PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEMPart GN – GeneralChapter 026 – PosteligibilitySubchapter 08 – Government Pension OffsetTransmittal No. 34, 08/11/2020
This is a Quick Action Transmittal. The revision does not change or introduce new policy or procedure.
Summary of Changes
GN 02608.300 Post-entitlement Processing
In Subsection B, we updated language to describe the alert generated by the program for RETAP 43 to revert back to the original description. The process and procedure did not change based on the erroneous wording and the alert continues to generate in the month of the expected pension entitlement date on the MBR.
An FO or a PC receives reports of new entitlement to a pension or an increase to a pension already on a spouse’s record. The Regular Transcript Attainment and Selection Pass (RETAP) generates alerts in the PC to follow up for future pension entitlement or for pension increases.
If the report is for a new entitlement to a pension, obtain the SSA-3885 (Government Pension Questionnaire).
For pensions based on a combination of government and private employment, request verification of the pension amount based on only the government employment from the employer or pension-paying agency (for more information, see GN 02608.400).
For processing a report of pension entitlement or pension increase from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), see GN 02608.301.
NOTE: If the spouse is entitled to retirement (RIB) or disability (DIB) benefits on his or her own Social Security number, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) may be applicable to the computation of the primary insurance amount (PIA) on his or her RIB or DIB record. For more information about WEP, see RS 00605.360.
If an exemption to the GPO applies:
Develop and obtain evidence according to instructions in GN 02608.101 through GN 02608.107; and
Enter information about the exemption that applies in the appropriate GPO data input screens.
A periodic pension can cause either partial or total GPO; for information about the types of GPO, see GN 02608.100B.
If total GPO applies:
Verify and obtain evidence for the beginning month of the periodic pension.
Process a Post Entitlement Online System (POS) action by selecting option 27=GOVT PENSION OFFSET on the POS Selection List (PESL) screen and complete the GPO screens. For information on completion of the GPO screens, see MS COMMON 003.001.
If partial GPO applies:
The claimant must provide evidence from the employer or pension-paying agency (e.g., an award letter) that shows the gross pension amount, including pension amount changes as necessary, and the effective date of the pension. For additional types of evidence, see GN 02608.200B.
Process a POS action by selecting option 27=GOVT PENSION OFFSET on the PESL screen and complete the GPO screen.
Enter the future month and year of the expected increase in the NEXT EXPECTED PENSION INCREASE DATE field on the Government Pension Periodic Payments (GPP1) screen if the claimant expects an increase in the current pension amount or for any known State or local pension increases.
Do not enter a Stop Date for the current pension amount for an expected pension increase in the future. This may stop the GPO.
The system calculates the Social Security benefit amount based on the non-covered periodic pension information in the GPO screens.
Process a POS action by completing the following steps:
Select option 27=GOVT PENSION OFFSET in POS on the PESL screen and complete the GPO screens. For information on completion of the GPO screens, see MS COMMON 003.001.
Enter the future month and year of the expected increase in the NEXT EXPECTED PENSION INCREASE DATE field on the GPP1 screen if the claimant expects an increase in the current pension amount or for any known State or local pension increases.
Secure evidence of the pension information if:
The report is from a source other than the employer or pension-paying agency; and
A change in the pension will result in an increase to the benefit amount payable (e.g., a total offset changes to partial offset); and either
The pension information of record was not previously verified; or
The pension information of record is more than two years old.
Obtain acceptable evidence of pension information as stated in GN 02608.200B; however:
Accept a report from the employer or pension paying agency at face value; or
Accept the spouse's statement as evidence when we previously verified the pension amount on record, even if the verification is currently more than two years old, if it will not result in an increase to the spouse’s benefit amount payable.
If there is reason to believe that an unreported increase in the pension occurred (e.g., we know that the particular pension plan pays increases annually), verify that the increase occurred and the amount of the increase before paying benefits.
Electronically store the SSA-3885 and evidence required through the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRed) system. For information about storing documents through NDRed, see GN 00301.322.
When a RETAP alert generates for an expected pension increase, contact the beneficiary via direct contact (DIRCON) to get the effective date and the new periodic pension amount. For information on DIRCON, see GN 01070.305.
Contact the pension-paying agency if unable to contact the beneficiary.
Provide an advance notice to the beneficiary before reducing benefits if the pension-paying agency furnishes the information. For information about advance notices, see GN 03001.015.
Complete the GPP1 screen with the new pension amount and enter the month and year of any expected pension increase in the NEXT EXPECTED PENSION INCREASE DATE field. For information on completion of the GPO screens, see MS COMMON 003.001.
Do not enter a Stop Date for the current pension amount if GPO continues to apply.
If the beneficiary fails to respond to the request for status of the pension increase, follow the steps for suspension of benefits in GN 02608.300B.3. in this section.
The FUT PENSION ENT field on the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) shows the expected future entitlement date to a pension when a spouse beneficiary has not yet applied for the non-covered pension.
In the month of the expected pension entitlement date on the MBR, the RETAP generates an alert in the PC to follow up with the claimant about pension entitlement.
Take the following actions upon receipt of the RETAP alert:
Contact the spouse via DIRCON to request the status of entitlement to a non-covered pension and complete the SSA-3885 (Government Pension Questionnaire).
If the spouse expects to receive a periodic pension, but has not yet applied:
And the expected future date of entitlement is within one year, enter the date in the FUTURE PENSION ENTITLEMENT DATE field on the Government Pension (GPI1) screen; or
If the pension entitlement date is more than one year in the future or is unknown, enter a date in the FUTURE PENSION ENTITLEMENT DATE field of one year into the future. For information about the GPI1 screen, see MS COMMON 003.003.
If the spouse fails to respond to the request for status, complete the following steps:
Send the spouse an advance notice informing him or her that we plan to suspend 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 spouse does not respond to the advance notice, suspend benefits effective with the current operating month using the miscellaneous suspension reason (for information about miscellaneous suspension, see SM 03005.155); and
Add a message on the MBR via the Special Message Data (SP MSG) screen in the Miscellaneous Online Edited Transaction (MONET) and enter the remark, “BIC ___ LAF S9 no response for pension information - GPO.” For information about the SMS1 screen, see MS T2PE 007.008.
The RETAP process generates a follow-up alert every 90 days until we update or remove the date in the FUT PENSION ENT field on the MBR.
GN 02608.400 Determining Pension Applicability and Pension Amount
GN 03001.015 Notices Required Before And After Taking A Title II Adverse Action
MS COMMON 003.002 Government Pension Selection Menu (GPMU)