Identification Number:
RM 03803 TN 22
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:DCO OCO OEIO DTPS
Title:General Instructions
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:Records Maintenance (Earnings & Enumeration)
Link To Reference:

Part RM – Records Maintenance
Chapter 038 – Earnings Discrepancies
Subchapter 03 – General Instructions
Transmittal No. 22, 03/03/2021


Originating Component


Effective Date

Upon Receipt


This is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure.

The POMS sections are being updated to improve the content for readability and tone.

Summary of Changes

RM 03803.051 Processing Incomplete Cases Containing a Form W-2 or a Wage and Tax Statement in Lieu of a Form W-2

In A., replaced "as" with "earnings", removed "of earnings", revised POMS reference: replaced ".048" with ".044".

In A.1. and in the Exception, replaced "in which" with "where".

In A.2., removed "that".

In A.3., added commas before and after "...such as...", replaced "which" with "that".

In A.4., replaced "our" with "the", replaced "have" with "request", added "(FO)", removed "that" from last sentence.

In B.2.a., added bold for emphasis, removed obsolete form "SSA-7009 or...".

In B.2.b., added bold for emphasis.

In B.3., added "earnings discrepancy" and parenthetic for "ED".

In C., revised and removed obsolete form.

In C.3., capitalized "Social Security".

In D., revised to remove obsolete form/instructions.

In D.1. Example 1, revised acronyms to provided description and added parenthetic. In Example 2, replaced ; with ,.

In D. 2., revised sentence: added bold for emphasis, revised sentence: added comma after "determined", and replaced "Follow" with "follow" and added additional language for clarity and to end the sentence. Removed obsolete list items instructions.

In D.4., revised sentence and removed obsolete form instructions item list/note.

In E., revised to remove obsolete forms/instructions.

In E.1., replaced "his/her" with "their".

In. E.2., replaced "he/she has..." with "they", replaced "him/her" with "the individual", replaced "him/her" with "that the", replaced "...was derived" with "originated".

In E.3., removed "that" before "...the total...", added "covered" between "not wages", capitalized "social security," in sentence and note, replaced "We have..." with "Wages are...".

In E.4., removed "that" after "extent..." and comma after "necessary", replaced "...answer any..." with "respond to all questions."

In F., replaced "In any case where..." with "If", removed "obtain a machine..." revised "copy" to "photocopy" and removed "of".

In NOTE, revised for clarity.

In H., revised to annotation of SSA-6629 and added specific POMS reference.

Removed obsolete I. and J. sentences, revised list item order, K. is now I., etc.

In new J., revised sentence and removed obsolete form instruction.

In new K., revised to remove obsolete form instruction.

In new L., revised to remove obsolete form instruction.

Revised O. and P. as the new M. and N.


RM 03803.053 Selecting Incomplete Cases for Direct Correspondence With Employers

In title, removed lower cased "with".

In A., removed "which", replaced "because" with "when", placed period after "periods" and began next sentence at "Process...", replaced "per the..." with "these cases per the...", removed "Select cases...below."

In B.1., removed "has", replaced "given" with "gave", replaced "his/her" with "their".

In B.2., added applicable POMS reference.

In C., revised sentence for clarity.

Deleted D.1 and NOTE to replace with former D.2 and renumbered listing.

In new D.1. replaced "1 carbon..." with "one copy".

In D.1.b., capitalized "social security number", replaced "his/her" with "their".

In D.2., removed obsolete form "...the SSA-L509" and NOTE.

In D.4., changed to lower case "Case".

In E., replaced "rediary" with "diary".

In E.1., removed obsolete form reference "Form SSA-L68...Information, and...", added "-F4" to form SSA-7011.

In E.2., replaced "Rediary" with "Diary".

In E.3., revised sentence to remove obsolete instruction.

In F., removed obsolete form SSA-L509.

In F.1. 2. and 3., revised sentences to remove obsolete form instructions.

In H., added comma and parenthetic for clarity, replaced "has been" with "was"





RM 03803.051 Processing Incomplete Cases Containing a Form W-2 or a Wage and Tax Statement in Lieu of a Form W-2

A. Determine if the Form W-2 or “free Form W-2” is acceptable earnings evidence per RS 01403.040 - 044. Also apply the following rules:

  1. 1. 

    The Form W-2 must be for a period where the time limitations for correcting the record has not expired.


    The Form W-2 can be for a period where the time limitation has expired if one of the exceptions to the time limitation is applicable. See RS 02201.020.

  2. 2. 

    There must be no evidence a disputed coverage or wage issue is involved.

  3. 3. 

    There can be no contrary evidence in file, such as, an incorrect copy of the Form W-2 or an adjustment report that reduced the earnings below the amount shown on the Form W-2.

  4. 4. 

    If the microfilm record of the processed W-2 shows a different amount of FICA wages than the employee's copy, request the field office (FO) contact the employer to explain the difference. Attach a copy of both the microfilm record and the employee's W-2 to the development request. Also, instruct the FO to contact the employee for acceptance of the employer statement or additional secondary evidence if the employer insists the originally reported amount is correct.

    B. If the Form(s) W-2 or statement(s) included with the case are determined to be acceptable per A above, review the case material for the following conditions and take the applicable action indicated:

    1. 1. 


      Process per RM 03812.010B.


      Process as follows:

    1. a. 

      For the employer(s) for which a Form W-2 or statement is in file, annotate the MEF/SSA-1826 printout(s) “Acceptable W-2 in file.”

    2. b. 

      For the employer(s) for which a Form W-2 or statement is not in file, process per applicable instructions in RM 03803.053 or RM 03803.055.


      Establish an earnings discrepancy (ED) and forward to the appropriate FO per RM 03803.055.

    C. Apply the following rules when processing incomplete cases:

    1. 1. 


      Posted earnings plus SEI/wages being credited must not exceed the yearly maximum for each employer. Establish total FICA wages and SEI up to the maximum. If total SEI and FICA wages (shown on the Form W-2/statement) total more than the maximum, include in the closeout letter the information cited in E.2. below.

    2. 2. 


      Establish the amount shown as FICA wages (refer to RS 01403.044). Include in the closeout letter the information cited in E.3. below.

    3. 3. 


      The training period must be for 14 or more days to be covered for Social Security purposes. For years prior to 1978, add the wages to the quarter(s) in which the earnings were paid. If unknown, establish the earnings in the second quarter.

    D. Review a Detailed Earnings (DEQY) to determine if the earnings record needs to be adjusted based on the Form W-2/statement furnished. If quarterly wages are involved, apply the following instructions:

    1. 1. 

      Determine the correct amount of earnings for each discrepant period by considering the period alleged, the total wages earned, and the pattern of reporting.

      Example 1:

      W-2 shows total wages of $25,000 and FICA wages of $10,800 for 1973. The earnings record (E/R) shows the following: $6250 for 3/73; non receipt (NR) for 6/73; employee omitted (EO) for 9/73, and EO for 12/73. The additional earnings of $4550 should be added to the 6/73 quarter because the NH should have reached the maximum in the second quarter.

      Example 2:

      W-2 shows total and FICA wages of $8000 for 1977. The earnings record shows the following: $2000 for 03/77; $2000 for 06/77; $200 for 09/77, and $2000 for 12/77. The additional earnings of $1800 should be added to the 09/77 quarter because it is apparent from the pattern of reporting that the NH earned $2000 in each quarter.

    2. 2. 

      If the correct amount(s) for each period can be determined, follow the appropriate earnings adjustment procedures.

      1. a. 

      3. If the correct amount(s) for each period cannot be determined and earnings are posted for all alleged quarters, annotate the appropriate remarks on the electronic control system.

      4. If the correct amount(s) for each period cannot be determined and earnings are not posted for all alleged periods, annotate the appropriate remarks on the electronic control system.

    E. Prepare a closeout letter. Include the following information as appropriate on the electronic control system:

    1. 1. 

      Inform the individual of any action taken to correct their earnings record.

    2. 2. 

      If maximum earnings are involved and SEI and FICA wages (shown on the Form W-2/statement) total more than the maximum for the year in question, inform the NH that they reported SEI in excess of the maximum and may be entitled to a refund of SE tax. Advise the individual that, to obtain a refund, he/she must file an amended tax return with the Internal Revenue Service within 3 years, 3 months, and 15 days after the taxable year that the self-employment income originated.

    3. 3. 

      If there is a variance between total wages and FICA wages shown on the W-2 /statement and the individual alleged total wages, explain the total pay apparently included an amount that was not covered wages for Social Security purposes. Wages are established earnings based on the Social Security (FICA) contributions withheld.

      NOTE: If the earnings record agrees with the total FICA wages, no adjustment is necessary. Explain that since the amount reported is correct with respect to the Social Security (FICA) contributions withheld, as shown on the Form W-2, the pay reported appears to be correct.

    4. 4. 

      Itemize only to the extent the file indicates is necessary and respond to all questions.

    5. 5. 

      Include the reconsideration paragraph in each letter.

    F. If an original W-2 is received, photocopy the document, and return the original with the reply to the individual.

    NOTE: Photocopy the W-2 and return the original to the wage earner with Form SSA-L3423 prior to release of the closeout letter. Retain the copy with the case.

    G. Place the case material in an ED folder.

    H. Annotate the SSA-6629 that the case is an ED per RM 05015.004 .

  5. 5. 

    I. Assemble all case material, indicate filing, and complete the disposition block on the ED folder per established procedure.

  6. 6. 

    J. Release the case material and the notice for review per established guidelines.

  7. 7. 

    K. Review the case material and notice for accuracy per established procedures.

  8. 8. 

    L. Release the notice for mailing per RM 02200ff.

  9. 9. 

    M. Return case material for filing.

  10. 10. 

    N. Close the case on the electronic control system.

RM 03803.053 Selecting Incomplete Cases for Direct Correspondence with Employers

  1. A. 

    Cases cannot be processed per RM 03803.051 when evidence (W-2/statement) was not submitted for all discrepant periods. Process these cases per the instructions in this subsection or the instructions in RM 03803.055.

  2. B. 

    Select cases for direct correspondence with employers if the following conditions exist:

    1. The individual gave permission to use their name in an investigation.

    2. Discrepant period(s) must be open to correction (per RS 02201.008, the time limit has not expired or an exception to the statute of limitations applies).

    3. Discrepant period(s) involved is within 4 years of the current year.

    4. The employer(s) involved is covered under FICA.

    5. The requirements in RM 03812.003 D.4.c apply.

  3. C. 

    Process cases per RM 03803.055 where the following conditions exist, even if the conditions in B. above are present:

    1. A question of coverage exists, such as State and local employment or foreign employment, where we could not close the case even if we had a signed statement from the employer.

    2. Discrepant SEI is involved.

    3. Congressional or other sensitive issue is involved.

    4. Earnings reported by a military establishment are involved.

    5. Earnings reported by Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. are involved.

  4. D. 

    If the case qualifies for direct correspondence with the employer(s) per A. and B. above, apply the following instructions:

    1. Prepare a Form SSA-7011, Statement of Employer, one copy for each discrepant employer, in the following manner:

    a. Enter your branch's file symbols and the current date in the upper right margin.

    b. Enter the number holder's name, Social Security Number and, if known their occupation in the appropriate spaces at the top of the form. Complete block 1 to show all periods for the year(s) in question.

    2. Insert both copies of the SSA-7011, and return addressed, penalty indicia envelope into a window envelope.

    3. Release the letter for mailing.

    4. Establish the case as an earnings discrepancy as follows:

    a. Annotate the control system to show that the case is an ED.

    b. Show “3333” as the current location.

    c. Diary the case for 45 calendar days.

    5. Establish and maintain a diary file as follows:

    a. Establish a separate diary file for all “Direct Correspondence with Employer” cases.

    b. File all cases in SSN order.

    c. Receive a listing of those cases that are over 45 days old.

    d. Remove cases shown on the listing from the file.

    e. Assign the case to a technician and further handle the case per E. below.

  5. E. 

    Prepare follow up requests and diary the case as follows:

    1. Prepare and mail Form SSA-7011-F4 to each employer that did not respond to our original request per D. above.

    2. Diary the case for 45 calendar days or until a reply is received for all discrepant employers.

    3. If 45 days have elapsed with no reply, close the case on the electronic control system and send the appropriate closeout letter.

  6. F. 

    If the follow up request is returned as “undeliverable” , take the following actions:

    1. Check the address information in file for any errors.

    2. If the address information was incorrect, make the necessary changes and re-mail the letter.

    3. Annotate the electronic control system.

  7. G. 

    When a reply is received from the employer, associate it with the related folder in the diary file. If the file reflects that the FO is developing the case as a result of a followup request per E. above, advise the FO of the receipt of the requested information (See RM 03844.009 for instructions on calling the FO). If no other information is necessary to resolve the case, advise the FO to cancel the development request.

  8. H. 

    When replies are received from all employers involved and, if applicable, any FO development of undeliverables was completed, process the case per established procedure.

RM 03803 TN 22 - General Instructions - 3/03/2021