TN 93 (06-04)

SI 00830.715 Austrian Social Insurance Payments

A. Background

The nationwide class action lawsuit,  Bondy v. Sullivan, involved Austrian social insurance payments which were based, in whole or in part, on wage credits granted under Paragraphs 500 - 506 of the Austrian General Social Insurance Act (GSIA). These paragraphs grant credits to individuals who suffered a loss (i.e., were imprisoned, unemployed, or forced to flee Austria) during the period from March 1933 to May 1945 for political, religious, or ethnic reasons. (The GSIA does not specify what entity, e.g., the government or an employer, must be responsible for the loss in order for the credits to be granted.) Not all Austrian social insurance payments are based on Paragraphs 500 - 506.

B. Policy

1. Income Rule

Austrian social insurance payments based, in whole or in part, on wage credits granted under Paragraphs 500 - 506 of the Austrian General Social Insurance Act are not counted as income. Austrian social insurance payments not based, in whole or in part, on wage credits granted under Paragraphs 500 - 506 are counted as income for SSI purposes.

2. Interest Income

Prior to July 1, 2004, interest earned on Austrian social insurance payments retained as resources is counted as income. (Since the court decision did not address interest income, the normal rules on administrative finality apply for reopening prior determinations.) However, interest earned on these payments may be excludable under another provision; e.g., as infrequent or irregular. For SSI benefits payable on or after July 1, 2004, interest earned on Austrian social insurance payments retained is excluded from income. (See SI 00830.500C.)

3. Reopening Prior Determinations

Because the court decision did not restrict the period of time for which these payments are not counted, there is no limit on the retroactivity for reopening prior determinations to not count these payments as income.

C. Description of Award Notices

Austrian pension insurance agencies issue many types of award notices. Some notices contain information about wage credits granted under Paragraphs 500 - 506 of the Austrian General Social Insurance Act. The notices are written in German, and anywhere in the notice, the following language may appear:

DIE BEGUENSTIGUNGSVORSCHRIFTEN FUER GESCHAEDIGTE AUS POLITISCHEN ODER RELIGIOESEN GRUENDEN ODER AUS GRUENDEN DER ABSTAMMUNG WURDEN ANGEWENDET (§500FF ASVG);

TRANSLATION: “The regulations which give preferential treatment for persons who suffered because of political or religious reasons or reasons of origin were applied (§500ff ASVG).”

D. Procedure

Use this chart to determine whether or not to charge Austrian social insurance payments as income.

STEP

ACTION

1

Does the individual have an award notice from an Austrian pension insurance agency?

If yes, go to step 2.

If no, go to step 4.

2

Does the notice include the German phrase from SI 00830.715C.?

If yes, retain a copy of the notice electronically per GN 00301.286. Go to step 3.

If no, retain a copy of the notice electronically per GN 00301.286. Go to step 4.

3

  • Do not count the payment as income.

  • Code “UM32” in the CG field.

  • STOP.

4

Does the individual allege that the payment is based, in whole or in part, on wage credits under Paragraphs 500 - 506 of the Austrian General Social Insurance Act?

If yes, document the allegation on a DROC. Go back to step 3.

If no, document the allegation on a DROC. Go to step 6.

If unknown, go to step 5.

5

Does the individual allege being imprisoned, unemployed or forced to flee Austria during the period 1933 - 1945 because of political or religious reasons?

NOTE: The individual need not specify which entity caused the loss.

If yes, document the allegation on a DROC. Go back to step 3.

If no, document the allegation on a DROC. Go to step 6.

6

  • Count the payment as unearned income.

  • Follow verification requirements in