TN 19 (05-00)

SI 02301.225 Absence From the United States (N03), Not a United States Resident (N23)

A. Introduction

This section explains when to suspend SSI benefits for recipients who do not meet the United States (U.S.) residence and presence requirements for SSI. It supplements instructions in:

IMPORTANT: Use payment status codes N03 to suspend SSI benefits for absence from the U.S. and N23, effective 11/97, to suspend SSI benefits when a recipient is not a U.S. resident. Do not confuse the U.S. residence and presence requirements with the citizenship and alien status requirements for SSI explained in SI 00502.001.

Use N13 for loss of U.S. citizenship/alien status. Before 11/97, N13 was also used to designate that a recipient was "not a U.S. resident.”

SYSTEMS INSTRUCTIONS: See SM 01305.001.

B. Policy - U.S. Residence and Presence Requirements

An eligible SSI recipient must be:

  • physically present in the U.S. (the U.S. means the 50 States, the District of Columbia and the Northern Mariana Islands); and

  • a U.S. resident (someone who resides permanently in the U.S.).

EXCEPTIONS: See SI 02301.225D.

C. Policy - Reporting Rules/INS Reports

1. Recipients

A legally competent SSI recipient (or the representative payee) must report leaving the U.S.:

  • temporarily for a full calendar month or 30 consecutive days or longer; or

  • voluntarily with the intent of giving up U.S. residence; or

  • involuntarily; for example, if removed from the U.S.

NOTE: Effective 4/97, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) began using the term “removed” in place of “deported.”

2. FOs

  • FOs must remind individuals of their reporting responsibilities during face-to-face and telephone contacts.

  • During contacts with noncitizens and foreign born recipients, FOs should emphasize reporting the changes immediately above and explain how those changes can affect SSI.

REPORTING INSTRUCTIONS: See SI 02301.005.

3. INS Reports

The INS extracts information from INS Forms I-131 and I-157 and sends it to SSA. Central Office compares the information with account numbers on the SSR and, if there are any matches, sends an alert to the FO for development.

  • INS Form I-131 (“Notice of Intent to Leave the Country”) - Noncitizens file this form to apply for a reentry permit when they want to leave the U.S. and plan to return. The INS cannot verify information that individuals provide on the form. I-131 reports are third party reports for SSA.

  • INS Form I-157 (“Notice of Removal”) - INS uses this form to notify SSA and verify the date that the INS removed an individual from the U.S. SSA treats these reports as first party reports.

D. Policy - Absence from the U.S. (N03)

1. Reason for Suspension

A recipient is not eligible for SSI if he/she is outside the U.S. for a full calendar month or 30 consecutive days or longer.

EXCEPTIONS:

  • See SI 00501.411, SSI for students temporarily abroad.

  • See SI 00501.415, SSI for blind or disabled children overseas with military parents.

2. Period of Absence

Absence from the U.S. begins the day after departure and ends the day before return.

3. 30-Day Presence Requirement

Presence in the U.S. means that an individual must be physically inside the U.S. for 30 consecutive days to be SSI eligible again when he/she was outside the U.S. for 30 consecutive days or longer.

4. Effective Date of Suspension

Suspension is effective the first full calendar month in which the individual is outside (or expects to be outside) the U.S.

5. Effective Dates of Reinstatement

The effective date of reinstatement depends on the length of time the individual was outside the U.S. If otherwise eligible, and the individual was outside the U.S. for:

  • a full calendar month or 30 consecutive days or longer, reinstatement is effective the 31st day of continuous presence in the U.S. starting with the day of return; or

  • the full calendar month of February, but less than 30 consecutive days, reinstatement is effective with the day of return.

PRORATION INSTRUCTIONS: See SI 02005.007E.

SYSTEMS INSTRUCTIONS: See SM 01305.001O.2.

E. Policy - not a U.S. Resident (N23)

1. Reason for Suspension

  • A recipient is not eligible for SSI when he/she is not residing permanately in the U.S.

  • A recipient loses status as a U.S. resident after leaving the U.S. when he/she does not intend to return and reside in the U.S. (See GN 00303.740 about intent and other evidence to consider when developing U.S. residence.)

2. Period of Absence

Absence from the U.S. begins the day after departure and ends the day before return.

3. 30-Day Presence requirement

The 30-day presence requirement in SI 02301.225D.3. applies after an absence of 30 consecutive days or longer.

4. Effective Date of Suspension

Suspension is effective the first full calendar month in which an individual no longer meets the U.S. residence requirement.

5. Effective Dates of Reinstatement

The effective date of reinstatement depends on the length of time the individual was outside the U.S. If otherwise eligible, and the individual was outside the U.S. for:

  • a full calendar month or 30 consecutive days or longer, reinstatement is effective the first day in a month that an individual meets both the U.S. residence and the 30-day presence requirement (no earlier than the 31st day back in the U.S.); or

  • the full calendar month of February, but less than 30 consecutive days, reinstatement is effective with the first day in a month that the individual reestablishes residence.

IMPORTANT: Presence in the U.S. begins any day the individual returns to the U.S., but an individual cannot reestablish residence based solely on a return visit. See examples in SI 02301.225H.

EVIDENCE OF RESIDENCE: See GN 00303.740.

PRORATION INSTRUCTIONS: See SI 02005.007E.

SYSTEMS INSTRUCTIONS: See SM 01305.001O.16.

F. Procedure - Developing Reports of Absence

When you receive a report that a recipient was/is outside the U.S., follow the applicable guidelines below:

  • If a recipient or other first party reports an absence during a personal contact, ask the reason for the absence and how long it did or will last.

    INSTRUCTIONS: See SI 02301.010, How to Act on Reports.

  • If you receive a removal (or deportation) date via INS Form I-157, input immediately to suspend benefits effective the month following the removal date.

  • If the reporter is not the recipient, payee or other first party, try to verify the report with the recipient/payee unless the SSR shows an N03 or N23 suspension consistent with the reported departure date. In that case, destroy the report and take no further action.

  • Follow the instructions in SI 02301.235-SI 02301.240 to locate the recipient/payee and obtain necessary information.

  • Determine if the recipient was outside or expects to be outside the U.S. for a full month or 30 consecutive days or longer and if an N03 or N23 suspension is proper for any period.

  • Explore unstated income when appropriate. For example, the recipient needed additional income for travel costs and to maintain a home while outside the U.S.

  • If a recipient leaves the U.S. without reporting the change and continues to receive SSI payments through a U.S. address, consider fraud development.

  • If a claimant cannot provide convincing evidence to establish U.S. residency, prepare a special determination or report of contact to document the residency determination. (See GN 00303.740C.3)

FRAUD INSTRUCTIONS: See GN 04100.000 for general fraud instructions.

G. Procedure - Potential SSI Suspension Events

When developing reports of absence and U.S. residence, benefit suspension may be proper for:

  • Absence from the U.S. (N03) - Use N03 to suspend SSI when a recipient reports an absence for a full calendar month or longer or expects to be outside the U.S. for the same period. Use N03 also when you have a high level of confidence in a third party report. For example, the mother of a recipient returns an SSI check and reports that he is visiting relatives outside the U.S. and plans to return, but doesn't know when.

  • Not a U.S. Resident (N23) - Use N23 to suspend SSI when a recipient leaves the U.S. and does not intend to return, or is removed from the U.S., or the FO and/or recipient is unable to establish U.S. residence.

  • Failure to Provide Information (N20) - Use N20 to suspend SSI when a recipient fails to cooperate and/or provide the requested information/evidence without a good reason, and the FO cannot determine current eligibility and benefit amount.

    N20 INSTRUCTIONS: See SI 02301.235.

  • Whereabouts Unknown (S06) - Use S06 to suspend SSI when a recipient does not respond to a written request for information and you are unable to contact or locate the recipient. For example, the Post Office returns the request for information as undeliverable and/or efforts to locate the recipient are unsuccessful.

    S06 INSTRUCTIONS: See SI 02301.240.

H. Examples

1. Not a U.S. Resident, Outside the U.S. for 30 Consecutive Days

Ms. Eisen lives with her sister in Minnesota near the Canadian border. She reports that she is leaving the U.S. on October 2 to reside permanently in Canada. She does not intend to return to the U.S. to live. The FO inputs N23 to suspend SSI benefits effective November, the first month that Ms. Eisen is not a U.S. resident.

Ms. Eisen requests SSI again on December 4. She moved back to her sister's home on November 16 because she couldn't meet expenses in Canada. She intends to reside in the U.S. The FO obtains a statement from the sister indicating that Ms. Eisen visited her on November 2, but returned on November 16 with her possessions and began contributing to the household expenses. The FO determines that Ms. Eisen first met the U.S. residence requirement on November 16 when she returned to the U.S. and established a permanent place of residence.

Ms. Eisen was outside the U.S. for 30 consecutive days (October 3 through November 1). She cannot be SSI eligible again before December 16, the 31st consecutive day back in the U.S. She remains ineligible for November. The FO inputs C01 to reinstate benefits beginning December 16 since it is the first day that Ms. Eisen meets all SSI eligibility requirements including the U.S. residence and presence requirements.

2. Not a U.S. Resident, Outside the U.S. Less Than 30 Consecutive Days

Same as Example 1 except that Ms. Eisen visits her sister only for the day on November 1 and not on November 2. The 30-day presence requirement does not apply when she returns and establishes U.S. residence on November 16. She was not outside the U.S. for 30 consecutive days or longer (Octob