Identification Number:
EM-14037 REV
Intended Audience:All RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs/TSCs/PSCs/OCO/
OCO-CSTs/ODARHQ
Originating Office:DCBFM OFPO
Title:Processing Non-Programmatic Fees Received in the Field Office (FO) using the Social Security Electronic Remittance System (SERS) –Instructions Will Follow Shortly
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:See References at the end of this EM.
 
New Retention Date: June 13, 2017

Retention Date: October 3, 2016
Retention Date: April 02, 2016
Retention Date: October 2, 2015

REVISION: 04/02/2015: We revised EM-14037 to include the following changes:

Section C: Added that SERS can process uncertified earnings requests
Section D: Changed “earnings record” to “certified earnings record”
Section F: Added instructions to use stamp to mark checks and clarified reasons for stamping the checks


A. Purpose
The purpose of this emergency message (EM) is to inform field offices (FOs) about the ongoing implementation of Social Security Electronic Remittance System (SERS). The SERS team will contact each FO in advance of their implementation date with information on what to expect as well as instructions for installing the SERS hardware and software. Once the FO has the SERS hardware and software installed, it must follow the instructions in this EM.


B. Background on using SERS to collect standard fees for non-programmatic services
SERS is an automated system used to collect standard fees for non-programmatic services. This system allows FO personnel to electronically process payments received for non-programmatic fees. The SERS implementation will occur in phases.

NOTE: The following instructions only apply to FOs that have received and installed the SERS related hardware (check scanners and credit card reader), SERS software, and are past their SERS implementation date. FOs that do not have the SERS hardware or software installed must continue to process fees using the procedures in GN 02403.012.


C. Types of fees SERS processes
For this phase of the release, FOs with the SERS installed must use SERS to process the following types of non-programmatic fee requests:
      · copying an electronic folder to disc,
      · copying a paper folder,
      · copies of uncertified earnings records (Detail Earnings Query (DEQY)),
      · third party SSN verification (no charge if issued directly to the number holder, a first party),
      · regional office (RO) certification of records, or
      · record extracts (entitlement, benefit, or status information).

    NOTE: We require payment before providing the requested record or service. Do not use FeeBayNet to process the above-mentioned standard administrative fees. Use FeeBayNet for non-programmatic requests for information when there is no standard fee established.
D. Types of fees SERS does not process
Do not use SERS to process the non-programmatic requests listed below. The FO must still use existing procedures to process the following requests using instructions in
GN 02403.012:
      · copies of certified earnings records (see EM-13055 REV)
        NOTE: Forward all requests for copies of certified earnings records and corresponding remittances to the Office of Earnings and International Operations (OEIO) for processing. For more information on requests for copies of certified earnings records, see GN 02403.012E.

        · photocopies made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and
        · providing non-program-related benefit information or verifications. For more information on Privacy Act and FOIA fees, see GN 03311.005.
      E. Forms of payment we accept with SERS
      We accept the following forms of payment:

          · Checks or money orders payable to SSA.
          · Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and Diners club (brand) only if the remitter makes the payment in FO.
            NOTE: We accept the Diners Club Card only if it processes as a MasterCard or Discover transaction. Acceptable Diners Club Cards should have the MasterCard or Discover Card logo present on the card and meet the numerical requirements. We do not accept cash to pay fees.

            If the requestor wants to split the transaction between two payment types (e.g., half check and half credit card), tell them that SERS cannot split transactions.

            For checks drawn on foreign banks (either in foreign amount or in United States dollars), send to the Office of Finance (OF) using the following address:
            Office of Finance
            P.O. Box 17042
            Baltimore, Maryland 21235

        F. Procedure for fees paid by check or money order

          1. Interviewer instructions for payment made in the FO

            Follow the instructions below to process the non-programmatic standard fee remittance if the remitter is paying by check or money order in the FO.

              a. Begin transaction in SERS,
              b. Examine the check or money order to ensure it is:
                · legible,
                · contains the exact amount of fee, and
                · is signed and dated.
                If it is not, give the check back to the remitter and request an updated check.

                c. Process the check using the scanner.
                d. Use a “non-negotiable” or “VOID” stamp to mark the checks and money orders that the interviewer successfully scanned in SERS.
                NOTE: If any FO was making use of the franking option in the check scanner, they should discontinue using the franking option.
                  e. Return the check to the customer.
                  f. Complete the transaction in SERS.
                  g. Provide a receipt using SERS only if the remitter requests one.
              2. Interviewer instructions for payment made by mail

                Follow the instructions below to process the non-programmatic standard fee remittance if the remitter mailed in the check or money order.

                  a. Begin transaction in SERS.
                  b. Examine the check or money order to ensure it is:

                    · legible,
                    · contains the exact amount of fee, and
                    · is signed and dated.
                      If it is not, mail the check or money order back to the remitter and request an updated check.
                    c. Process the check using the scanner.
                    d. Complete the transaction in SERS.
                    e. Use a “non-negotiable” or “VOID” stamp to mark the checks and money orders that the interviewer successfully scanned in SERS.

                  NOTE: If any FO was making use of the franking option in the check scanner, they should discontinue using the same. The FO must stamp checks and money orders in order to keep track of the processed checks and money orders until the FO shreds the check or money order.
                    f. Shred the check immediately.
                    g. Include the SERS receipt when mailing the records request to the remitter.
              G. Procedure for fees paid by credit card

                We accept payments by credit card only if the remitter makes the payment in the FO.

                NOTE: Do not accept credit card payments mailed in on Form SSA-1414 (Credit Card Payment Form). The FO cannot manually enter the credit card number on the credit card reader pin pad.

                1. Interviewer instructions

                Follow the instructions below to process the non-programmatic administrative fee remittance if the remitter is paying by credit card and is in the FO.

                        a. Begin transaction in SERS.
                        b. Allow the remitter to swipe credit card using the credit card reader.
                        c. Complete the transaction in SERS.
                        d. Print two copies of the receipt.
                        e. Ensure remitter signs one copy (which SSA retains), and give the unsigned receipt to the remitter.
                        f. Give signed receipt to the remittance supervisor.

                  NOTE: The FO employee must not swipe or handle the credit card. The remitter is the only one who can swipe or handle the credit card. The interviewer must validate all card present transactions by ensuring the signature on the back of the card matches the signature on the transaction receipt. In the absence of a signature, the interviewer must validate the cardholder by viewing proper identification and should require the cardholder to sign the back of the card in their presence.

                2. Remittance supervisor instructions

                  The remittance supervisor receives credit card receipts from the interviewer and must store the receipts in a secure location in the FO. Retain the credit card receipts in the FO for 18 months.
              H. SERS processing scenarios
              Below are examples of scenarios that the FO may encounter when processing non-programmatic remittances using SERS.

                1. Remitter makes payment by check or money order in the FO
                IF…THEN…
                The check or money order scans successfully.Process the request as needed.
                The check scanner is inoperable due to system issues.a. Request another form of payment, and
                b. Send an email to ^SERS requesting assistance in identifying the issue or ordering a replacement check scanner.
                a. Attempts to cancel the transaction, and
                b. The FO has already done the work.
                Do NOT refund the payment.
                a. Attempts to cancel the transaction, and
                b. The FO has not done the work.
                a. Send OF a request for fee refund using instructions in section I. Do NOT issue a refund in the FO.
                b. OF will cancel the transaction in SERS.
                a. Attempts to change the order requested, and
                b. The FO has already done the work.
                Do NOT change or issue refund of the payment. We can however, take a new order for the request.
                a. Attempts to change the order requested after the payment is processed, and
                b. The FO has not done the work.
                a. Take the new order and route the request for refund using instructions in section I. Do NOT issue a refund in the FO.
                b. OF will cancel the transaction in SERS.
                2. Remitter mails in the check or money order to the FO
                IF…THEN…
                The check does not scan or is illegible Mail the payment back to the remitter with a request to send in a replacement check.
                Sends the wrong amount (the payment is greater or less than the amount due)Mail the payment back to the remitter with a request to send in a replacement check for the correct amount.
                There is not enough information included to process the requestMail the payment back to the remitter with a request to supply the information needed to process their request.
                a. Attempts to cancel the payment, and
                b. The FO has already done the work.
                Do NOT refund the payment or request OF to refund the payment.
                a. Attempts to cancel the payment, and
                b. The FO has not done the work.
                a. Send OF a request for fee refund using instructions in section I. Do NOT issue a refund in the FO.
                b. OF will cancel the transaction in SERS.
                a. Attempts to change the order requested, and
                b. The FO has already done the work.
                Do NOT change or issue a refund of the payment. We can however, take a new order for the request.
                a. Attempts to change the order requested after the payment is processed, and
                b. The FO has not done the work.
                a. Take the new order and route the request for refund using instructions in section I. Do NOT issue a refund in the FO.
                b. OF will cancel the transaction in SERS.
                3. Remitter pays by credit card in the FO

                We accept payments by credit card only if the remitter makes the payment in the FO.

                IF…THEN…
                The SERS system approves the payment.Process the request as needed.
                The SERS system declines the payment.Request another form of payment.
                The credit card machine does not accept the swipe. Request another form of payment.
                The card reader is inoperable due to system issues.a. Request another form of payment, and
                b. Send an email to ^SERS for assistance in identifying the issue or ordering a replacement card reader.
                a. Attempts to cancel the payment, and
                b. The FO has already done the work.
                Do NOT refund the payment.
                a. Attempts to cancel the payment, and
                b. The FO has not done the work.
                a. Send OF a request for fee refund using instructions in section I. Do NOT issue a refund in the FO.
                b. OF will cancel the transaction in SERS.
                a. Attempts to change the order requested, and
                b. The FO has already done the work.
                Do NOT change or issue a refund of the payment. We can however, take a new order for the request.
                a. Attempts to change the order requested after the payment is processed, and
                b. The FO has not done the work.
                a. Take the new order and route the request for refund using instructions in section I. Do NOT issue a refund in the FO.
                b. OF will cancel the transaction in SERS.
              I. Proce