Identification Number:
Intended Audience:All RCs/ARCs/ADs/PSCs/TSCs/FOs
Originating Office:DCBFM/OFPO/OPRP
Title:Implementation of Online Bill Pay for Programmatic Overpayments
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:Title II (RSI); Title XVI (SSI)
Link To Reference:See References at the end of this EM
Retention Date: January 20, 2022

A. Purpose
    The purpose of this emergency message (EM) is to provide information regarding SSA’s electronic acceptance of online bill pay for programmatic overpayments, which will be available to the public on July 30, 2021.

    This back-end processing change will not change remittance processing instructions for SSA technicians in the Field Office (FO), Teleservice Center (TSC), or Processing Center (PC). Technicians should continue to follow current remittance processes.

    B. Background
      Many banks, credit unions, and bill-pay services offer online bill payment, which allows users to make an electronic payment from a checking account, without having to complete and mail a paper check to the payee. A user, who has an active overpayment in the Recovery and Collection of Overpayment Process (RECOOP) system, will receive a RECOOP billing notice with language that includes a newly created Remittance ID and an updated Payment Stub that provides information about using online bill pay through his or her financial institution. Prior to this implementation, payments issued via a user’s financial institution online bill pay options were converted to paper checks and mailed to the agency by the financial institution.

      NOTE: If the user submits a payment for any purpose other than to repay a programmatic overpayment, or without using the remittance ID, the payment will be sent to SSA from the bank by paper check and will be processed through normal remittance procedures.

      Online bill pay for overpayments will be available to the public on July 30, 2021. The supporting POMS will be published in subchapter GN 02220.000 and include an overview, background, and instructions on how to handle inquiries.

      C. Overpayments eligible for Online Bill Pay

      Users with Title II or Title XVI overpayments that are active in RECOOP are able to use online bill pay to send a payment to SSA electronically. The Remittance ID is a 10-character, randomized alphanumeric ID that is generated for each RECOOP notice based on the coupon scan line. Users must have a Remittance ID to use online bill pay to submit a payment electronically. They cannot use a SSN, claim number, or Beneficiary Notice Control Number (BNC#) to submit a payment electronically. The Remittance ID is displayed on the first page of the RECOOP notice and on the payment stub.

      The Remittance ID will change for every RECOOP notice sent. Therefore, if the user has more than one overpayment, each RECOOP notice received will have a different Remittance ID. The user will need to use the Remittance ID from the most recent notice for the overpayment he or she intends to repay. However, for recurring payments on the same overpayment or bill, a user does not need to change the remittance ID used in his or her online bill pay service each month. The user can re-use a previously issued remittance ID associated with a recurring bill more than once.

      D. Online Bill Pay Process

      Online bill pay allows eligible users to make a one-time or recurring Automated Clearing House (ACH) draft from a bank account using a personal computer or mobile phone. Most financial institutions allow electronic payments via online bill pay to their customers. Users can now find SSA listed as a payee, showing as “Social Security Administration,” through their financial institution’s online bill pay application.

      E. Handling Online Bill Pay Inquiries

        Online bill pay remittances should post within three business days to the MBR/ROAR or SSR. The remittance is labeled as OLBP in the ADN field of the SSR or the DTN field of the ROAR. If the remittance is not present after five business days, refer to GN 02220.500 for more information on researching the remittance.

          1. We match online bill pay transactions with the Remittance ID the individual enters into the account number field. If the individual miss-keys the Remittance ID, there are three possible scenarios as to why the remittance is not displaying on the MBR/ROAR or SSR:
              a, The Remittance ID did not match and the transaction was received electronically, the remittance will be returned and will not post to the record because there is not enough identifying information.

              b. If the remittance was submitted through online bill pay and was converted to a paper check, MATPSC will take an action to process the paper check through normal business processes. In this scenario, it will take longer for the remittance to appear on the record. For how to handle this scenario, see GN 02220.125.
              c. The Remittance ID entered matches the Remittance ID of a different individual and the remittance was applied to an incorrect record. For how to handle this scenario, see GN 02220.125.

          2. For all other inquiries or when an individual claims to have repaid using OLBP, see GN 02220.500.
        GN 02220.000 Internet Remittance Applications

        EM-21048 - Implementation of Online Bill Pay for Programmatic Overpayments - 07/20/2021