Identification Number:
SI 00820 TN 73
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP OISP
Title:Earned Income
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part SI – Supplemental Security Income
Chapter 008 – Income
Subchapter 20 – Earned Income
Transmittal No. 73, 11/04/2020

Audience

FO/TSC: CS, CS TXVI, CSR, CTE, DRT, FR, OA, OS, RR, TA, TSC-CSR;

Originating Component

OISP

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

Background

This is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure.

 

Summary of Changes

SI 00820.130 Evidence of Wages or Termination of Wages

We made minor changes to language to clarify instructions.

In subsection A.5 we changed "primary and secondary" to "primary or secondary."

In several places where we mention "recipient," we added "SSI" before the word to clarify that the instructions apply to "SSI recipients."

SI 00820.130 Evidence of Wages or Termination of Wages

A. Policy for evidence of wages or termination of wages

1. Primary evidence of wages

Consider the following items as primary evidence of wages:

  • pay slips (original or issued by the employer) showing at a minimum the individual's name or full Social Security number (SSN), gross wages, and period covered by the earnings. Accept pay slips printed from a company or government-sponsored website that an individual provides as primary evidence of wages if the pay slips contain the information stated above. For photocopies of pay slips, see SI 00820.130C.1.d in this section.

  • wage verification from an SSA-approved wage verification company (e.g., the Work Number) listed in SI 00820.147 (Evidence of Wages – Wage Verification Companies).

  • *oral statement from the employer.

  • *written statement from the employer (e.g., SSA-L4201-BK, Letter to Employer Requesting Wage Verification). Do not send SSA-L4201s to employers that provide wage verification through an SSA-approved wage verification company.

*Seek secondary evidence of wages listed in the first three bullets under SI 00820.130A.2 (in this section) prior to contacting the employer for an oral or written wage verification, unless termination of wages is involved. For the order of priority in developing evidence of wages, see SI 00820.130C in this section. For the order of priority for wage termination evidence, see SI 00820.130C.6 in this section.

For step-by-step charts on developing wages, see SI 00820.135.

2. Secondary evidence of wages

Consider the following as secondary evidence of wages only after appropriate attempts to obtain pay slips or wage data from an SSA-approved wage verification company are unsuccessful:

  • photocopied pay slips;

  • queries obtained through the Interstate Benefits Inquiry (IBIQ), the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH), or SSA Access to State Records Online (SASRO) databases;

  • Master Earnings File (MEF), Form W2 (Wage and Tax statement), or Federal or State tax forms; and

  • wage information from a non-SSA approved wage verification company only if an employer will not provide wage verification and refers you to a non-SSA approved wage verification company.

See SI 00820.130C.7 in this section for instructions on handling evidence that reflects only an annual or quarterly wage amount.

3. Combination of types of evidence of wages

Accept a combination of various forms of primary and secondary evidence if it results in a more accurate wage determination.

EXAMPLE: Using Primary and Secondary Evidence to Compute Monthly Earnings

James B. is a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligible recipient who receives weekly wages from working at a local deli.

At his redetermination in 01/2020, he provided SSA with pay slips for the months of 07/2019, 08/2019, and 10/2019.

We previously posted Mr. B.’s wages as verified for the months of 01/2019 through 06/2019.

The claims specialist (CS) obtained a Summary Earnings Query (SEQY) for Mr. B. that showed total earnings of $8000 for the entire year of 2019. The CS also queried the NDNH database and found that Mr. B. earned $1500 in the 3rd quarter of 2019.

The CS computed Mr. B.’s earnings for each month by using both primary and secondary evidence as follows:

$1500

Total gross wages for 07/2019 thru 09/2019 (NDNH)

  -600

Gross wages paid in 07/2019 (pay slips)

-500

Gross wages paid in 8/2019 (pay slips)

  $400

Computed gross wages paid in 9/2019

 

$8000

Total gross wages paid in 2019 (SEQY)

-6000

Gross wages paid from 1/2019 thru 9/2019 (previously verified, pay slips, and computed wages)

-700

Gross wages paid in 10/2019 (pay slips)

$1300

Remaining gross wages for 11/2019 thru 12/2019

 

  $1300

Remaining gross wages for 11/2019 thru 12/2019

÷2

Remaining gross wages for 11/2019 and 12/2019. (Mr. B alleges that he worked both of these months.)

$650

Gross wages paid in 11/2019 and 12/2019

The CS successfully computed Mr. B.’s wages using information derived from primary evidence and secondary evidence, and accurately posted verified wages to the Supplemental Security Record (SSR) for the entire year of 2019.

4. Precedent statements as evidence of wages

Accept precedent statements as evidence of wages in some cases. For precedent instructions, see SI 00820.142.

5. No acceptable evidence of wages

If you cannot obtain acceptable primary or secondary evidence, accept the individual’s statement, either signed or recorded on a SSI Claim system Report of Contact (DROC) screen, which includes the amount, frequency of wages, and dates received.

6. Termination of wages

Accept the following, in order of priority, as evidence of termination of wages:

  • information from an SSA-approved wage verification company listed in SI 00820.147 (Evidence of Wages – Wage Verification Companies) indicating the date employment ceased;

  • oral statement from the employer;

  • written or faxed evidence from the employer; or

  • the individual’s statement either signed or recorded on a DROC, which includes the termination date and date last paid, if acceptable primary and secondary evidence are not available.

See SI 00820.130C.6 in this section for more information on developing wage termination evidence.

CAUTION: Develop for receipt of unemployment benefits when an individual alleges termination of wages. For more information about unemployment benefits, see SI 00830.230. If the individual is an SSI recipient and he or she is not receiving unemployment benefits, refer the recipient for unemployment benefits as described in SI 00510.005.

B. Policy for “reported” wages

To be classified as “reported” wages, a wage report must be submitted by an SSI recipient, representative payee or deemor without evidence and must be derived from pay stub wage information. Consider reported wages as verified if they meet the criteria in SI 00820.143E (Monthly Wage Reporting) at the time the system posted the monthly wage report to the SSR. Once posted, the SSR will show “reported” wages with a verification code of “0.”

1. “Reported” wages considered verified

Consider “reported” wages as verified and do not develop, unless the wages are paid in a development period where one of the exceptions in SI 00820.130B.2. in this section applies.

2. Exceptions to accepting “reported” wages as verified

If any of the following exceptions apply during the development period, do not consider “reported” wages as verified (and you must develop all wages, including months of “reported” wages, according to the policy in SI 00820.130C. in this section):

  • More than two consecutive months with an alleged wage amount;

  • Number of months with an alleged wage amount is greater than the sum of the number of months with a reported or verified wage, or a combination of both; or

  • Diary data (DIAR) segment of the SSR contains an S2, K6, K7, S7, J3, or J5.

C. Procedure for developing and documenting evidence of wages

Develop evidence of wages in the following order:

  1. 1. 

    pay slips;

  2. 2. 

    wage verification from an SSA-approved wage verification company;

  3. 3. 

    secondary evidence; seek secondary evidence of wages listed in the first three bullets of SI 00820.130A.2. (in this section) prior to contacting the employer for wage verification;

  4. 4. 

    oral statement from employer, if an employer will not provide wage verification and refers you to a non-SSA approved wage verification company for wage information; then develop wages using the non-SSA approved wage verification company;

  5. 5. 

    written statement from employer (e.g., an SSA-L4201-BK – Letter to Employer Requesting Wage Information); or

  6. 6. 

    the individual’s allegation.

NOTE: Do not use an SSA-L725, Employer Verification of Monthly Wages, for Title XVI wage verification. The SSA-L725 is a Title II wage verification form that requests the amounts earned for services performed within the calendar month, regardless of the amounts paid.

1. Procedure for wage evidence: pay slips

Process pay slips according to the following:

a. SSI recipients, deemors, and representative payees must provide evidence of wages

Stress to SSI recipients, deemors, and representative payees that they are responsible for providing evidence of wages, retaining all pay slips, and providing pay slips as requested.

REMINDER: It is mandatory to recruit and train all SSI recipients, deemors, and representative payees to report wages through automated reporting systems (i.e. myWageReport, Supplemental Security Income Telephone Wage Reporting (SSITWR) system, and the Supplemental Security Income Mobile Wage Reporting (SSIMWR) application.” For more information on wage reporting, see SI 00820.144.

b. Documenting multiple months of pay slips

For SSI Claims system cases:

When not using the SSI Monthly Wage Verification (SSIMWV) system, you must document multiple months of pay slips by faxing wage evidence into the certified electronic folder (CEF) or into the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRED) as appropriate.

Alternatively, you may record evidence on one Evidence screen (EVID) or on one locked DROC screen. Identify monthly gross wages for each month in the period that you are documenting. Record the following on EVID or on a DROC:

  • the source of the evidence as pay slips;

  • time period covered by the pay slips;

  • gross wages paid;

  • pay date (if shown); and

  • the employer’s name.

For non-SSI Claims system cases:

When not using SSIMWV to document multiple months of pay slips, you must:

  • Fax wage evidence into the certified electronic folder (CEF) or into the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRED) as appropriate; or

  • Record multiple months of pay slips on an EVID screen or on an SSA-5125 (Periodic Reporting Income Summary Worksheets) or SSA-5124 (Income Summary Worksheets). Fax completed worksheets to the CEF or into NDRED. For additional information related to the SSA-5125 and SSA-5124, see SI 00820.132 and SI 00820.131, respectively. For additional information on electronic evidence documentation and retention, see GN 00301.286.

NOTE: For information on documenting pay slips processed using the SSI Monthly Wage Verification (SSIMWV) system, see SI 00820.130C.1.e. in this section.

c. Pay slip does not show pay date

If the pay date is not on the pay slip, record the individual's statement of the pay date (either signed or on DROC). For additional information on electronic evidence documentation and retention, see GN 00301.286.

d. Photocopied pay slips submitted

When we request original pay slips, but the individual provides photocopies or faxed pay slips instead, accept the copies as secondary evidence of wages. Do not recontact the individual to request original pay slips unless the copies are questionable (e.g., they appear altered or unauthentic) or you cannot determine earnings from the information provided on the copies.

Document the wage information from the photocopied pay slips per SI 00820.130C.1.b. in this section. You can document photocopied pay slips entered into the SSI Monthly Wage Verification (SSIMWV) system using the same process indicated in SI 00820.130C.1.e. in this section.

e. Monthly wage reports submitted with pay slips

Whenever possible, process monthly wage reports that the individual submits with pay slips using the SSIMWV system. Issue the receipt via SSIMWV and archive the receipt to the Online Retrieval System (ORS). Use the receipt as documentation of the wage evidence received and do not take further action to document the wages. If processing multiple months of pay slips in SSIMWV, generate a separate receipt for each month to satisfy the documentation requirements of Section 202 of the Social Security Protection Act of 2004.

REMINDER: It is mandatory that you recruit and train all SSI recipients, deemors, and representative payees to report wages through automated reporting systems (i.e myWageReport, Supplemental Security Income Telephone Wage Reporting (SSITWR) system and the Supplemental Security Income Mobile Wage Reporting (SSIMWR) application). For more information on wage reporting, see SI 00820.144.

f. Missing pay slips

If all pay slips are not available, but you can determine the wages attributable to the missing pay slip(s) by other evidence (e.g., wage verification company year-to-date totals), do not obtain the missing pay slip(s).

g. Pay slips that do not contain all the required information

When pay slips do not contain all the required information, use other evidence to resolve any discrepancies. Document the evidence and the resolution using the instructions on electronic evidence documentation in GN 00301.286.

h. Pay slips with questionable credibility

If the pay slips are questionable (e.g., appear altered or are difficult to read), obtain further evidence of wages per SI 00820.130A.1. second bullet, through SI 00820.130A.2. in this section.

2. Procedure for wage evidence: wage verification companies

If pay slips are unavailable, accept wage verification from an SSA-approved wage verification company, such as The Work Number, as primary evidence of wages, unless there is evidence to the contrary (e.g., evidence of a cafeteria plan not included in the verification response). In this situation, obtain additional evidence to resolve the discrepancy. For documentation requirements, see SI 00820.147H. For wage verification procedures when wages are over $65 per month, see SI 00820.135.

3. Procedure for wage evidence: secondary evidence of wages

If attempts to obtain original pay slips and wage verification from an SSA-approved wage verification company are unsuccessful, use secondary evidence of wages to verify earnings.

Use the following sources as secondary evidence of wages:

  • photocopied pay slips;

  • IBIQ/NDNH/SASRO queries;

  • MEF/W-2s/tax forms; and

  • non SSA-approved wage verification companies, only if an employer will not provide wage verification and refers you to a non-SSA approved wage verification company for wage information.

When using secondary wage evidence, document the steps taken to obtain pay slips and wage verification company data and why they were unsuccessful on a DROC.

IMPORTANT: If using MEF/W-2/tax forms or IBIQ/NDNH/SASRO queries, you must also include and document the allegation of months worked on a DROC or signed statement. See SI 00820.130C.7. (in this section) for more information on calculating monthly wage amounts when using these queries.

When using a combination of primary and secondary evidence as described in SI 00820.130A.3. in this section, document the combination of primary and secondary evidence that you used to verify the monthly earnings on a DROC. For more information on electronic evidence documentation and retention, see GN 00301.286.

4. Procedure for wage evidence: employer statement

If pay slips, wage verification from an SSA-approved wage verification company, and secondary evidence as listed in the first three bullets under SI 00820.130A.2. in this section are unavailable, contact the employer to verify wages. For secondary evidence of wages, see SI 00820.130A.2. in this section.

Document the steps to obtain pay slips, wage verification company data, or secondary evidence and why they were unsuccessful on a DROC. For instructions on electronic evidence documentation and retention, see GN 00301.286.

a. Requesting employer statement

Request employer statements to verify wages in the following order:

  • Oral statement from the employer (e.g., telephone) recorded on either a Report of Contact form or DROC screen.

  • Written statement from the employer (e.g., SSA-L4201-BK, Letter to Employer Requesting Wage Information). Do not send SSA-L4201s to employers that provide wage verification through an SSA-approved wage verification company.

b. Employer statement received unsigned

If an employer returns a statement to the field office (FO) unsigned, do not recontact the employer for a signature, unless the statement's validity is questionable. For example, validity may be questionable if the individual hand-carried the SSA-L4201-BK to the FO instead of requesting the employer to mail the form directly to the FO.

For additional information related to wage verification procedures, see SI 00820.135.

5. Procedure for wage evidence: no acceptable evidence of wages is available

If evidence of wages is not available, obtain the individual's statement either signed or recorded on a DROC that includes the gross amount, frequency, and duration of wages. If the sole evidence of wages is the individual’s statement, document the steps taken to obtain acceptable primary and secondary evidence, and why they were unsuccessful on a DROC. For instructions on electronic evidence documentation and retention, see GN 00301.286.

6. Procedure for wage evidence: termination of wages

Verify termination of wages whenever individuals allege that they have stopped working or changed jobs. If verifying wages and termination at the same time, you must contact the employer to verify termination of employment and wages before using secondary evidence of wages.

Develop termination of wages in the following priority order:

  • wage verification from an SSA-approved wage verification company listed in SI 00820.147 (Evidence of Wages – Wage Verification Companies) indicating the date employment ceased.

  • oral statement from the employer.

  • written or faxed evidence from the employer.

  • individual’s statement either signed or recorded on a DROC, which includes the termination date and date last paid. If the sole verification of termination of wages is the individual’s statement, document the steps taken to obtain acceptable primary and secondary evidence, and why they were unsuccessful on a DROC. For instructions on electronic evidence documentation and retention, see GN 00301.286.

Fax wage termination evidence into the CEF or NDRED or document the evidence on a DROC.

REMINDER: Develop for receipt of unemployment benefits when individuals allege they've stopped working. For more information about unemployment benefits, see SI 00830.230. If the individual is an SSI recipient and is not receiving unemployment benefits, refer the recipient for unemployment benefits as described in SI 00510.005.

7. Procedure for wage evidence: evidence reflects only an annual or quarterly wage amount

If the evidence (e.g., queries, tax forms) reflects only an annual or quarterly wage amount, process the evidence according to the following:

a. Calculating monthly wage amounts

Ask the individual to state the work months covered by the annual or quarterly wage amount and document the individual's allegations on a signed statement or a DROC. Posting the alleged work months to the SSI Claim system IWAG screen alone is insufficient documentation.

Divide the annual or quarterly wage amount by the number of alleged work months to calculate the monthly wage amounts for the alleged work months. When determining whether to average either quarterly or yearly earnings, give preference to the quarterly earnings.

If it appears that the wages belong to someone other than the individual or deemor (e.g., the name shown on the NHDH query is different), do not post the wages to the record.

For instructions on handling potentially erroneous or duplicate earnings postings on SSA earnings records, see RS 01404.140.

b. Calculating monthly wage amounts when previous months verified

When the system shows previously verified wages for a particular employer for a portion of the year or quarter that you are developing, do not change the verified amounts unless new evidence indicates that the prior determination was erroneous. Determine the wages for the unverified months by subtracting the previously verified amounts from the annual or quarterly totals for the employer and dividing the remaining amount by the number of unverified months of work alleged. Document that you subtracted the previously verified amounts from the annual or quarterly totals and divided the remaining amount by the number of unverified alleged work months on a DROC.

8. Procedure for wage evidence: suspected fraud cases

In any suspected fraud case, obtain the employer’s written statement verifying wages using the SSA-L4201-BK. For evidence in suspected fraud cases, see GN 04115.005. For additional overpayment notification procedures related to collection of overpayments when fraud is suspected, see SI 02201.007.

9. Procedure for wage evidence: work report receipts

Section 202 of the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 requires you to issue a receipt when you receive a report of a change in an SSI recipient’s work activity or earnings. This policy applies to work-related reports received from the recipient, or from the recipient’s or beneficiary’s representative payee or authorized representative. For further information related to work reports and situations where we require a receipt, see DI 13010.020.

D. Procedure for verifying “reported” wages

1. Do not verify “reported” wages

Do not verify “reported” wages, unless one of the exceptions in SI 00820.130B.2. in this section applies to the period that you are developing.

2. No wage interface alert on the SSR

If an exception applies during the development period and a wage interface alert is not present in the DIAR segment of the SSR, verify the wages using the procedures in SI 00820.130C in this section.

3. Wage interface alert on the SSR

If a wage interface alert applying to the period that you are developing is present in the DIAR segment of the SSR, develop for evidence of wages using the instructions in:

E. References


SI 00820 TN 73 - Earned Income - 11/04/2020