The ERISA process is as follows: The Schedule SSA is submitted by Plan Administrators to the Internal Revenue Service, which in turn sends the Schedule SSA to the Social Security Administration. Prior to December, 2000, when SSA received the Schedule SSA, the Schedule SSA was examined, blocked, microfilmed (stamped with the pension block, unit and sequence numbers), and keyed (WBDOC). The pension information from these Schedules was stored on tape. The documents were destroyed at the completion of the processing operation. These schedules did and continue to contain specific information about individuals' vested pension rights and form the basis for information provided on the SSA-L99-C1 (Potential Private Retirement Benefit Information), which SSA ultimately sends to the individuals with vested rights.
SSA's current processing procedures produce “Exceptions” when certain pertinent information is missing from the SSA-L99-C1. Exceptions are produced when the Employer/Plan information is missing from our tape files. Other exceptions have a Name/SSN discrepancy (already resolved at this point) AND Employer/Plan Information missing.
In addition to providing vested rights pension information, Form SSA-L99-C1 contains a ten digit Document Control Number (DCN) in the lower left corner. It represents the last two digits of the year for which the pension information was reported and the Pension Block, Unit, and Page Sequence in which the Schedule SSA was processed. To prepare SSA-L99-C1's containing exception conditions, it is necessary to manually locate and transcribe certain data from the microfilm copy of Schedules SSA known as the Deferred Benefit Microfilm. The Division of Earnings and Business Services maintains this microfilm, filed according to the first five digits of the DCN (Year and Pension Block Number). Refer to RM 03201.002 for submissions received December 2000 or later.
Note: Starting in calendar year 2008, instead of using microfilm, SSA began scanning and storing ERISA data (the Schedule SSA) in the Automated Image Retrieval System (AIRS), a tool that allows the Division of Earnings and Business Services staff to access some of the ERISA images via the Earnings Specialists’ desktop. Therefore, access AIRS via the desktop in order to help resolve exceptions that involve data from 2008 to the present.
In addition, SSA is in the process of converting ERISA microfilm data prior to 2008 to AIRS; eventually all data will be available via AIRS.