SI BOS01320.430 Effect Of Spouse-To-Spouse Deeming On Optional State Supplementation In Massachusetts - Bouchard v. Secretary

See SI 01320.430

A. Background

Effective 10/01/88, new spouse-to-spouse implemented nationally. This new policy was in response to the Livermore v. Heckler and Bouchard v. Secretary court decisions. SI 01320.430 explains the new policy in determining eligibility and payment in spouse-to-spouse deeming cases.

Prior to 10/01/88, the optional State supplement (OSS) payment in Massachusetts was determined in accordance with the Bouchard v. Secretary court order. Bouchard requires that FOs use the couple's rate to compute the OSS payment in SSI claims filed on or after April 2, 1984, and to recalculate the amount of State payment (and eligibility) in other cases brought to SSA's attention. FOs must calculate or recalculate OSS payments for any individual who, at any time on or after January 18, 1977, and before October 1, 1988:

  • either applied for or received SSI benefits,

  • was a resident of Massachusetts,

  • was categorically eligible,

  • had an ineligible spouse,

  • had individual countable income less than the combined Federal benefit and Massachusetts OSS payment for an individual, and

  • with his or her ineligible spouse had countable income which was more than the couple's Federal benefit rate but less than the combined Federal benefit rate and Massachusetts OSS payment rate for an eligible couple.

The court also ordered that SSA “compare 'the excess countable income' of an eligible applicant to whom spousal income has been deemed with the State SPL for an eligible couple”.

B. Policy Principles

Bouchard impacts only those cases in Massachusetts where Federal eligibility/payment is based on the couple's portion of the spouse-to-spouse deeming computation and where no Federal amount is payable. The impact is limited to such cases because the OSS payment is always“capped” at the individual without a spouse rate.

Determine the ineligible spouse's earned and unearned income and follow the spouse-to-spouse deeming rules in SI 01320.430. Prior to 10/01/88, the Massachusetts OSS rates to use for an individual with an ineligible spouse in the couple's part of the computation are:

  • the correct categorical rate from the“member of an eligible couple” rates in SI BOS01415.930, for the eligible individual; and

  • the corresponding rate for a disabled member of a couple, for the ineligible spouse.

NOTE: The ineligible spouse's rate is always selected from the rates for a disabled member of a couple. Effective 10/01/88, per SI 01320.430, the rate for the couple is based on the eligible individual's category. That is, if the eligible individual is aged, use the aged couple rate.

C. Operating Procedures

The automated system can not compute Bouchard payments (i.e., payments for the period prior to 10/01/88). Payment must be made via A-OTP. Payment computation may be done using Title XVI Interactive Comps or the manual deeming worksheet, SSA-3123.


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SI BOS01320.430 - Effect Of Spouse-To-Spouse Deeming On Optional State Supplementation In Massachusetts - Bouchard v. Secretary - 09/24/2012
Batch run: 09/24/2012
Rev:09/24/2012