Identification Number:
EM-19003
Intended Audience:All RCs/ ARCs/ ADs/ FOs/ TSCs/PSCs/ OQR/OCO-CSTs
Originating Office:DCBFM OFPO
Title:Change to the Program Debt Installment Agreement Process for Referral of Delinquent Debts to the Treasury Offset Program (TOP)
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:Title II (RSI); Title XVI (SSI)
Link To Reference:See References at the end of this EM
 
Retention Date: June 17, 2019

A. Purpose

This emergency message (EM) provides a change to the installment agreement process for delinquent Title II and Title XVI debts after referral to the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) for collection via the Treasury Offset Program (TOP).

B. Background

When SSA determines an overpayment of Title II or Title XVI benefits to an individual, the agency gives the individual the opportunity to enter into an installment agreement plan if:

    • The overpaid individual is not financially able to remit the full amount of the debt,
    • The overpaid individual is not willing to remit the full amount of the debt, or
    • Benefit withholding is not available due to the status on the master file record.
If the overpaid individual fails to make one or more timely installment payments and allows the debt to become delinquent, the External Collection Operation (ECO) may select the debt for referral to Treasury for collection via TOP.

For additional information about ECO, see SM 00610.040 or TOP see GN 02201.029.

Prior to November 5, 2018, ECO removed the debt from TOP if the overpaid individual

    • made an untimely post-referral installment payment;
    • referred that same debt back to Treasury; and
    • became delinquent again.
TOP remained active until the overpaid individual entered into a new repayment plan with SSA. This was a repetitive and continuous process throughout the life cycle of the debt.

C. Policy change

Effective November 5, 2018, we will not remove delinquent Title II or Title XVI debts from TOP due to receipt of an untimely, post-referral installment payment from the debtor.

If ECO selects a debt for collection via TOP due to the debtor’s failure to make timely installment payments, the debt will remain with Treasury until it is satisfied.

The debtor may subsequently offer to restart or resume paying regular installment payments. SSA will accept and apply those payments to the debt. However, the installment payment(s) will not inactivate TOP. As a result, SSA will only enter into one repayment plan agreement with the debtor for a single debt.

Direct all program-related and technical questions to your Regional Office (RO) support staff or Program Service Center (PSC) Operations Analysis (OA) staff. RO support staff or PSC OA staff may refer questions, concerns or problems to their Central Office Contacts.

References

GN 02201.030 Collection of Title II Overpayments by Tax Refund Offset (TRO)
SI 02220.012 Collection of Title XVI Overpayments by Tax Refund Offset (TRO)
GN 02201.029 The Treasury Offset Program
SM 00610.040 External Collection Operation (ECO)


EM-19003 - Change to the Program Debt Installment Agreement Process for Referral of Delinquent Debts to the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) - 1/29/2019