Identification Number:
EM-18057
Intended Audience:All RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs/TSCs/PSCs/OCO/OCO-CSTs/
OHO/OARO
Originating Office:DCO OPSOS
Title:Indian Tribal Council Social Security Coverage Legislation – Inquiries from the Public – Instructions Will Follow Shortly
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:Title II (RSI); Disability
Link To Reference:
 
Retention Date: May 20, 2019

A. Purpose

This emergency message (EM) provides instructions for responding to inquiries regarding recent legislation that provides for optional Social Security coverage for Indian tribal council members.

B. Background

A recent bill titled, “The Tribal Social Security Fairness Act of 2018” was signed into law September 20, 2018.
This new law allows federally recognized Indian tribes to extend voluntary Social Security coverage to tribal council positions under Section 218A of the Social Security Act.

C. Field Office (FO) and National 800 Number Network (N8NN) Instructions for Handling Inquiries

You may receive questions from Indian tribes and members of the public regarding The Tribal Social Security Fairness Act of 2018.
Below are instructions to respond to inquiries from Indian tribes, and approved responses to questions you may receive from the general public.

Indian Tribes

If a tribe contacts the FO or N8NN to request coverage, refer the person to the appropriate regional specialist listed on SSA’s Regional Office State and Local Coverage Specialists Directory.
The specialist will provide the tribe with guidance on entering into an agreement with Social Security.
If the person indicates that they would like to send an email to the specialist, instruct them to include the following subject line: “Request for Tribal Coverage under Section 218A”.

NOTE: For tribes whose territory spans more than one region, they should contact the region in which the tribal headquarters is located.

General Public

What is the effective date?
    The Tribal Social Security Fairness Act of 2018 was signed into law on September 20, 2018. This legislation became effective upon the signing of the bill.

    Who does this law affect?

    The new law only applies to those Indian tribes with federal recognition as determined by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
    The new law allows federally recognized tribes to expand Social Security coverage to tribal council positions through a voluntary agreement.
    The law only affects tribal council members of those federally recognized tribes that do so.

    What kind of coverage is included in this law?

    Tribal council members may now obtain Social Security and Medicare coverage previously excluded by law.
      How can a Tribal Council obtain coverage?

      Tribes must officially request coverage for council members in order to enter into a coverage agreement with SSA.
      Interested and eligible tribes should contact the appropriate regional state and local coverage specialist for assistance in obtaining coverage.

      NOTE: Do not refer general inquiries to other SSA offices or to the regional specialists unless it is clear that the caller or visitor is seeking guidance to assist a tribe in completing a coverage agreement for a tribe. When the caller or visitor is pursuing a coverage agreement on behalf of a tribe, refer to the instructions above.

      Direct all program-related and technical questions to your Regional Office (RO) support staff or Program Service Center (PSC) Operations Analysis (OA) staff. RO support staff or PSC OA staff may refer questions, concerns or problems to their Central Office contacts.
      EM-18057 - Indian Tribal Council Social Security Coverage Legislation – Inquiries from the Public – Instructions Will Follow Shortly - 11/21/2018