VB 02005.350 CPS/FO Action on Waiver Denial Recommendation — Personal Conference
A. Policy – General
1. Personal Conference Required
When waiver of recovery of an SVB overpayment cannot be approved based on review of the SSA-2032-BK, the debtor is notified of the waiver denial recommendation and the CPS/FO with jurisdiction (see VB 00901.015) schedules both the opportunity for the debtor to review the claims folder and a personal conference.
2. Who Conducts the Conference
The person who conducts the conference must not have been involved in the case before. In no case should the person making the waiver denial recommendation conduct the personal conference. See SI 02260B.2. for further explanation.
3. Location of Personal Conference
Personal conferences are held only in FOs/CPSs in the United States, the District of Columbia and the Northern Mariana Islands. For this purpose, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands are considered to be in the United States. SSA will not pay for travel to any of these places from outside the United States.
Personal conferences for Special Veterans Benefits waiver requesters abroad will be held by telephone or face-to-face, as the requester prefers. Time zone and language must be considered if the requester prefers a telephone personal conference.
B. Policy – Failure to Attend Personal Conference
Both residence outside the United States and a period of U.S. lawful presence sufficient to establish eligibility for SSI are factors of qualification for SVB payments. Thus, travel to and from the United States is not an administrative impediment to the waiver requester’s opportunity to have a personal conference, and is not a legitimate reason not to attend a scheduled face-to-face personal conference.
If the waiver requester fails to attend a scheduled face-to-face personal conference without a documented legitimate reason, such as incarceration or incapacitation, make the determination on the request for waiver under SSA rules without the conference. Notify the requester of the waiver determination. See VB 02005.365. Once the debtor is notified of a denial of waiver, recovery of the SVB overpayment begins if no action is taken to suspend recovery pending an appeal. See VB 02502.000.
If the requester makes himself/herself unavailable at the time of a scheduled telephone personal conference without a documented legitimate reason, such as incarceration or incapacitation, make the determination on the request for waiver under SSA rules without the conference. Notify the requester of the waiver determination. See VB 02005.365. Once the debtor is notified of a denial of waiver, recovery of the SVB overpayment begins if no action is taken to suspend recovery pending an appeal. See VB 02502.000.
C. Procedure – Scheduling Personal Conference and Folder Review
Send a letter of proposed denial of waiver to the waiver requester through DOCS, WITHOUT APPEALS LANGUAGE (the proposal to deny is not an initial determination, and does not confer appeal rights). Include the scheduled date and time for the personal conference, and explain that the conference may be either face-to-face or by telephone, at the requester’s option. Use the letter to notify the requester of the opportunity to review the folder prior to the personal conference, and propose a folder review date not later than 5 days prior to the scheduled personal conference date. See VB 02005.350D. To provide for mail delivery of the letter and for receipt of the requester’s response, allow 40 days from date of mailing to date of proposed folder review.
2. Requester in The United States
If the waiver requester is in the United States, and is NOT within the service area of the CPS/FO in which the SVB claims file is being maintained, the FO in the service area of the requester will secure the SVB claims file from the CPS/FO maintaining it. See VB 00901.015 and VB 00901.025.
3. Requester Abroad Wants Face-To-Face Conference
If the requester is abroad and prefers a face-to-face conference in a FO/CPS, the personal conference date scheduled should allow for an additional 30 days to arrange and undertake the necessary travel.
4. Request to Reschedule Conference and/or Folder Review
Reschedule the conference and/or folder review if a request to do so is received in the CPS/FO prior to the date/time initially scheduled.
5. Undeliverable Notice
If a scheduling letter is returned as undeliverable, request a current mailing address from the postmaster and any other knowledgeable sources in the folder. If no valid mailing address is available, document efforts and treat the returned letter as a failure to attend the scheduled conference. Notify the SVB debtor of waiver denial through DOCS, effectuate the denial per MSOM BUSSR 004.007 through MSOM BUSSR 004.009, and initiate recovery.
6. Requester Declines to Attend Conference
If the requester declines to attend the conference, document this on an RC or an SSA-795 and input the waiver denial per MSOM BUSSR 004.007 through MSOM BUSSR 004.009, sending a waiver denial letter to the debtor through DOCS and initiating recovery. See VB 02005.365.
D. Procedure – Folder Review
NOTE: Folder review is voluntary, and conference scheduling is unaffected whether requester does or does not appear for folder review.
1. Folder Review in the United States
Offer the waiver requester in the United States (and his/her representative, if any) the opportunity to review the file in the CPS/FO and to supply additional evidence as soon as possible. See VB 02005.350C. For this purpose, requesters in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa or the U.S. Virgin Islands are considered to be in the United States.
2. Folder Review in the Philippines
Fax or mail photocopies of material in the file to the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU), Manila. See VB 00210.001C.2. for the FBU address and fax number. Request that the FBU call the requester in for folder review. Once the folder review is completed, the FBU will notify the CPS and forward any additional evidence to the CPS for the personal conference.
3. Requester in Other Country
Contact the Office of International Programs (OIP) on (410) 965-3451 for assistance in arranging a file review when requested by persons abroad but not in the Philippines. Generally, OIP will request the assistance of the FBU to receive the file material when it is mailed or faxed to the post and to conduct the requested review with the waiver requester. Once the review is completed, the FBU will notify the CPS having jurisdiction and forward any additional evidence to the site for the personal conference and waiver determination.
E. Procedure – Requester Wants a Representative to Appear in His/Her Place at Conference
A representative may attend the conference with the requester, but may not attend instead of the requester.
F. Procedure – Agreement to Repay Prior to Conference
If the requester agrees to repay prior to the date of the scheduled conference, process the waiver denial per MSOM BUSSR 004.007 through MSOM BUSSR 004.009 and send a waiver denial notice through DOCS. See VB 02005.200 and VB 02005.225 for repayment and compromise settlement procedures.