PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEMPart GN – GeneralChapter 024 – ChecksSubchapter 03 – Procedures for Handling Remittances and Premium Payments in the Field OfficeTransmittal No. 34, 10/02/2019
The Office of Payment and Recovery Policy (OPRP) is completing a three-year review of all OPRP owned policies. We reviewed and revised the instructions for GN 02403.155 and GN
02403.160 to reflect updated language in OS 00501.415 and OS 00501.420, clarified headings and changed headings to sentence case to follow POMS guidelines, updated text and punctuation to follow plain language guidance, added MATPSC contact information, changed reference to Department of Treasury from TD to Treasury, and added additional references at the end of both policies.
Summary of Changes
GN 02403.155 Investigating Lost Remittances - FO Procedure
Added “in this section” throughout when referencing other sections in GN
Placed subsection titles in sentence case
Added MATPSC contact information throughout
Subsection A – Changed title to 'Background,' added first paragraph to explain when to follow this policy, clarified sentence immediately before bullets, changed text in passive voice to active voice, updated bullets to reflect titles of subsections below, and added information about acceptable proof
Subsection B – Changed title to 'Missing personal check or money order,' updated text following plain language guidelines, added “or money order” after referring to checks, and included text to match language in OS
Subsection B.1 – Moved language on postal money order to first paragraph to specify only individual (not FO) can complete PS Form 6401
Subsection B.2 – Added description of what “negotiated” means, reordered bullets for clarity, added information on NDRED and CFUI, and changed NDRED policy references. Moved previous subsection B.4 to subsection B.2 to help with flow of information. For previous subsection B.4, clarified heading and changed text in passive voice to active voice
Subsection B.3. – Previously subsection B.5. Removed reference to FORT and added preference to use SERS. Updated MATPSC address.
Subsection B.4 – Previously subsection B.3. Updated bullets and changed text from passive voice to active voice
Subsection C. – Removed ‘Procedure’ and added 'or' to title. Changed text in passive voice to active voice. In Numbers 3 and 6, added reference to SERS. Added additional step 7 to document and clear the alert
Subsection D – Removed 'Procedure' and added 'Missing' to title. Changed language to match OS 00501.415 and changed text in passive voice to active voice. In Subsection D.1, removed reference to TCVQ because it does not show if check is still outstanding and added policy reference. Added clarifying instructions in Subsection D.2 to contact jurisdictional PSC to credit the account and added additional step 3 to document and clear the alert.
Subsection E – Updated title, removed reference to indemnity agreement, added instructions to use SERS, and updated language to match OS
Reference – Added reference to GN 02403.050 and GN 02403.150
GN 02403.160 Writing Off the Cost of Stop Payment Orders for Lost Remittances
Replaced “refund” with “remittance” throughout and added “in this section” when referencing other sections in GN 02403.160
Subsection A – Reordered first paragraph, changed wording throughout for clarity, and changed references to “remitter” to “individual” and “require” to “ask” throughout
Subsections B, C, and D – Added “Stop Payment Order is” to heading
Subsection B – Removed REFERENCE and changed “refund” to “remittance” throughout, added instruction to use SERS in step 2, added additional steps 3 and 4.
Subsection C - Removed RESULT from step 1, updated step 2 to be inclusive of additional steps 3 and 4 in subsection B.
Subsection D – Changed text to match OS 00501.420
Reference – Added reference to OS 00501.420 and GN 02403.155
This section explains the procedures to follow if a remittance is lost and therefore not credited to the overpaid record.
If a Field Office (FO) cannot find a remittance by following GN 02403.050D steps 1 through 9 and it has been more than 60 days since the FO received the remittance, the FO should start the below lost in transit procedures to determine if the check was ever negotiated.
These instructions will address the following types of remittances:
Personal check or money order
Cash converted to money order or cashier's check
Endorsed government check
Cashier's check, bank draft, or bank money order
For instructions to determine acceptable proof, see GN
This subsection explains the procedures for investigating commercial money orders, postal money orders, or personal checks that the FO received and subsequently lost. If the person is overpaid, the loss of a check or money order in this situation does not alter the fact that the person has remitted the money to SSA and has terminated responsibility for repayment of that part of the overpayment. With proper proof of payment, you may credit the individual's overpayment. However, do not credit the trust fund until it has been established that SSA negotiated the check or money order.
Ask the individual to provide a copy of the front and back of the money order or personal check that shows an endorsement. An individual can trace a postal money order by visiting a post office and completing PS Form 6401. If the individual provides a copy, follow the instructions in GN
02403.155B.2 in this section.
If the individual refuses to request and provide a photocopy of the check or money order, the FO should obtain the photocopy. If you obtain the photocopy, follow the instructions in GN
02403.155B.2 in this section.
If you cannot get a copy of the check or money order, follow the instructions in GN
02403.155B.4 in this section.
Examine the back of the check to determine if SSA negotiated the check or money order. If check or money order is made payable to SSA, it will be stamped ‘FOR DEPOSIT ONLY’ or ‘FOR DEPOSIT ONLY SSA’ on the back. If check is a U.S. Treasury check made payable to an individual beneficiary and endorsed on the back, it will likely be stamped ‘FOR DEPOSIT ONLY SSA.’
If part of the endorsement shows 'FRB-CLEVE,' SSA deposited the check or money order to the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland.
Fax the photocopy of the front and back of the negotiated check or money order as a 'bank document' into NDRED. For information on sending documents to NDRED and viewing them in CFUI, see GN 00301.310, GN 00301.313, and SM 00801.000.
Contact the MATPSC RAU via email address ||PHI ARC
PCO RDDB DMS to have them research their records to determine if they processed the remittance.
Type 'Proof SSA negotiated check—Research Request' in the subject line of the email. Provide in the body of the email the account number, receipt number, amount of the remittance, and the date the FO entered the remittance into the Debt Management System (DMS). Advise that a copy of the remittance is in CFUI.
MATPSC will verify it processed the remittance, negotiated the check, and will credit the record. Follow the instructions in GN
02403.155B.4 in this section and STOP.
Note: If no response to initial email, wait at least 30 days before sending a follow-up email to MATPSC
If the check or money order endorsement shows 'FRB-BALTIMORE,' SSA likely sent the check or money order to SSA's Office of Finance (OF) in Baltimore for processing as a remittance.
Follow the instructions in the bullets above to scan the proof into NDRED and send an email to MATPSC.
The MATPSC will work with OF to have the funds transferred to the individual's account. Follow the instructions in GN
02403.155B.4 in this section and STOP.
If none of the check endorsements above are shown on the back of the check or money order, or if the check or money order was received by another Federal agency (e.g., IRS), we can conclude that SSA did not receive the money.
To request a replacement check or money order for non-negotiated checks technicians are to take the following actions:
Ask the individual to make a second remittance, explaining that since SSA did not negotiate the money order or check, SSA has not received payment. If the individual objects to making a second remittance because of the cost involved, see GN 02403.160.
Tell the individual that if SSA negotiates the original money order or check after receipt of the second payment, SSA will return the amount of the original money order or check.
If yes, process as a regular remittance and issue a new receipt, see MSOM DMS 003.006. Whenever possible, process through the Social Security Electronic Remittance System (SERS), see GN 02403.161.
If it is reasonable to assume that the original remittance will not be found, use the Manager Clear Unverified FO Receipt (RMUR) screen in DMS to clear the Unverified Alert when the second refund has been posted to ROAR or SSR, see MSOM DMS 004.012. Enter the Receipt Number and in the cleared field enter 'Y.' STOP.
If no, obtain a statement from the individual giving his or her reasons for declining to make another remittance. Document the FO development efforts, scan into NDRED, and clear the unverified alert following the instructions in GN 02403.155B.4 in this section. For information on sending documents to NDRED and viewing them in CFUI, see GN
00301.310, GN 00301.313, and SM 00801.000.
NOTE: Call the individual at least three times and send one call-in letter. If you are unable to obtain a statement from the individual, document your attempts and scan into NDRED. Include an explanation of the events concerning the lost remittance and your attempts to obtain a statement from the individual.
Document the FO investigation using the Remittance ID field on the Correct Field Office Receipt (RCFR) screen in DMS, see MSOM
DMS 003.022. Managers should use the Manager Correct/Delete FO Receipt (RMCR) screen to record FO actions to resolve the discrepancy, see MSOM DMS 004.011. For example, if the alerted remittance was processed or posted to ROAR or the SSR, enter the following information:
Block and item number from the Remittance File Query display,
The date posted to ROAR from the history field for TC 31, or
The date posted to the OPDR field with a TR 1 of HU or HUU
If there is no trace of the remittance in ROAR or on the SSR, document that the lost check procedures were implemented or other action taken and date. Use the Remarks Index (RMKI) screen to enter remarks about the action taken. See MSOM DMS
Mark the receipt as verified by the FO Manager through an input to the Manager Clear Unverified FO Receipt (RMUR) screen in DMS, see MSOM
004.012. Print any queries reviewed as documentation for the investigation. Once the receipt is marked as verified through RMUR, the receipt will no longer appear on the Unverified FO Receipt Alert Listing. STOP .
This subsection explains the procedure when a beneficiary submits a cash remittance, the FO purchases a money order or cashier's check, and then the money order or cashier's check is subsequently lost.
Contact the issuer of the money order or cashier's check to determine the appropriate replacement and tracing method.
The FO will be responsible for securing any duplicate money orders or cashier's checks to replace this type of remittance.
Ask the issuer of the money order or cashier's check to cancel the original payment and issue a replacement. Use third party draft procedures to pay for the stop payment fees if required by the issuing institution, see GN 02403.160.
Upon receipt of the replacement instrument, input the remittance into the system as a new receipt. Whenever possible, technicians are to process remittances through SERS, see GN
Annotate the remittance ID field, 'Replacement payment for receipt number ____ ' (show the first receipt number in the blank).
Destroy the beneficiary copy of the receipt.
Forward the new remittance to the MATPSC if it was not processed through SERS.
Document and clear the alert per GN 02403.155B.4 in this section.
This subsection explains the procedure for investigating endorsed government checks received in the FO and subsequently lost.
NOTE: Checks cancelled through limited payability are unacceptable as remittances, see GN 02403.005. For an explanation of checks voided under limited payability see GN 02405.300.
Verify the check is still outstanding by using Treasury Check Information Systems (TCIS). If the check is not deposited, initiate stop payment procedures per GN
For title II, notify the jurisdictional PSC to initiate stop payment
For title XVI, the FO will initiate them
Is the check outstanding?
Forward any available documentation to the jurisdictional PSC and request them to credit the beneficiary's account after checking the programmatic system to determine that SSA has not already posted a check cancellation credit.
Annotate the special message field of the MBR or Remarks field of the SSR: 'Beneficiary was given credit for check(s) number XXX-XXXXXXX, dated XX/XX/XX, in the amount(s) of $XXX.XX, returned on XX/XX/XX.'
If no, and fraud is indicated, contact the Center for Security and Integrity in MATPSC for further investigation at ||PHI
MOS Ctr Automation and Security. Contact the jurisdictional PSC to request credit to the account for the lost remittance.
Document and clear the alert per GN 02403.155B.4 in this section
This subsection explains the procedure for investigating bank drafts, cashier's checks, or bank money orders received in the FO and subsequently lost. Proceed as follows:
Did SSA negotiate the remittance?
request a copy of the remittance from the beneficiary then notify the MATPSC to credit the beneficiary or recipient's account at ||PHI ARC PCO RDDB
DMS . STOP.
If no, ask the individual to secure a duplicate remittance.
Is a duplicate provided?
If yes, process as a regular remittance and issue a new receipt, see MSOM DMS 003.006. When possible, use SERS to submit the new remittance, see GN
If no, follow the instructions in GN
If the original check, draft, or money order is located later, notify the MATPSC at ||PHI ARC PCO RDDB
DMS , Attention: Debt Management Section Chief. When notifying the MATPSC, forward the check, draft, or money order.
GN 02403.050 Unverified Alert Process - Remittances
GN 02403.150 Policy for Lost Remittances
OS 00501.415 Lost Remittances within the Processing Centers (PC)
An individual may refuse to comply with the request for a second remittance because they object to the cost of stopping payment on the original check or money order. For example, an individual otherwise willing to remit the amount in cash, purchase a second money order, or write a second check, objects to the additional cost of stopping payment on the original check or money order. When this happens, SSA should consider adjustment of the second refund amount by the amount of additional cost to the individual as a title II or title XVI 'write off.'
If the individual questions paying the cost of a stop payment, ask him or her to verify the cost with the issuing bank as there may be no charge for the stop payment. If the cost of the stop payment order is equal to or exceeds the amount of the first check or money order, do not request a replacement from the individual. Adjust the overpayment balance using the instructions in GN
02403.160B and GN
02403.160C in this section, according to the appropriate trust fund.
IMPORTANT:If there is no overpayment on the record or a master beneficiary record does not exist, ask the individual to obtain a stop payment order and request a copy as proof of payment. Once you receive a copy of the stop payment order, issue a third party draft (TPD) to the individual for the cost of the stop payment. Use the office CAN, SOC 252K, and input the following comment: “L C Bank Fee for Lost Pay.”
The office issuing the draft is required to maintain all of the supporting documentation associated with the case. In addition, attach copies of the supporting documentation to the copy of the TPD issued. For Operating Procedures for Third Party Drafts, see AIMS FMM
Use these steps to 'write off' those stop payment orders that are less than $45 and involve title XVI overpayments.
'Write off' the amount of the stop payment charge by posting to the individual's record an uncollectible decision for the amount of the stop payment. See SM 01311.280 for how to post an uncollectible decision to the SSR.
Enter the replacement remittance according to current procedures, using the Social Security Electronic Remittances System (SERS) when possible.
Annotate the original FORT accordingly and attach the new automated FO receipt to it.
Scan proof of the stop payment charge into NDRED. For information on sending documents to NDRED and viewing them in CFUI, see GN 00301.310, GN 00301.313, and SM 00801.000.
Use these steps to 'write off' those stop payment orders that are less than $45 and involve title II overpayments.
Notify the MATPSC to write-off the stop payment charge at ||PHI ARC PCO RDDB
DMS . MATPSC will adjust the amount of the overpayment balance by the amount of the stop payment fee.
Follow the directions in GN
02403.160B.2-4 in this section to process the replacement remittance.
The following explains how to 'write off' those stop payment orders that are more than $45 and are title II or title XVI.
Ask the servicing Assistant Regional Commissioner/PCO (this responsibility can be delegated to the RSI Sections or RSI/SSI Branches) to approve the additional cost to the trust fund.
Is the additional cost approved?
If yes, give the claimant a written notice of the agreement and forward a copy to the servicing ARC/PCO (dependent on jurisdictional procedure RSI Sections or RSI/SSI Branches). Adjust the overpayment as stated in GN 02403.160B or GN 02403.160C in this section according to the appropriate trust fund.
If no, notify the individual. If he or she still refuses to issue a new remittance, obtain a statement from him or her setting forth his or her reasons for declining to make another refund and forward it to the ARC/PCO (dependent on jurisdictional procedure RSI Sections or RSI/SSI Branches). Advise the individual that the PSC will notify him or her of its decision concerning the lost remittance.
00501.420 Writing off the Cost of Stop Payment Orders for Lost Remittances in Mid-Atlantic Program Service Center (MATPSC)