TN 1 (11-01)

VB 00205.160 Cessation of Residence Outside the United States

A. Policy--General

A qualified individual is considered to have lost or abandoned his/her residence outside the United States if the individual:

  • enters the United States and stays for more than 1 full calendar month; or

  • notifies SSA that he/she no longer considers himself/herself to be residing outside the United States; or

  • becomes eligible (as defined by title XVI) for SSI benefits, including section 1619(b) participants (persons who need Medicaid and would be eligible for a cash benefit but for their earnings)) and certain institutionalized individuals with EO1 payment status.

An individual is not entitled to an SVB payment for any month after the month in which he loses or abandons his/her foreign resident status.

Once an individual has lost or abandoned his/her foreign residence, payments cannot be resumed until foreign residence has been reestablished, as explained in VB 00205.155. If SVB entitlement has terminated, the individual has to file another application and reestablish SVB entitlement.

B. Policy—Visits to the United States

A beneficiary who comes to the United States for a visit is considered, absent information to the contrary, to retain his/her foreign resident status unless the visit lasts for more than 1 full calendar month. If the visit lasts for more than 1 full calendar month, the beneficiary will not be considered a foreign resident beginning with the calendar month following that first calendar month throughout which he/she was in the United States. No SVB benefits are payable for any month after that first full calendar month unless good cause is established, as explained in VB 00205.160C.

For example, an SVB beneficiary who is residing in the Philippines decides to visit his son in California. He arrives in the United States on September 14, 2001 and stays until his return to the Philippines on November 5, 2001. Since he was in the United States for the entire month of October, his benefits are suspended effective with the following month. Although he reestablishes foreign residence on November 5, benefits cannot be resumed until December when he is again a foreign resident on the first day of the month.

C. Policy – Good Cause for Extension of 1-Full-Calendar-Month Period

A beneficiary who has been in the United States for more than 1 full calendar month can continue to be considered a foreign resident and be paid SVB for any month if he/she:

  • made a good faith effort to return to his/her home abroad before the full calendar month elapsed but was prevented from doing so by circumstances beyond his/her control (e.g., sickness, a death in the family, a transportation strike, etc.); or

  • must remain in the United States longer to exercise the option to be personally present at a proceeding (e.g., administrative law judge hearing) for the appeal of an SSA decision on a claim filed under any SSA-administered program.

    NOTE: This exception does not extend throughout the entire appeals process, but just to the time when the proceeding at the current level takes place and the time when the beneficiary presents evidence. It does not include the time after the hearing itself is over and the presiding officer is evaluating the case and preparing his/her decision.

There is no limit on the time for which payment can continue after good cause has been established. However, once the circumstances/event which was the basis for the good cause finding ceases to exist, the beneficiary must return to his home abroad within 1 full calendar month to avoid suspension of his/her benefits. If the beneficiary stays in the United States for more than 1 full calendar month after the cessation of the good-cause extension, SSA assumes that the beneficiary has lost or abandoned his/her foreign resident status, as explained in VB 00205.160A. For example, good cause was established because of a strike against the airline on which the beneficiary was scheduled to return to his home in the Philippines. The strike ended on May 3 and normal operations were resumed May 5. The beneficiary would have to return to his home abroad no later than June 30 in order to avoid suspension of his SVB payments effective July.

Refer questions about the establishment of good cause to the Office of International Programs (OIP). To refer the case, send a fax to OIP, Attn: SVB, at (410) 966-7025. Include the SSN and name of the beneficiary, a summary of the situation and any material/information that you believe would be helpful in evaluating the situation. Include the name, telephone number and fax number of the FO/CPS person making the submittal. Send a copy of this fax to your regional office.

D. Policy – Beneficiary Gives Up Foreign Residence

If a beneficiary notifies SSA that he/she no longer considers himself/herself to be residing outside the United States, the beneficiary is considered to have abandoned his/her foreign residence as of the date of notification. It is immaterial whether the beneficiary is inside or outside the United State