PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEMPart RS – Retirement and Survivors InsuranceChapter 026 – Foreign DeductionsSubchapter 55 – Foreign Enforcement ProgramTransmittal No. 10, 11/06/2020
This transmittal is a Quick Action Transmittal. These revisions do not change or introduce new policy or procedure. We received a PolicyNet request to be more specific with our references to the Division of International Operations (DIO) since within DIO is International Benefits Office (IBO) and Payment Center 8 (PC8). We are replacing DIO with PC8.
Summary of Changes
RS 02655.007 Processing the Foreign Enforcement Questionnaire (FEQ) — Wilkes-Barre Direct Operations Center (WBDOC), the Division of International Operations (DIO), and the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU)
Replaced Division of International Operations (DIO) with Payment Center 8 (PC8) throughout the POMS. This change occurs in the following places: the title; the Actionable part of the introduction; bullets 6 and 7 in subsection A; the title first and the third sentence in subsection B; the Note in subsection C; the title in subsection D and the second sentence and the last bullet in D.2; and the second sentence in subsection F.2.
These instructions describe how FEQ responses are processed. For a description of the follow-up and suspension process for the non-responders (beneficiaries who do not respond), see RS 02655.010.
We process complete FEQ responses according to the following categories:
Approved: No changes, all answers on the form agree with the information on the MBR; and
Actionable: Some of the answers, or lack of, require action by the WBDOC, PC8, or the FBU.
For an explanation of the screening and routing procedure WBDOC uses when they receive FEQ responses, see WB 00801.000.
WBDOC takes the following actions when they receive FEQ forms:
manually review FEQs for discrepancies prior to scanning;
return incomplete forms to the beneficiary;
scan all complete forms into the Automated Image Retrieval System (AIRS) and process responses to create a responder file;
send a responder file to Center for Information Technology (CIT) to create a non-responder file;
send FEQs indicating change of addresses that do not affect payment of benefits to the FBU of jurisdiction via email containing links to the image in AIRS;
send images of FEQs from Canada indicating change of address to PC8 via Paperless Processing System (PPS) for action;
send all other actionable FEQ images to PC8 via PPS; and
establish and maintain controls according to the necessary actions.
PC8 receives actionable FEQs in PPS. Examples of actionable FEQs include changes of address, citizenship, custody, marital status, and representative payees, and issues pertaining to adoption, dependent parents, and work status.
PC8 takes the following actions when they receive FEQ forms in PPS:
review the FEQ responses and process according to the appropriate Program Operations Manual System (POMS) procedure;
request the assistance of the servicing FBU or FO to resolve issues; and
process changes using Postentitlement Online System (POS) or the Manual Adjustment Credit and Award Data Entry System (MACADE).
The FBUs take the following FEQ actions:
use POS to process change address or telephone numbers when they receive emails from WBDOC; and
develop, investigate, and contact beneficiaries when necessary to obtain missing information, clarification, or assist other offices upon request.
NOTE: FBUs are not authorized to take adjudicative actions. They must forward any actionable FEQs that affect benefit payment to PC8 for processing.
It is important for WBDOC to receive all FEQs for scanning into AIRS and recording on the responder list. Some beneficiaries return their completed questionnaires directly to PC8, an SSA Field Office (FO), or FBU instead of mailing it back in the return envelope (addressed to WBDOC) which they received with the FEQ form. These instructions describe how PC8, FOs, and FBUs handle FEQs they receive directly from the beneficiaries (or their representatives).
If there are:
any changes reported on the form, the office that receives the form should process any actions that are within their responsibility before forwarding to WBDOC; or
no changes reported on the FEQ, or the office is not able to process the changes reported, they should forward the FEQ to WBDOC for processing.
Follow these instructions:
the FBU must forward these FEQs to WBDOC for processing; or
the FOs and PC8 should process any actions they decide are necessary (including reinstatement of benefits if applicable) and then forward the FEQ to WBDOC in an envelope marked “SCAN ONLY.”
WBDOC takes the following actions:
stores the paper FEQ forms for 90 days before destroying, in case there is a need for a rescan; and
keeps the scanned FEQ image in AIRS for 7 years.
Do not record a formal disposition for an approved FEQ. The image is stored in AIRS for 7 years and you can view it during that time to see that no action was necessary.
We will record all changes reported that require a systems action on the MBR.
If PC8 determines that there is no action necessary (NAN) on an actionable FEQ that they received, they must annotate PPS with the following:
their initials, and
an explanation of why no action was needed.
NOTE: All offices must ensure that they clearly annotate any actions and determinations on the MBR, and retain them in AIRS or PPS for a minimum of seven years (or the life of the claims folder).