PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEMPart RS – Retirement and Survivors InsuranceChapter 014 – WagesSubchapter 04 – Wage DevelopmentTransmittal No. 19, 08/24/2019
This is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure
Summary of Changes
RS 01404.160 Wage Reporting Problem – National Wage Reporting Problem System (WRPS)
It was reported that several links in external facing POMS point to sites internal to SSA. Although the internal sites are not accessible via the links in the external site, showing any part of internal URLs is a security risk and could be a target for hacking. We are removing all of the hyperlinks to POMS in this section.
RS 01404.254 Determining OIG Referrals and Conviction Status in regard to the "Ensign Amendment"
We removed hyperlinks in this section.
Occasionally an employer's report for a pre-lag period has been received by SSA but has not been posted to the E/Rs because of some problem.
The New York Regional Office maintains a web site identifying known employer reporting problems, i.e., the National Wage Reporting Problem System (WRPS)
The EMOD ICOR and the Report Correction (RCOR) Systems permit correction of individual E/R's without the possibility of a subsequent duplicate posting when the employer report is processed.
Even if the employer is on the Problem Employer List, normal development guidelines must be followed and the NH's E/R corrected if the NH insists the correction be made or the earnings are needed for insured status purposes in a claims case.
Take the following action if a problem employer situation is suspected:
For a suspected problem employer access the WRPS at the web site indicated in RS
If the WRPS verifies that the employer is a problem employer and a wage report is in process explain to the NH that the employer report is in process and his earnings will be corrected at that time. If the NH insists the earnings be corrected or if insured status is involved then:
Develop wage evidence per RS 01403.010 – RS 01403.080;
Do not scout;
Correct the E/R.
If the WRPS does not verify the employer as a problem employer, i.e., a wage report is not in process:
Develop wage evidence per RS 01403.001- RS 01403.080.
Scout or request feedback if required per RS 01404.120.
Correct the earnings.
If it appears the employer should be added to the WRPS, follow the guidelines provided at the WRPS web site indicated in RS 01404.160A. to include the employer as a problem employer.
The referral of cases for review by OIG, as described below, is in accordance with SSA’s usual policies for prevention of fraud. It is unrelated to the question of whether the FY 2009 “Ensign Amendment” applies.
A potential incorrect or fraudulent use of an SSN by an individual may be identified by any SSA employee (e.g., Workload Support Units (WSUs), 800# agent, service representative (SR), claims representative (CR)) who comes in contact with an individual whose earnings record and work history is in question and the individual states that he/she worked and has earnings under another SSN. The identification of these potential situations may occur in certain non-claim and initial claims situations under Title II, XVI, or TXVIII.
WSU’s and 800# agents should follow existing claims lead procedures to refer potential cases to the servicing field office (FO) for necessary action. Annotate “Potential Fraud Case” in the remarks section of the claims lead. 800# agents should not refer potential "Ensign" cases to the WSU or refer the claimant to the Internet.
The determining factor in making a referral to OIG for the incorrect or fraudulent use of a SSN is whether the individual knowingly used a SSN that had not been assigned to him or her in an attempt to engage in work activity which he or she was not legally entitled to perform to obtain a right, benefit or privilege to which he or she was not legally entitled, or to avoid a legally imposed obligation or liability.
The nine digit number used in employment could be made up, owned by another person, or the claimant’s own Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) (see RS 01404.250B.2. for definition of ITIN), which is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). A worker, e.g., a migrant field worker, who used an employer-supplied SSN while in their employ, may not have "knowingly" used the SSN with the implicit intent to commit SSN fraud.
EXCLUSION: A SSN made up of all 000’s. Employers are instructed by IRS to use all zeros when the employer is required to file a wage report and the employee has not yet received a SSN from SSA.
Report all potential Section 208(a) (6) or (7) violations to the Office of the Inspector General. (See GN 04111.010 for instructions on referring cases to the OIG.)
N OTE: Section 208(a) (6) makes it illegal for an individual to knowingly, and with intent to deceive, furnish false information with respect to wage records. Section 208(a)(7) makes it illegal for an individual to obtain Federally-funded benefits, including Title II benefits, or anything of value from any person, by using, with intent to deceive, either an SSN that was obtained with false information or the SSN of another individual, see:Sec. 208. [42 U.S.C. 408]
the NH lacks insured status on his/her earnings record and states that he/she worked and earned wages or SEI under a number other than the SSN assigned to him or her, or
the NH states he or she is involved in a pending court case, or was convicted in a federal court, on charges related to SSN use, or other evidence is presented that alerts Social Security staff to the potential for a federal court case.
Provide the claimant's name, date of birth, address of record, other identifying information and other names and addresses used. The field office (FO) must send the referrals to the regional office Center for Program Support (CPS) staff; CPS will refer the case to the regional general counsel office. The FO must diary the case for 15 days using your office's diary procedures. Use the "425" listing code. The FO should follow-up with the appropriate CPS staff if a response has not been received after 15 days.
The regional counsel offices will query the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) database to determine whether the NH was convicted of working under a SSN that was not assigned to him or her for employment purposes.
The CPS staff will coordinate communications with the regional counsel office and then will provide a disposition for the claimant back to the field office that initiated the inquiry.
If a NH is denied Title II retirement or disability benefits due to a conviction involving the wrongful use of an SSN, the determination may be appealed (RS 01404.258, Processing Requests for Earnings Records Corrections After a Disallowance Based on the “Ensign Amendment”)