Identification Number:
GN 02210 TN 36
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:DCBFM OFPO
Title:Methods of Recovery for Title II, Title VIII, Title XVI, and Title XVIII Overpayments - Part I
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:Title II (RSI); Title XVI (SSI); Disability
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part GN – General
Chapter 022 – Overpayments
Subchapter 10 – Methods of Recovery for Title II, Title VIII, Title XVI, and Title XVIII Overpayments - Part I
Transmittal No. 36, 10/18/2018

Audience

FO/TSC: CS, CS TII, CS TXVI, CSR, CTE, DRT, FR, OA, OS, RR, TA, TSC-CSR;
PSC: BA, CCRE, CS, DCR, DS, LDCR, LDS, PETE, RECONR, SCPS, TSA, TST;
OCO-OEIO: BTE, CS, EIE, FCR, PETL, RECONE, RECOVR;
OCO-ODO: BTE, CCE, CST, CTE, CTE TE, DSE, PAS, PETE, PETL, RCOVTA, RECOVR;

Originating Component

OFPO

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

Background

The Office of Financial Policy and Operations, Office of Payment and Recovery Policy conducted editorial review of the procedures to reflect current best practices.

Summary of Changes

GN 02210.205 Paying by Credit Card – Debtor Contact Unit (DCU) Procedure

This Program Operations Manual System (POMS) instruction discusses the procedures on what to do if a beneficiary calls the DCU to pay a debt using their credit card.

We made the following revisions:

  • Reformatted where necessary;

  • added a hyperlink for the SSA-4588;

  • spelled out Mid-Atlantic Processing Service Center (MATPSC).

GN 02210.205 Paying by Credit Card – Debtor Contact Unit (DCU) Procedure

A. Introduction

Debtors have the option of using their credit card to repay their debt. The debtor can authorize a one-time payment over the telephone or request the Social Security Administration (SSA) to charge their credit card on a recurring monthly basis by submitting a completed and signed form SSA-4588 , (You Can Make Your Payment by Credit Card ).

For one-time payments, the debtor contact representatives (DCRs) in the Program Service Center (PSC) of jurisdiction will enter the required information on the webpage and submit it electronically for processing. For a link to the webpage see GN 02210.156.

For recurring monthly credit card payments, the Mid-Atlantic Processing Service Center (MATPSC) is responsible for entering the information on the webpage. Recurring monthly payments require the debtor to sign and date form SSA-4588. Upon request, the DCRs mail the form to debtors and ask that they complete, sign, and return it in an enclosed MATPSC envelope.

NOTE: MATPSC’s address is:

Social Security Administration
MATPSC
P.O. Box 3430
Philadelphia, PA 19122-0430

IMPORTANT: There are six versions of the SSA-4588, one for each PSC; it contains the PSC-specific telephone number and hours of operation information. See a sample of the form in GN 02210.154. The SSA-4588 is now housed in inForm.

B. Procedure for handling credit card inquires

1. Explaining the credit card option

If a debtor is contacted by telephone to repay a debt or a debtor contacts the DCU, assume that the caller is the cardholder, unless there is reason to believe otherwise, and proceed as follows:

STEP

ACTION

1

Explain that SSA accepts Master Card, VISA, Discover, American Express, and Diners Club credit cards for repayment of overpayments.

2

Make it clear that if this method of payment is chosen, regular credit card rules apply.

3

Advise current pay debtors that benefit withholding will continue if the credit card payment is less than the full amount of the debt.

4

Advise debtors about the recurring monthly credit card payment option. (See GN 02210.205B.2.b. in this section).

NOTE: The Diners Club Card will only be accepted when 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 (See chart GN 02210.205B.1).

2. Caller agrees to pay via credit card

a. Debtor wants to make a single (one-time) payment:

If a debtor agrees to pay via credit card:

There is also a Reference Guide at the website. Follow the directions in that Guide for entering the transaction.

IMPORTANT: For Administrative Wage Garnishment (AWG) credit card payments made by the employer, be sure to enter Reason Code E in the beneficiary information screen portion.

b. Debtor wants to make recurring monthly payments:

If the debtor wants to pay by having his or her credit card charged on a recurring monthly basis, proceed as follows:

STEP

ACTION

1

 

Mail the SSA-4588 form according to the PSC of jursidication to the debtor. Include the return envelope addressed to MATPSC. (For sample of the form see GN 02210.154).

2

Tell the debtor to complete, sign, and date the SSA-4588 form. Emphasize to the debtor that this form MUST be signed and dated for SSA to process the recurring monthly charges.

3

Explain that their credit card will be charged each month for the length of time and for the amount that they specify on the form. Inform the debtor that they can cancel this authorization by notifying SSA. The SSA-4588 has detailed instructions for canceling recurring monthly payments.

4

Tell the debtor to use the return envelope to mail only the 1 st and 2 nd pages of the original SSA-4588 for processing to:

SSA-MATPSC
P.O. Box 3430
Philadelphia, PA 19122

5

Tell the debtor to complete page 3, detach it (before mailing pages 1 and 2) and keep it for their records.

 

If the debtor returns the signed SSA-4588 requesting recurring monthly payments to a PSC other than MATPSC:

6

Mail the original SSA-4588 to MATPSC at the above address for processing. DO NOT FAX IT.

NOTE: the original signed copy of the SSA-4588 must be kept on file at MATPSC as proof of the debtor’s authorization.

7

Add Remarks to the MBR/SSR and DMS that the request for recurring credit card payments was received in the PSC, date received, and date the original SSA-4588 form was forwarded to MATPSC for processing.

IMPORTANT: If the debtor establishes recurring credit card payments and the credit card or credit card number subsequently changes, mail an SSA-4588 to the debtor. Include the green return envelope addressed to MATPSC. Process according to GN 02210.215B.2.b.

If the debtor establishes recurring credit card payments and the credit card expiration date changes (and the credit card number remains the same), contact the debtor either by phone or send them a new SSA-4588 form requesting the new expiration date. If the debtor provides the new expiration date by phone or e-mail, add remarks to the MBR/SSR and DMS for record keeping purposes.

c. Debtor wants to cancel recurring credit card payments.

If a debtor contacts your office about canceling the recurring credit card payments, follow this procedure:

  • Send an e-mail to ||PHI ARC PCO RDDB DMS the same day the debtor contacts your office. Type “Cancel Recurring Credit Card” in the subject line of the e-mail, so it will receive immediate attention. Add Remarks to the MBR/SSR and DMS that the debtor cancelled recurring credit card payments, the date the debtor contacted SSA, and the date your office contacted MATPSC via e-mail; and

  • Tell the debtor SSA will discontinue the charges to their credit card. However, the debtor’s request must have been made 15 days prior to the date the previous months’ charges from SSA were reflected on their statement. For example, the credit card monthly statement shows the SSA charge was posted on the April 20. The debtor’s request to cancel must have been received by MATPSC by May 5 in order to have the current month’s charge stopped.

3. Caller wishes to use debit card or credit card not accepted by SSA

If a caller wants to use a debit card or a credit card other than MasterCard, VISA, Discover, American Express or Diners Club, tell the person:

  1. a. 

    SSA will only accept MasterCard, VISA, Discover, American Express, or Diners Club credit cards.

  2. b. 

    SSA cannot and does not have the capability to make debit card transactions or accept any other unauthorized credit cards at this time (GN 02210.152A. ).

  3. c. 

    SSA will also accept checks and money orders by mail. Cash payments should be converted to a money order and taken to any local field office.

4. Caller reports a transaction problem

If a caller indicates a problem with a credit card transaction (e.g., the payment authorized is not reflected on their credit card statement, statement shows a transaction which they do not remember authorizing):

  1. Check DMS Remarks screen to verify whether or not the credit card transaction was declined.

  2. If payment was not declined, check the Remittance Query to confirm the date the payment was processed at MATPSC, explaining that the transaction could have been processed after the debtor’s most recent billing cycle.

  3. If, after completing steps a and b, you are still unable to satisfy the debtor’s concern, follow local operating procedures and contact MATPSC RAU.

5. Caller wants to use another person’s credit card

If the caller states that he or she is not the owner of the credit card, follow these steps:

  1. a. 

    Tell the caller that SSA can only accept credit card payments by telephone from the owner of the credit card, and that the transaction cannot be completed at this time.

  2. b. 

    Remind the caller that SSA will accept payment in the form of a check or money order in accordance with normal operating procedures.

6. Employer requests to pay an administrative wage garnishment (AWG) by credit card

If an employer requests to pay by AWG, follow these steps:

  1. a. 

    Request the SSN of the debtor listed on the notice, and verify that a debt exists on the record.

    NOTE: Advise employer that debts for multiple employees must be processed separately.

  2. b. 

    Explain that SSA accepts MasterCard, VISA, Discover, American Express, and Diners Club credit cards for debts.

  3. c. 

    If employer agrees to pay by credit card over the telephone, follow instructions in GN 02210.205B.2.a.

NOTE: 

ONLY when processing credit card payments for AWG, does the caller not have to be the actual cardholder.

7. Caller asks to pay by credit card over the internet

If a caller asks to pay the credit card payment over the Internet:

  1. a. 

    Tell the person SSA does not currently have the capability to accept those payments over the Internet.

  2. b. 

    Inform the debtor that credit card transactions can be handled over the telephone, completed by mail using the credit card form SSA-4588 , or the payment stub provided in the overpayment notice.

  3. c. 

    Remind the caller that SSA also accepts payment in the form of a check and money order by mail. If the caller wishes to pay by cash, explain that cash payments should be converted to money orders and can be made at any local field office.

8. Caller provides erroneous account number

Each of the five credit card brands accepted by SSA has its own account number system, as follows:

Credit Card

First digit(s) always

Number of digits in account number

MasterCard

5

16

VISA

4

16

Discover

6

16

American Express

3

15

Diners Club

5 or 6

16

NOTE: The Diners Club brand card will only be accepted when the account number begins with 5 or 6 and contains 16 digits.

If the caller provides a credit card account number that does not meet the preceding criteria, take the following actions after you confirm that the account number is erroneous:

  1. a. 

    Advise the caller that the credit card does not have the appropriate amount of numbers or correct leading digit.

  2. b. 

    Ask the caller if he or she has another card to use. If so, and if the account numbers are consistent with preceding description, process the request.

  3. c. 

    If the caller does not have another credit card, tell him/her that SSA can accept payment through the mail or at the local field office by check or money order.

  4. d. 

    If the caller wants to pay by check or money order, follow the appropriate instructions in GN 02210.214A., Steps 1 and 2.

  5. e. 

    Advise the caller that cash payments should be converted to money orders and can be taken to any local field office or mailed to MATPSC.


GN 02210 TN 36 - Methods of Recovery for Title II, Title VIII, Title XVI, and Title XVIII Overpayments - Part I - 10/18/2018