Identification Number:
EM-21077
Intended Audience:All RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs/TSCs/PSCs/OCO/OCO-CSTs/OHO/OARO
Originating Office:DCBFM OFPO
Title:Instructions for Processing Credit Card Payments in the Debtor Contact Unit (DCU)
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:See References at the end of this EM.
 
Retention Date: June 08, 2022

A. Purpose

This EM announces a change in policy for processing recurring credit card transactions. Effective immediately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) no longer requires a wet signature from a cardholder who wishes to make recurring payments using a credit card. SSA will discontinue use and maintenance of form SSA-4588 (You Can Make Your Payment by Credit Card). Debtor Contact Representatives (DCRs) in any Program Service Center can process recurring credit card payment requests and are no longer required to request the SSA-4588 from the caller or forward a completed form to MATPSC.

B. Background

Debtors have the option of using their credit card to repay their overpayment. Over the phone, the caller can authorize a one-time payment or request that SSA charge their credit card on a recurring monthly basis. The DCR will enter the required information on the Credit Card Remittance webpage and submit it electronically for processing. For a link to the webpage, see GN 02210.156

As an alternative to having the agency process the request, the debtor can authorize a one-time payment using a personal computer or mobile phone by accessing Pay.gov. Pay.gov is an online remittance collection application developed and maintained by the Department of the Treasury (Treasury). The internet application offers Title II and Title XVI recipients, who are active in the Recovery and Collection of Overpayment Process (RECOOP) system, the option to repay their programmatic overpayments via credit card, debit card, or by debiting their bank account. Treasury's Pay.gov application collects and processes the transaction and payment information on SSA's behalf.

NOTE: Treasury's Pay.gov accepts VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club, JCB, Union Pay, and debit of the individual's bank account via ACH. For instructions on how to handle inquiries regarding Pay.gov, see GN 02220.125.

C. Procedure for handling credit card inquiries

      1. Explaining credit card payment options
If a caller contacts the DCU, assume that the caller is the cardholder, unless there is reason to believe otherwise, and proceed as follows:
      a. Explain that SSA accepts Master Card, VISA, Discover, American Express, and Diners Club credit cards for repayment of overpayments.

      b. Explain that regular credit card rules will apply.

      c. Explain that if the credit card payment is less than the full amount of the debt, and the debtor is in current pay, benefit withholdings will continue.

      d. Explain to the caller that you can assist them over the phone with making a one-time payment, establishing recurring monthly credit card payments, or they can authorize a one-time payment online, using a personal computer or mobile phone by accessing Pay.gov.

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.
      2. Caller agrees to pay via credit card
          a. Caller wants to make a one-time payment over the phone
Assume that the caller is the cardholder unless there is reason to believe otherwise.
Follow the instructions in the Reference Guide for entering the transaction.
          2. Add remarks to the DMS Remarks screen including the caller’s name, address, telephone number, and the authorized payment amount. DO NOT record any credit card information in DMS Remarks.
IMPORTANT: For Administrative Wage Garnishment (AWG) credit card payments, made by the employer, enter Reason Code E in the beneficiary information screen portion.
          b. Caller wants to make recurring monthly payments over the phone
      Assume that the caller is the cardholder unless there is reason to believe otherwise.
          1. Explain to the caller that their credit card will be charged each month for the specified length of time and for the amount that they authorize during this call. Inform the caller that they can cancel this authorization by notifying SSA (see Section D of this reference).

          2. Go to Online Credit Card Remittance and input the transaction.

          3. Add remarks to the DMS Remarks screen including the caller’s name, address, telephone number, and that the request for recurring credit card payments was received for the authorized payment amount. DO NOT record any credit card information in DMS Remarks.


        c. Caller wants to make a one-time payment via Pay.gov

          1. Inform the caller that Pay.gov is a secure service provided by the Department of the Treasury not SSA.

          2. Explain that Pay.gov accepts credit card, debit card, and bank account (ACH) payment methods.

          3. Explain to the caller that they will need the remittance ID that is displayed on the first page of their overpayment notice. This information is also contained at the top of the payment stub.

          4. Provide the caller with the URL for Pay.gov- www.pay.gov/public/form/start/834689469

      For instructions on how to handle Pay.gov inquiries, see GN 02220.125.
          d. Caller wants to cancel recurring credit card payments
      If a caller is requesting to cancel recurring credit card payments, follow this procedure:
          1. Explain to the caller that SSA will discontinue the recurring charges to his or her card. We can only cancel the current month’s charges when the request is made 15 days or more prior to the recurring payment date. For example, the credit card monthly statement shows the SSA charge was posted on the April 20. The caller’s request to cancel must have been received by SSA by May 5 to have the current month’s charge stopped.

          2. Send an email to ||PHI ARC PCO RDDB DMS. Type “Cancel Recurring Credit Card” in the subject line of the e-mail, so it will receive immediate attention.

          3. Add remarks to the DMS Remarks screen to indicate that the caller requested cancellation for recurring credit card payments. Include the date the caller contacted SSA and the date your office contacted MATPSC via e-mail. DO NOT record any credit card information in DMS Remarks.

      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 caller:


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

      SSA cannot and does not have the capability to take debit card payments over the phone or accept any other unauthorized credit cards at this time (GN 02210.152A.). Pay.gov will accept debit card payments.
        b. SSA will also accept checks and money orders by mail. Cash payments should be converted to a money order and mailed to MATPSC.

      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 or the statement shows a transaction which they did not authorize):

          b. If the payment was not declined, check the Remittance Query to confirm the date and that the payment was processed by SSA. Explain to the caller that the transaction could have been processed after the debtor’s most recent credit card billing cycle.
          c. Confirm that the remitter requested to make a payment over the phone and not on-line through Pay.gov. For instructions on how to handle Pay.gov inquiries, see GN 02220.125. If, after completing steps a through c, you are still unable to satisfy the caller’s concern, follow local operating procedures and contact MATPSC DMS.
      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. 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. 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. Request the SSN of the debtor listed on the notice and verify that a debt exists on the record.
          NOTE: Advise the employer that debts for multiple employees must be processed separately.
          2. Explain that SSA accepts MasterCard, VISA, Discover, American Express, and Diners Club credit cards for debts.

      If the employer agrees to pay by credit card over the telephone, follow instructions in GN 02210.205. Enter Reason Code E in the beneficiary information screen portion.

      NOTE: When processing credit card payments for AWG, the caller does not have to be the actual cardholder.

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

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

          a. Tell the caller SSA does not have the capability to process those payments over the Internet. However, they can make payments on-line by accessing PAY.gov and provide the following address:
www.pay.gov/public/form/start/834689469
          b. 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) alwaysNumber of digits in account number
      MasterCard516
      VISA416
      Discover616
      American Express315
      Diners Club5 or 616
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:

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

    b. Ask the caller if he or she has another card to use. If so, and if the account numbers are consistent with the preceding descriptions, process the request.
    c. If the caller does not have another credit card, tell him or her that SSA can accept payment through the mail or at the local field office by check or money order.
    d. If the caller wants to pay by check or money order, follow the appropriate instructions in GN 02210.214A., Steps 1 and 2.
    e. Advise the caller that cash payments should be converted to money orders and can be mailed to MATPSC.

D. Procedure for handling credit card inquiries (TSC)

If a caller contacts the TSC to inquire about making a payment by credit card, proceed as follows:

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

      b. Explain that regular credit card rules will apply.

      c. Explain that if the credit card payment is less than the full amount of the debt, and the debtor is in current pay, benefit withholdings will continue.

      d. Explain to the caller that you can transfer them to the DCU, who can assist with making a one-time payment, establishing recurring monthly credit card payments, or the caller can authorize a one-time payment online, using a personal computer or mobile phone by accessing Pay.gov.

Do not mail out the SSA-4588 form.

Closing paragraph:
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.

Reference:
GN 02210.205 Paying by Credit Card- Debtor Contact Unit Procedures
GN 02210.153 Paying by Credit Card Teleservice Center (TSC) Procedure
EM-21077 - Instructions for Processing Credit Card Payments in the Debtor Contact Unit (DCU) - 12/22/2021