PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEMPart RS – Retirement and Survivors InsuranceChapter 006 – Determination of PIAs and Benefit AmountsSubchapter 05 – Initial Computation of the PIA - Recomputations and RecalculationsTransmittal No. 61, 02/01/2019
This is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure.
Summary of Changes
RS 00605.366 Pension Development
A.1. Updated instruction to refer to Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) Minipath screens in Modernized Claims System (MCS) rather than list screens individually. All necessary screens are dynamically presented in path, no selection is necessary. This update is consistent with other instructions for Minipath screens.
C.1, 3. Updated instruction to spell out screen acronyms since we removed specific screen mention in A.1.
For a claimant who is first eligible for a non-covered pension after 1985, and becomes entitled to (or is already entitled to) the pension at the time of filing an application for retirement or disability benefits, do the following:
Document information about the foreign or domestic pension in the applicable Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) Minipath screens in the Modernized Claims System (MCS) application path. If MCS is not available, obtain Form SSA-150 (Modified Benefit Formula Questionnaire), or Form SSA-308 (Modified Benefit Formula Questionnaire - Foreign Pension). See exhibits of the SSA-150 and SSA-308 in sections RS 00605.390 and RS
If an exception to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) applies, see RS 00605.362, RS 00605.383, and RS 00605.386 for development.
If an exception does not apply, determine the gross amount of the pension in the first month of concurrent entitlement to both the pension and the Social Security benefit. If the claimant is entitled to a prorated pension in the first month of concurrent entitlement because of a mid-month entitlement to the pension, use the full monthly gross pension amount.
The amount of the pension is the gross amount before any deductions for the following:
Credit splitting (see RS 00605.372D.2.); or
Assignment of pension (see RS 00605.372D.2.).
If the pension is paid on other than a monthly basis or in a lump sum, see RS 00605.364C.2. and RS 00605.364C.5. for development.
Verify the pension amount, if required, see RS 00605.366C.2. in this section.
Verify and obtain evidence for the initial month of entitlement to the pension if later than the month of entitlement to Social Security benefits and for the pension amount, if required, as described in RS 00605.366C and RS 00605.366D in this section.
For foreign pension development, see RS 00605.372 and GN 00307.290.
Electronically store evidence through the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed) system or in eView for disability claims, as appropriate. For information about storing documents through NDRed or eView, see GN 00301.322.
If we require evidence and it is not available or the claimant will not provide it, adjudicate the claim and use the information in file to impose full WEP.
If the worker is entitled to a spouse, widow, or widower’s benefit on another social security number, you must consider if the Government Pension Offset (GPO) applies to that benefit. For more information about GPO, see GN
If the claimant is eligible for, but not yet entitled to a non-covered pension, the Field Office (FO) must complete the Additional Benefits (ADDB) screen about future entitlement to the pension. The FO must then establish a diary so that the Program Service Center (PSC) can follow-up with the claimant when the diary matures.
Document the claim and set the diary as follows:
Enter the month and year of the future entitlement date in the FUTURE ENTITLEMENT DATE field of the ADDB screen; or
If the future pension date is unknown, enter a date no more than one year into the future on the ADDB screen; and
Before adjudication, enter a diary Code “025” in the Decision Input (DECI) screen; and
If the future entitlement date is more than the current operating month plus one month (COM+1), enter a diary date one month prior to the month and year the pension will begin in the Diary (DIAR) screen and for the diary reason enter, “WEP development necessary;” or
If the future pension date is more than one year in the future, or is unknown, enter the diary date on the DIAR screen of one year in the future; and for the diary reason, enter “WEP development necessary.”
Unless the FO completes these screens, the system will not alert the PSC to follow-up with the claimant for pension entitlement in the future and may lead to an incorrect payment.
If the report is the first indication that the beneficiary is entitled to a pension, obtain Form SSA-150, or SSA-308. For information about reports from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), see RS 00605.374.
Develop and obtain evidence following instructions in RS 00605.366A.1.b. through RS 00605.366A.1.g. in this section.
After developing and obtaining any necessary evidence, process a Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) recomputation in the Change in PIA (CIP) web-based application and document information about the pension on the applicable WEP screens, see MS INTRANETCIP 001.001.
Electronically store evidence through NDRed system or in eView for disability claims, as appropriate. For information about storing documents through NDRed or eView, see GN 00301.322.
When the diary for the future entitlement date matures, contact the beneficiary via direct contact (DIRCON) to request status on entitlement to a non-covered pension. For information on DIRCON, see GN 01070.305.
If the beneficiary responds and is now entitled to a pension, develop and obtain evidence following instructions as described in RS
00605.366A.1.b. through RS 00605.366A.1.g. in this section.
If the beneficiary has not yet applied for a non-covered pension, complete the following steps:
If you know the future entitlement date and it is less than one year in the future, set a diary in the Processing Center Action Control System (PCACS) for one month prior to the month and year the pension will begin, see MS PCACS 009.001; or
If the future entitlement date is more than one year in the future or is unknown, set the diary for one year.
If the beneficiary fails to respond to the request for status, complete the following steps as required:
Send the beneficiary an advance adverse notice informing him or her that we plan to impose the full WEP reduction to his or her benefits for failure to cooperate and diary for 15 days (for more information about notices required before and after taking a Title II adverse action, see GN 03001.015); then
If the beneficiary does not respond to the advance adverse notice, impose the full WEP reduction effective with the current operating month via CIP. For information about CIP, see MS INTRANETCIP
001.001. Enter fictitious data about the pension on the applicable WEP screens if we do not have any information about the pension on file; and
Add a message on the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) via the Special Message Data (SMS1) screen in the Miscellaneous Online Edited Transaction System (MONET) and enter the remark, “Full WEP imposed, no response for status of pension entitlement.” For information about the SMS1 screen, see MS T2PE 007.008.
It is not necessary to verify a pension, when the alleged amount of the pension is large enough to preclude the WEP guarantee (the WEP guarantee does not apply) and the pension is based only on non-covered months. Document the file by showing the pension amount on the Windfall Elimination Provision Input (WEPI) screen in MCS or CIP for a post-entitlement report. No further development of the pension amount is necessary. For information about the WEP guarantee, see RS
When the alleged pension amount is low enough for the WEP guarantee to apply, the claimant must provide verification of the pension amount and the periods of employment. For types of evidence, see RS 00605.366D in this section.
The verification of the pension amount and periods of employment must include the following:
the gross amount of the pension in the first month the claimant is concurrently entitled to the pension and the Social Security benefit;
the total period of employment (covered and non-covered) that the pension is based on, if the pension is based on both covered and non-covered employment; and
the period of non-covered employment after 1956 included in the pension.
If the claimant alleges eligibility before 1986, develop and verify for this exemption. For information about determining eligibility before 1986, see RS 00605.364.
If the claimant has military service and alleges that waiving the military pension would give the claimant eligibility prior to 1986, annotate the SSA-150 or the Windfall Elimination Provision Exclusion (WEPX) screen and develop for evidence. For more information about military service and waiver of a military pension, see RS 00605.372A.2.
The claimant is responsible for securing evidence. Acceptable evidence includes award letters, pension payment statements showing gross pension amount, or other correspondence from the pension-paying agency or the employer.
The following is a list of other types of evidence the claimant may provide or we can use to verify information:
Use pay-slips with a service computation date to determine dates of employment for the WEP guarantee computation.
Do not use pay-slips to derive an eligibility date alleged to be prior to 1986.
The FO or PSC can verify pension information by:
telephone, and annotate as appropriate on the Shared Processes Evidence (EVID) screens;
document the file with a Report of Contact (RPOC); or
use the Form SSA-58 (Modified Benefit Formula Questionnaire - Employer) to request necessary information from the employer or pension-paying agency.
For an exhibit of Form SSA-58, see RS 00605.391.
Use a DEQY to prove that pension eligibility was before 1986, if the Report Type field code for the pension is “C” or the payment source is a retirement fund (“Employers' Retirement System, City of Milwaukee”). For information about DEQY Report Type, see SM 00344.016.
To establish eligibility to a civil service pension before 1986, a CSA number less than 2838554 is usually acceptable as evidence.
However, if the claimant previously received a federal civil service disability pension, the CSA number can be lower. The OPM does not issue another CSA number when the claimant files again. Therefore, if a claimant states he or she had previously received a federal disability pension, do not rely solely on the CSA number to verify eligibility before 1986.
Use civil service benefit and entitlement information on the Civil Service Data (CS) line of the Informational/Certified Earnings Records (ICER) or on the DCSD screen of the MCS Earnings Computation screens when adjudicating a claim. For information on the CS Data line in ICER and the DCSD screen of MCS, see SM 00349.090 and MS MCSEC 001.011, respectively.
Develop for any material discrepancy between the civil service benefit and entitlement information in ICER or the DCSD screen and the claimant's allegations; and
Do not use the eligibility date or other data on the CS Data line of ICER or the DCSD screen for early-out offers or for eligibility before 1986.
If the claimant alleges that an early out or a discontinued service offer was made before 1986, he or she must provide a statement from the appropriate personnel office establishing that an offer was made. The statement must show the worker’s name and clearly state that as a result of the offer, the worker could have received a pension payment effective December 1985, or earlier.
If the Federal annuitant retired a year or more ago, send development requests to:
If the Federal annuitant retired less than one year ago, contact the employing agency.
RS 00605.360 WEP Applicability
RS 00605.362 Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) Exceptions
RS 00605.364 Determining Pension Applicability, Eligibility Date, and Monthly Amount
GN 03001.015 Notices Required Before and After Taking a Title II Adverse Action
SM 00349.001 ICER – Background/Introduction
SM 03020.200 Miscellaneous Suspensions and Reinstatements (MISC)