Identification Number:
RS 01505 TN 27
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP OISP
Title:Program Administration
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:Title II (RSI)
Link To Reference:
 
PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part 03 - Retirement and Survivors Insurance
Chapter 015 - Coverage of State and Local Employment
Subchapter 05 - Program Administration
Transmittal No. 27, 01/2018

Audience

State Social Security Administrators
RO:
RSI Team Leaders
Regional General Counsel Staff

Originating Component

OISP

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

Background

After reviewing current policy with the regional office specialists, we removed steps regarding the involvement of the parallel Social Security office (PSSO) in the Section 218 Agreement and Modification process.

Summary of Changes

RS 01505.040 Applying Federal and State Laws to Section 218 and State and Local Coverage Determinations

Subsection A – We removed reference to the PSSO and direct all questions and correspondence directly to the regional office (RO).

RS 01505.041 Determining Whether a Section 218 Agreement Covers a State or Local Government Entity

Subsection A – We removed reference to the PSSO and direct all questions and correspondence to the RO.
Subsection B.2. – We removed reference to the PSSO and direct all questions and correspondence to the RO. We also wrote out “e/r” – earnings record.

RS 01505.042 Procedures to Resolve General State and Local Coverage Issues

We added subsections B and C.
Subsection C reference to the RO.

RS 01505.044 Directing Requests for Coverage and Wage Information on State and Local Government Employees

Subsection A – We removed references to the PSSO and replaced it with RO.
Subsection B – We amended this subsection to remove references to the PSSO in subsections B.2., B.3., and B.4. and replaced it with RO.
We removed reference to the Associate Regional Commissioner, Programs (ARCP) in subsection B.4. There is no reason to send a copy of the decision to the ARCP because the RO handles the action.
Subsection C – We removed reference to the SSA-7010, which is now obsolete, and updated it to reflect current earnings correction procedures.

RS 01505.071 Preparing, Routing, and Executing Section 218 Agreements and Modifications
We removed this section and moved all information to SL 40001.420.


RS 01505.040 Applying Federal and State Laws to Section 218 and State and Local Coverage Determinations

A. The application of law to State and local coverage

While federal law governs the determinations regarding the state Section 218 agreements, SSA makes the actual determinations. Federal or state law is applied to certain specific issues, which guide the determinations. Where State law may have a bearing on the issue, you may request an opinion of the state legal officer (for example, State Attorney General) if one does not exist. The final determination gives due weight to the opinion.

We expect States to work with the regional office (RO) on state and local coverage and reporting issues.

B. Apply law to State and local coverage

Federal law governs determinations that involves coverage of State and local government employees. You may base determinations on decisions regarding specific issues to which we apply Federal law and other issues to which we apply State law.

It is important to know whether to apply Federal or State law to make a determination on a specific issue.  

Authorized legal officers of the State generally resolve questions involving interpretation or application of State law in accordance with applicable State and local laws, regulations, and the State court decisions.

The more significant issues that require interpretation or application of State law and the authority under which to make your determinations include: 

Federal law:

  • Does an employer-employee relationship exist?

  • Who is the employer?

  • Do we consider the earnings to be wages?

  • What are emergency services?

  • What are student services? 

State law:

  • Who is an officer of a state or political subdivision?

  • Is an entity a political subdivision?

  • What is the legal status of a new entity?

  • Is function governmental or proprietary?

  • Is the position under a retirement system?

  • Which employees are eligible for membership in a retirement system?

  • Who is an employee for retirement system participation?

  • What is the definition of a police officer or firefighter position?

RS 01505.041 Determining Whether a Section 218 Agreement Covers a State or Local Government Entity

A. Determine whether a State or local entity is covered

When you develop the coverage status of an entity, first determine whether the State’s Section 218 Agreement lists the entity or in subsequent modification. Contact the regional office (RO) by telephone to get this information.

Federal law governs final determinations regarding State Section 218 Agreements and we make the determinations. We may base our determinations on decisions regarding specific issues to which we applied either Federal or State law. When State law may have a bearing on the issue, we may request an opinion of the State legal officer if one does not already exist. Give the opinion due weight to make the final determination.

B. The entity has a Section 218 Agreement

If the entity has a Section 218 Agreement, consider the information in this section.

1. If wages reported

No further development as to the entity's status is necessary.

2. If wages not reported

  • Obtain the views of the reporting official as to the reason for the non-reporting.

  • If necessary, make a determination regarding reporting and develop per wage development policy in RS 01404.003.

If you do not find the employer in the State’s Section 218 Agreement, modifications, or summaries but the claimant’s earnings record shows reporting for the period in question, contact the RO.

If the State’s Section 218 Agreement, modification, or summary does not list the alleged employer, it does not mean that the entity has not been included under the State's agreement. For example, an entity not separately listed may be a part of a retirement system coverage group, or the employer may be an integral part of a political subdivision and included under the name of the parent subdivision.

RS 01505.042 Procedures to Resolve General State and Local Coverage Issues

A. Tolerance rule for questionable coverage

Do not develop a claims case if the primary insurance amount (PIA) is not $1 or more.

B. Questions for development and documentation

You need to document the following:

  • Is the claimant an employee?

  • What is the identity of the employing entity?

  • Is the employing entity included in the Agreements?

  • Which Agreement or modification covers the service of the position?

  • What is the legal status of the employing unit, e.g., a governmental or proprietary function?

  • Is there an optional or required exclusion that applies?

  • Is the employee's position under a State or local retirement system?

  • What is the retirement system status of the claimant (member, ineligible, or optional)?

  • What date was the position first placed under the retirement system (or systems)?

  • Did the claimant vote for or against coverage in a coverage referendum? Was he or she given additional opportunity for such coverage and so elected?

  • Was there a break in the claimant’s service and or a break in retirement system membership?

  • Was the claimant in an employment relationship on the date of controlling retroactive coverage?

C. Make a coverage determination and correct earnings

Correct reporting errors using the instructions in RS 01405.000.

If there is not sufficient space on the Earnings Modernization Item Correction (ICOR) screens to document your determination or if you determine there is no need to adjust the earnings record, prepare a special determination using the Form SSA-553 (Special Determination).

Include in your documentation:

  • modification number;

  • questionnaires;

  • statements of the facts;

  • copies of records; and

  • all other pertinent information.

Send a copy of the determination or a memorandum to the regional office.

RS 01505.044 Directing Requests for Coverage and Wage Information on State and Local Government Employees

A. Directing requests for information

We are responsible to accurately respond to requests for coverage and wage information. Follow the instructions in this section for requests made directly to the field office (FO) and regional office (RO).

1. FO

Direct requests for coverage and wage information according to arrangements made with your State Social Security Administrator.

2. RO

Establish direct contact with the State Social Security Administrator.

B. How to obtain coverage and wage information

Follow the instructions in this section when you contact other sources for coverage and wage information.

1. FOs to employers

Contact employers directly unless special procedures provide other contact routes. Follow special procedures for your state in the regional office Program Operations Manual System (POMS) instructions.