TN 43 (02-21)

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

CITATIONS:

Social Security Act, § 1611(f)(1)

20 CFR §416.215

A. Introduction

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

  • GN 00303.740, Establishing U.S. Residency ;

  • SI 00501.400, Residence and Citizenship Requirement; and

  • SI 00501.410, Ineligibility Due to Absence from the United States/Developing Presence

Use payment status codes N03 to suspend SSI payments for absence from the U.S. and N23 to suspend SSI payments 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 as explained in SI 00502.001.

For a list of payment status codes, see SM 01305.001.

B. Policy for U.S. residence and presence requirements

An eligible SSI recipient must be:

  • physically present in the U.S. as defined in SI 00501.410C; and

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

EXCEPTIONS: Students and blind or disabled children of military parents stationed outside the United States may receive SSI payments if they meet certain criteria. For more information about SSI for students temporarily abroad, see SI 00501.411. For more information about SSI for blind or disabled children overseas with military parents, see SI 00501.415.

C. Policy for reporting and handling U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reports

1. Recipient responsibilities

A legally competent SSI recipient (or the representative payee) must report absence when he or she leaves 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, such as being removed from the U.S.

2. Field office responsibilities

Claims Specialists (CS) must take the following actions during face-to-face and telephone contacts.

  • Remind recipients (or representative payees)of their reporting responsibilities.

  • Emphasize reporting changes timely.

  • Explain how changes may affect SSI eligibility and payment amounts.

For more information on reporting instructions, see SI 02301.005.

3. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Reports

USCIS extracts information from USCIS Forms I-131 (Application for Travel Document) and I-157 (Notice of Removal) and sends it to SSA. The system compares the information with account numbers on the supplemental security record (SSR) and, if there are any matches, sends an alert to the FO for development.

  • Form I-131 - Noncitizens file this form to apply for a reentry permit when they want to leave the U.S. and plan to return. USCIS cannot verify information that individuals provide on the form. I-131 reports are third-party reports for SSA.

  • Form I-157 - USCIS uses this form to notify SSA and verify the date that the USCIS removed an individual from the U.S. SSA treats these reports as third-party reports.

D. Policy for using N03 (absence from the U.S.)

1. Reason for N03 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 (see EXCEPTIONS in section SI 02301.225B).

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 a recipient 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. When to use the N03 suspension

Use N03 to suspend SSI payments 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. but does not know when he plans to return.

5. Effective Date of Suspension

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

6. Effective Dates of Reinstatement

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

For information on prorating SSI payments, see SI 02005.007 and SM 01305.001.

E. Policy for using N23 (not a U.S. resident)

1. Reason for N23 Suspension

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

  • 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. When to use the N23 suspension code

Use N23 to suspend SSI payments 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 (or representative payee) is unable to establish U.S. residence.

5. Effective Date of Suspension

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

6. Effective Dates of Reinstatement

The effective date of reinstatement depends on the length of time the recipient was outside the U.S. If otherwise eligible, and the recipient 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 a recipient 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 recipient reestablishes residence.

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

See also:

GN 00303.740 (Establishing U.S. Residency)

SI 02005.007 (Proration in Initial Claims)

SM 01305.001 (Payment Status Code)

F. Procedure for developing reports of absence

When you receive a report that a recipient is/was 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 (See SI 02301.010, How to Act on Reports).

  • If you receive a removal date via USCIS 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 (Failure to Provide Information (N20)) and SI 02301.240 (Whereabouts Unknown (S06)) 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 (see GN 04100.000).

  • 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).

G. Procedure for when to use other potential SSI suspension codes

When developing reports of absence and U.S. residence, payment suspension may also be appropriate in the following situations:

  • Failure to Provide Information (N20) - Use N20 to suspend SSI payments when a recipient fails to provide the requested information/evidence without a good reason, and the FO cannot determine current eligibility and benefit amount. For more information on the N20 code, see SI 02301.235.

  • Whereabouts Unknown (S06) - Use S06 to suspend SSI payments 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. For more information on the S06 code, 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. 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 payments 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 November 16 because she could not meet living 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 November 2, but returned to Minnesota 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 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 payments 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 (October 3 through October 31 and November 2 through November 15) or for a full month. She is eligible for benefits for November and continuing. The FO inputs C01 to remove the N23 determination on the record and reinstate benefits effective November. For more examples on absence, see SI 00501.410.

 


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SI 02301.225 - Absence From the United States (N03), Not a United States Resident (N23) - 02/22/2021
Batch run: 02/22/2021
Rev:02/22/2021