TN 22 (08-17)

SI SF02005.082 Establishing The Correct Minimum Income Level (MIL) — California

A. General

SI 01410.001 and SI 02005.082 discuss the concept of the Minimum Income Level (MIL). The MIL identifies the level of income that has been established as the total income available in December 1973 to a recipient who was eligible for assistance under a State plan for the aged, blind, or disabled and converted to the SSI program effective January 1974. For recipients entitled to MIL protection, SSA must maintain this level of income.

When a converted individual files a new application after eligibility was terminated, the individual still has MIL protection. However, if the individual has lost categorical eligibility (i.e., is not aged, blind or disabled), he or she also loses MIL protection (see SI 01410.001A.3.).

The original MIL is composed of the State Grant Amount (GA) and Federal Countable Income (FI), if any, at the time of conversion. For example, if the GA was $28 and the FI was $200, the original MIL is $228. The CONV segment on the SSR displays the conversion data for the recipient (SM 01601.625 Conversion Data - CONV). The original conversion record would show the following:

CONV FL:A FIS:7 FI:200.00 GA:28.00 STC:05440 WEL:00000000000001

   

FL

=

1973 Federal Living Arrangement

FIS

=

1973 Federal Countable Income Source Code

FI

=

December 1973 Federal Countable Income Amount

GA

=

December 1973 State Grant Amount

STC

=

State and County Code of Conversion

WEL

=

Welfare Identification Number

B. California Pass-along

SI 01403.001 discusses the basic concept of a “pass-along.” It is a protection afforded SSI recipients to ensure they will receive the full benefit of cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). Congress approved pass-along legislation because some States reduced their supplementary payment levels when Congress enacted cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) in the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). As a result, some Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients often did not receive the full amount of the COLA increase. The pass-along provisions were intended to ensure recipients were not disadvantaged by state actions.

Additionally, beginning July 1981, California authorized adding pass-along increments to the MIL by way of increasing the FI amount effective with each COLA. (Hawaii and Nevada did not elect to add COLA increases to their MILs, so the individual’s FI amount as of 12/73 is a constant.)

A pass-along increment amount is dependent upon the federal living arrangement and status as an individual or member of a couple in each COLA month. The increment amount is the difference between the prior FBR (or FBR minus the VTR if FLA B applies for the COLA month) and the new FBR (or the new FBR minus the new VTR if FLA B applies for the COLA month) for an individual or member of a couple.

The SSI system automatically adds pass-along increments to the FI field for each new COLA increase as long as the effective date of the increase is within the life of the SSR and the individual was a California resident as of the COLA month. The system does not automatically apply pass-along increments with effective dates prior to the SD budget month. Therefore, you must determine the correct MIL amount as of the SD budget month when you manually establish a SD for a conversion record.

The increments are cumulative and the additions are reflected in the X type income in the UM field (Type X income equals the sum of the grant amount (GA), Federal countable income (FI) at the time of conversion, if any, and cumulative pass-along increments).

For example, if a recipient was converted with a MIL of $258, after the pass-along increments are added by the SSI system, the UMIH segment on the SSR will reflect the following entries for the X type income (1/85-12/14 omitted for brevity):

UMIH

     

T

UMP

UMS

UMA

F

UMIPV

X

0174

0681

258.00

T

 

X

0781

0682

354.90

T

 

X

0782

0683

374.50

T

 

X

0783

1283

384.20

T

 

X

0184

1284

393.90

T

 

- -  

- - 

- -

- -

  

X

0115

0000

812.90

C

 

The SSI system uses these MIL amounts to determine whether the recipient is due a Mandatory Minimum State Supplement (MMSS) payment (SI 02005.084 MMSS Eligibility and Payment Computations Under RMA) . You must use the correct MIL if a manual computation is needed, including the appropriate increments. Type X UM entries for California conversion cases are systems-generated and should not be manually input.

Although the SSI system can generally add COLA increments automatically on an active record. It does not automatically add an increment for COLA months on an active record in which:

  • the recipient was out of state in the COLA month(s) and returns to California or

  • the recipient is in Federal living arrangement (FLA) D in the COLA month(s) and subsequently leaves FLA D (this does not apply to individuals converted in a FLA D, i.e., the FL field in the CONV segment on the SSR is “D”)

You will need to terminate and reestablish the record as a Start Date (SD) in order to add the missing COLA increments. You will also need to add COLA increments when you manually establish a SD for other reasons as long as the individual remains eligible for a MIL.

The pass-along increments from July 1981 to the present are available on the Center for Disability and Programs Support website at CALIFORNIA MIL PASSALONG AMOUNTS BEGINNING 07/81. SI 01415.024B.2 also contains pass-along amounts for a limited number of years.

C. Establishing the MIL on California Conversion Case SD Records

MSSICS can normally terminate and start date current MSSICS records containing conversion data without requiring manual entry of conversion data. These instructions are for FO use in determining the correct MIL amount when manually establishing SD records for converted recipients (see SM SF01005.020 for instructions on manually establishing the SD with conversion data). You will need to:

  • use the GA, FL, STC, and WEL at the time of conversion

  • adjust the FI entry for pass-along increments

    FOs should be careful to input correct conversion data and be alert to erroneous MIL situations. You can identify erroneous original MILs by referring to the following table of correct maximum MILs prior to the addition of pass-along increments:

    MAXIMUM ORIGINAL CALIFORNIA MILS

    Category

    Maximum MIL

    Aged$242
    Blind$253
    Disabled$258
  • Use the FI field on the SSA-450 SI (SM 01005.610 ) to transmit the cumulative pass-along increments prior to the SD budget month

  • Add the cumulative increments to the FI, if any, at the time of conversion. Corrections to the FI field after payment must be input via SSA-1719-B (SM 01301.745). (See SI SF02005.082D. )

Determine the appropriate pass-along increment using the recipient’s Federal living arrangement (FLA) in the COLA month regardless of the living arrangement for the rest of the year. For example, if the recipient is living in the household of another (FLA B) in January 2017, the pass-along increment is the reduced amount of $1.33, even if he or she is in FLA A for the remainder of the year.

When determining which pass-along increments to use during a period of ineligibility, presume FLA A applies unless information is immediately available indicating that the recipient was in another living arrangement. For example, all prior living arrangements show the individual lived with a relative and was in FLA B; the current record reflects the same living arrangement and there is no indication it has changed. The amount of increment to use will also depend upon whether the recipient was an individual or member of an eligible couple as of each COLA month.

Example:

Ms. Fields was converted with a GA (grant amount) of $172 and FI (Federal Countable Income) of $70 dollars. She lost eligibility due to excess resources and was terminated after 12 consecutive months of ineligibility. She reapplies for benefits on 12/11/14. Since she has not lost her right to a MIL, establish a SD of 01/15 and budget month of 12/14 (E02 month). Use her original application date of 01/01/74 and 12/11/14 as the filing date.

Because the SSI system cannot determine the pass-along increments prior to the budget month, you must add the cumulative increments to her original FI amount. She has never been a member of a couple and has always lived alone. The cumulative pass-long increments amount through the 01/14 COLA is $542.90.

Therefore, post her original grant amount of $172 in the GA field, and $612.90 in the FI field (her original FI of $70 plus cumulative pass-along increments of $542.90). Do not include the pass-along increment for the 01/15 COLA because the budget month is prior to the effective date of the 1/15 COLA and the SSI system will automatically determine the MIL increase for 01/15.

D. Correcting the MIL

If the MIL on the SSI system is greater than the maximum original MIL plus the applicable cumulative pass-along amount, it is inflated and needs correction via SSA-1719B. Most erroneous MILs currently on the SSI system are due to field office input of incorrect MIL data on SD records. The error may be in:

  • Federal living arrangement at time of conversion (FL)

  • Grant amount (GA)

  • Federal countable income (FI)

  • State/county of conversion (STC)

Often, the type X income amount on the prior record (representing the total of the GA plus FI, including pass-along increments) is erroneously used as the FI entry on the new SD, inflating the MIL.

REMEMBER: The original grant amount (GA) and the Federal living arrangement (FL) when converted are constants. The Federal countable income (FI) entry on a start date is derived from the original amount shown in the FI field at conversion plus the cumulative pass-along amounts prior to the BM on the current record you are establishing.

E. Consumer Price Index (CPI) Correction

The Department of Labor erroneously computed the CPI for calendar year 2000, causing an incorrect calculation of the Supplement Security Income (SSI) Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). The FBR was subsequently corrected in 2001 to retroactively include an additional dollar effective January 2000. Since the pass-along increments are computed using the difference between the prior and current FBR, SSRs terminated and reestablished prior to the correction did not include the additional dollar in computing the MIL when the correction was implemented unless the budget month for the reestablished record was before January 2000.

Very few records were affected, but cases identified should be corrected using the Center for Disability and Programs Support website at California MIL Pass-along Amounts Beginning 07/81. The system will generate a 6M alert if any computation in the state supplement amount is changed by the correction. While, administrative finality rules do not apply to MIL changes per SI 02005.082A.3, they do apply to MMSS eligibility and payment computations. See SI 04070.000 for general rules on administrative finality. If MIL correction results in overpayments or underpayments beyond administrative finality, you will need to either force due the record to prevent release of any underpayment computed beyond administrative finality or NT TAC any overpayment computed beyond administrative finality.

F. 6M Alerts

The SSR will generate a 6M informational alert when interface data or FO input results in a payment change from Optional State Supplementation (OSS) to Mandatory Minimum State Supplementation (MMSS). The alert is specific to California and does not generate a controlled diary. Since the 6M alert is not an online alert, review secure print traffic for 6M alerts on a regular basis.

When the system identifies a 6M alert condition, it will process the data change and adjust the ongoing payment amount (if applicable). The SSR will reflect an asterisk (*) next to the SAM in the CMPH segment for affected months and the payment code of “9” (mandatory supplement paid).

0115

134.00

156.40

05600

599.00

.00

599.00

C01

2EEE

AA

NN

YW44

0616

134.00

229.20*

05600

418.00

.00

599.00

C01

2EEE

AA

NN

YW49

0816

315.00

156.40

05600

418.00

.00

418.00

C01

2EEE

AA

NN

YW44

It will not release any retroactive underpayment computed since the amount may be in error. The system will prevent the release of an underpayment by setting the UPV to “U” (SM 01601.865C.9.), but does not establish a U4 diary.    

Although the alert states “Mandatory Payment Applicable – Force Pay Required,” the language is misleading because the majority of cases do not need to be placed in force due to generate correct payments (the alert language is also out of date since we now use force due). The two most common situations generating the alert are:

  • Inflated MIL due to incorrect conversion field entries, generally the FL or FI fields.

  • Income in the computation month is less than income in the budget month. MMSS does not follow RMA computation rules. Use Income in the computation month, not the budget month, to compute the state supplement payment amount.

    For example:

    UMIH              

    T

    UMP

    UMS

    UMA

    F

    UMIPV

    PV

    T

     

    UMP

    UMS

    UMA

    F

    UMI

    PV

    A

    1013

    1213

    175.00

    T

    ---C1

    52

    A

     

    0115

    0516

    181.00

    T

    ---C1

    52

    A

    0114

    1214

    431.00

    T

    ---A

    52

    A

     

    0115

    0000

    438.00

    C

    ----A

    0

    A

    0114

    1214

    178.00

    T

    ---C1

    52

    X

     

    0115

    0000

    781.20

    C

     

    0

    X

    0114

    1214

    769.20

    T

     

     0

    D

     

    0616

    0000

       .00

    R

      

    CMPH

    0914

    132.00

    156.40

    05600

    589.00

    .00

    589.00

    C01

    2EEE

    AA

    NN

    1014

    132.00

    156.40

    05600

    589.00

    .00

    589.00

    C01

    2EEE

    AA

    NN

    0115

    134.00

    156.40

    05600

    589.00

    .00

    599.00

    C01

    2EEE

    AA

    NN

    0616

    134.00

    229.20*

    05600

    418.00

    .00

    599.00

    C01

    2EEE

    AA

    NN

    0816

    315.00

    156.40

    05600

    418.00

    .00

     418.00

    C01

    2EEE

    AA

     NN

In this case, there was an income change effective 6/2016 (payment of C1 benefits terminated) with no interruption in the budget month cycle. The federal amount due for 6/2016 was computed using the income from the 4/2016 budget month, but the state amount (following MMSS rules) was computed using the computation month income (6/2016). To protect the MIL amount of $781.20 (see type X in UMIH), the state amount due was computed as follows:

   

 $781.20 (MIL)
-$134.00 federal amount due using countable income from 4/2016 ($599)
-$418.00 MMSS countable income from 6/2016
$229.20 state amount due

6M alerts generated by a Federal Living Arrangement (FLA) change from FLA A to FLA B require a State Countable Income (SCI) computation to determine the MMSS in-kind income. If the recipient remains in FLA B, a B-Freeze is applicable if the recipient was in FLA A when converted (see SI 02005.082G). The example below illustrates the computation using SCI rules when an individual is subject to the VTR for Federal purposes.

   

UMIH

A

0114

1214

666.00

T

----A

52

J

0117

0000

245.00

C

 

7

X

0115

1216

766.90

T

 

 0

X

0117

0000

768.23

C

 

0

A

0115

1216

678.00

T

----A

52

A

0117

0000

680.00

C

---A

52

CMPH

0115

75.00

156.40

05200

658.00

00

658.00

C01

2EEE

AA

NN

YN44

 

7

1017

TOP:

202.49

SQN:01

RSN;XX

  

     

 

  

  

  

  

0

0117

   .00

33.23*

05200

589.00

00

599.00

C01

2EEE

BD

NN

YN49

---A

52

0117

   .00

33.23*

05200

418.00

00

599.00

C01

2EEE

BD

NN

GN49

  

In this case, the recipient’s FLA changed from A to B in January 2017. The system computed a MIL payment using SCI rules. Federal countable income rules would have resulted in an N01 payment status. Follow SI 02005.084D.2 for this computation.

In-kind income computation:

Step (1)
$735.00   FBR in January (effective month of FLA change)
-660.00     FCI in January (Title II of $680-$20)
$ 75.00   Step (1) result

  

Step (2)
$490.00   FBR in January minus the VTR
-660.00   FCI for January
$   0.00    Step (2) result

   

Step (3
$75.00    Step (1) result
- 0.00    Step (2) result
75.00   MMSS in-kind income
- 0.00   Step (2) result

   

MMSS computation:

$768.23   MIL
-735.00    ($0 Federal payment + $660 FCI/SCI + $75MMSS in-kind income
$ 33.23   MMSS payment beginning January

Review the record to resolve 6M alerts (remember that all resulting underpayments and overpayments are subject to administrative finality):

  1. If the data input was incorrect, transmit the correct data and delete the U TAC if applicable.

  2. If the data input was correct, and the recipient is actually due a MMSS payment, recompute the MMSS payment manually using State Countable Income (SCI) rules following the instructions in SI 02005.086.

    • If the manual computation is the same as the systems computation for all affected months, delete the U TAC if applicable. No further action is necessary.

    • If the manual computation results in a higher amount payable than the systems computation , and the recipient is not eligible for ongoing MMSS payments, issue the underpayment by A-OTP and NT TAC the resulting overpayment. Delete the U TAC if applicable.

    • If the manual computation is not equal to the systems computation and the recipient is eligible for ongoing MMSS payments, you must force due the record.

In some cases, the SSN on the alert does not belong to the applicable individual. The SSI recipient to whom the alert refers may be a Title II auxiliary or survivor on the SSN that appears on the alert. If the SSR is NIF or you do not see an MMSS issue on the SSR, query the MBR using the SSN on the 6M alert to obtain auxiliary/survivor BOANs; then query the SSR using those BOANs to try to identify the SSR applicable to the alert.

G. B-Freeze

An Active B-Freeze occurs when a claimant is currently in a Federal living arrangement of B (FLA B) and was originally converted in a Federal living arrangement of A (FLA A). Imputed income (SI 01401.001C.5.) or B-Freeze cases involve freezing the one-third reduction level applicable when the recipient first entered FLA B as long as he or she remains continuously in FLA B.

You must use the force due process for these cases. You cannot use MSSICS to terminate and start date records that are in an Active B-Freeze status for Mandatory Income Level (MIL) processing. If you attempt to do so, you will receive the following alert on the DBSD screen:

 B FREEZE CONVERSION RECORD - FORCE DUE REQUIRED
If the recipient subsequently moves out of FLA B, terminate the force due record and reestablish via start date.

H. Cross-references

SI 01401.001C.5. Imputed Income
SI 01403.001 Pass-along Provisions
SI 01410.001 Eligibility for State Supplementary Payments
SI 01415.024 States Electing to Maintain Mandatory Minimum Supplementary Payment Levels
SI 02005.082 Establishing the Correct Minimum Income Level
SI 02005.084 MMSS Eligibility and Payment Computations Under RMA
SI 02005.086 MMSS Cases Using SCI
SM 01005.020 Start Date
SM SF01005.020 Start Date (SD) Records – SSA-450 SI SD Input for Conversion Cases
SM 01005.030 Application Date
SM 01005.590 Pipeline Indicator
SM 01005.595 Welfare Case Number
SM 01005.600 State Grant Amount
SM 01005.605 Rollback Indicator
SM 01005.610 Federal Countable Income
SM 01005.615 December 1973 Federal Living Arrangements
SM 01005.620 State and County Code of Conversion
SM 01301.215 List of Diaries and Alerts
SM 01301.705 Correction of Conversion Data on MIL Records - Process
SM 01301.710 Pipeline Data (PI)
SM 01301.715 Welfare Case Number (W)
SM 01301.725 Grant Amount (GA)
SM 01301.735 December 1973 Federal Living Arrangement (FL)
SM 01301.745 December 1973 Federal Countable Income (FI)
SM 01301.820 Case Characteristics Codes
SM 01301.900 Alphabetical Index to Field Prefixes on Forms SSA-1719B, SSA-1719NC, and SSA-1799
SM 01311.355 Withholding an Underpayment (U TAC)
SM 01601.625 Conversion Data - CONV
SM 01601.865 Miscellaneous Payment Data (MPMT)
MS MSSICS 007.003 Start Date Data (DBSD)


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0502005082SF
SI SF02005.082 - Establishing The Correct Minimum Income Level (MI