01 or M01. The VA income of these class members was to be reposted to zero (0) effective 1/93.

5. October 1993 Appeals Court Decision

On October 14, 1993, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the decision of the district court, in effect restoring national policy in the State of Vermont.

6. Overpayments

As a result of the circuit court decision, White class members who received relief based on the district court decision have been overpaid.

B. Policy

In the State of Vermont, the dependent's portion of an augmented VA benefit paid to the veteran or the veteran's surviving spouse is counted as unearned income to the dependent for whom it is paid. (That is, national policy again applies to residents of the State of Vermont.)

C. Procedure

1. White Cases Previously Processed

For any cases that were processed in accordance with the instructions provided in teletype EM-07-93 (i.e., the dependent's VA income was reduced to zero), restore the dependent's portion of the augmented VA benefit as income to the dependent on the SSR effective with the month of input. Do not revise any posted income for months prior to the month of input . Send the individual a completed copy of the notice in E.1. below.

2. Other VA Dependent Cases

Continue to process these cases under the national instructions in POMS SI 00830.314.

3. Overpayments — General

Deem the overpaid person without fault and deem recovery to be “against equity and good conscience” with respect to any overpayment caused by the White decision because the overpayment was based on reversal of a prior policy per GN 02250.325. Document the file with a completed copy of the overprinted Report of Contact in E.2. below whether or not the SSR reflects an overpayment.

4. Restoration of Gross Income Causes N01 Status

If restoration of gross income causes N01 (excess income) status in the current month, the SSR may reflect an overpayment in the month of input and the following month. Process these overpayments as follows:

STEP

ACTION

1

Do not notify the individual of the overpayment.

2

When transmitting the VA benefit amount, allow the automated Notice of Planned Action to be released, but suppress the automated overpayment notice.

3

Allow time for the income correction to be reflected on the SSR, then query the SSR to determine the amount of the overpayment reflected on the SSR.

4

Waive recovery, and document the file with a completed copy of the overprinted Report of Contact in E. 2. below.

5

Input the waiver determination and suppress the waiver notice.

D. References

E. Exhibits

1. Manual Notice