PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEMPart SI – Supplemental Security IncomeChapter 022 – OverpaymentsSubchapter 20 – Recovery Procedures for Supplemental Security Income OverpaymentsTransmittal No. 60, 12/28/2020
This transmittal revises instructions and corresponds to the directives in the Presidential Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens (PMELRS of Aliens), dated May 23, 2019. We clarify how SSA maintains records regarding each financial sponsor’s reimbursement obligations and status with law.
Summary of Changes
SI 02220.065 Repayment by Alien Sponsors
We changed the section title to highlight the purpose of the repayment by sponsors instructions. We made the following changes:
Subsection A - Added cross-references for deeming instructions
Subsection B - Added a definition for "sponsor"
Subsection C - Changed the title to "Policy for repayment by sponsors" and clarified instructions
Changed the title to "Procedure to determine the repayment by a sponsor"
Clarified instructions for determining when sponsor repayment applies
Added procedures for documenting when repayment by sponsors applies to a case
Added instructions for establishing the repayment by sponsor debt in ROAR
Created a new subsection E entitled, "Notifying sponsors of their repayment requirements"
Added 11 items as requirements for SSA maintaining records of the reimbursement obligation
Subsection F - Changed the title to, "Appeal of determination that repayment by sponsor applies" and organized and added content on appeals and waivers in this section
Subsection G - Changed the title to, "Repayment of SSI paid to the sponsored alien" and listed previous instructions involving payments
Section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (Section 213A) required the United States Attorney General to develop a new, legally enforceable version of the affidavit of support for the sponsor of an alien, form I-864. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) began using the form on December 19, 1997, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses it today. See SI 00502.215 for more information about the old and new version affidavits of support.
Section 213A also provided that when an alien sponsored under the new affidavit, receives any payments under a means-tested public assistance program, i.e., Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the sponsor who executed the legally enforceable affidavit of support must repay to the agency that made the payments the amount of benefits the alien received.
A different set of deeming rules applies to aliens whose sponsors sign the new, legally enforceable version of the affidavit. These cases are also known as “new version affidavit” cases or “new version sponsor deeming” cases. NOTE: Aliens whose sponsors sign the I-864 may be subject to Alien Deeming policy.
SI 00502.200 – SI 00502.306 for processing sponsor-to-alien deeming cases
SI 01320.950 and SI 01330.550 for sponsor-to-alien income and resources computation rules
See SI 00502.215 for a description of both the legally enforceable and the unenforceable affidavits.
Repayment is the return to SSA of an amount equal to the amount of SSI paid by SSA to the sponsored alien after an executed I-864.
A sponsored alien is one whose sponsor is subject to the provisions of Section 213A requiring the execution of a legally enforceable I-864.
A sponsor is an individual who has executed an affidavit of support with respect to a sponsored alien, as defined in Section 213A(f).
The sponsor, not the alien, is solely liable for repayment of all SSI benefits paid to the sponsored alien. SSA has the authority to seek repayment from the sponsor for SSI benefits paid to the sponsored alien within the last 10 years. When more than 10 years have passed from the month that the sponsored alien last received an SSI payment, SSA will not seek repayment nor refer a case to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Determination that a sponsored alien under the new affidavit of support
is receiving SSI
Upon field office (FO) determination that a sponsored alien under the new affidavit of support is receiving SSI payments, the FO technician notifies the sponsor of their determination via the Document Processing System (DPS). The notice requires repayment of the full amount of the SSI payments made to the alien. If the sponsor does not indicate a willingness to make repayment and the amount owed becomes delinquent or fails to comply with the repayment terms, the FO technician will refer the case to the Office of Financial Policy and Operations (OFPO), as described later in this subchapter.
Payments of SSI benefits to a sponsored alien when the alien’s sponsor executed a legally enforceable affidavit of support are not overpayments. Sponsored aliens are permitted to file for and receive SSI, provided they meet all eligibility criteria, regardless of the fact that they are sponsored. For purposes of seeking repayment from sponsors, we are not limited by our administrative finality rules, but we can only seek repayment by the sponsor for SSI payment paid to the sponsored alien within the last ten years. For more information about administrative finality, see SI 04070.000.
Repayment by a sponsor is not considered a payment affected by a delay or failure to report events or changes relevant to eligibility. Therefore, a penalty for delay/failure is not applicable. NOTE: If you suspect information about the I-864 was knowingly withheld or any other fraud, notify OIG using the Allegation Referral Intake System (ARIS). Provide as much information as available in ARIS. Annotate the online worksheet that you referred the case to OIG. For more information on ARIS, see GN 04124.001.
SSA must provide full appeal rights to the sponsor
Because a payment to a sponsored alien is not an overpayment, waiver rules do not apply to the repayment by the sponsor. However, since the determination that repayment applies is an initial determination, SSA must provide full appeal rights to the sponsor, as detailed in this section. The sponsor, not the alien, is solely liable for repayment of all SSI benefits paid to the sponsored alien.
NOTE: For each month the sponsored alien continues to receive SSI, the alien's sponsor is responsible for repaying the SSI benefits to SSA. SSA will not seek repayment or refer a case to the DOJ when more than 10 years have passed from the month that the sponsored alien last received an SSI payment.
The following procedures outline actions for determining if repayment applies, calculating the amount, and establishing the repayment record.
To determine when to verify sponsorship of an alien SSI recipient under Section 213A, follow SI 00502.240G . FO technicians should complete a Report of Contact (DROC - see MS 04422.010) for MSSICS cases or an SSA-5002 (5002) for non-MSSICS cases to record the basis for their determination in the file that the sponsor is required to repay SSA the amount of SSI benefits paid to the alien.
Upload the 5002 to the Certified Electronic Folder (CEF)/Non Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRED) and complete the following actions:
Add a remark on the SSR, listing sponsor name, SSN, address, and phone number (if available).
Include the following statement: “Sponsor is subject to INA 213A, per SI 022220.065.”
Notify the sponsor of the determination following SI 02220.065E.
For more information on storing forms electronically, refer to GN 00301.322.
The amount the sponsor has to repay to SSA is equal to the amount of SSI the sponsored alien receives. Therefore, the repayment amount may accrue or change over time as the alien continues to receive SSI. Upon determination that a sponsored alien under the new affidavit of support is receiving SSI payments, a FO technician must complete the following actions:
Review the SSR to determine all months that the sponsored alien received and continues to receive SSI.
Calculate the repayment amount required by the sponsor by using the repayment period and benefits paid in the repayment period.
NOTE: For each month that the sponsored alien continues to receive SSI, the alien's sponsor is responsible for repaying the SSI benefits to SSA. SSA is not limited by administrative finality rules. SSA may seek repayment from the sponsor for SSI benefits paid to the sponsored alien within the last 10 years.
FO technicians must notify the PSC of jurisdiction to establish and add the repayment debt in the Recovery of Overpayments and Reporting (ROAR) under the sponsor's SSN by faxing the determination (MSSICS DROC or the 5002) in Paperless. If SSI payments are continuing and require repayment, FO technicians tickle the repayment by sponsor issue to notify the PSC of the debt amount on a monthly basis.
PSC technicians must add debt to the ROAR and input it as a non-LDO debt for the Title XVI trust fund. DO NOT post a P-TAC (Manually Computed Overpayment). To prevent excess decisions, DO NOT post remittances from a sponsor to the Supplemental Security Record (SSR). See SM 01311.634.
Once the PSC has established the debt in ROAR, the FO technician should:
Notify the sponsor they are subject to the new affidavit of support, and the requirement to repay to SSA the SSI benefits paid to the sponsored alien.
Create a DROC to list the date the PSC established the debt in ROAR.
Include the following information in the SSA-8166:
A statement that the provisions of Section 213A on the enforcement of the affidavit of support apply;
Date the SSI support obligation commenced (the date the sponsored immigrant became a permanent resident);
Sponsored alien's name;
Sponsored alien's alien registration number;
Sponsored alien's address;
Sponsored alien's date of birth;
Type of benefit the sponsored alien received, i.e., SSI;
Dates the sponsored alien received payments;
Total amount of the means-tested public payment(s), i.e., SSI, received in an itemized statement;
Statement the sponsor has 45 days (plus 5 mailing days) to respond to the request to either pay the entire debt or arrange to begin payments via a payment schedule agreeable to SSA; and
Standard due process language.
Maintain an electronic copy of the letter by uploading saving to the Online Retrieval System (ORS) under the sponsored alien’s SSN. For more information on storing forms electronically, refer to GN 00301.322. See NL 00802.035 for information on the SSA-L8166.
Annotate the “Remarks” field on the SSR (see MS 04423.003) and the MSSICS DROC or the 5002 that Section 213A is applicable, i.e., “Sponsor is subject to INA 213A, per SI 022220.065.” Include the amount to be repaid.
Mail the notice to the sponsor’s last known address.
Track the notification process by completing the following:
Send the notice by certified or registered mail with a return receipt requested.
Set an issue in the DW01 for MSSICS cases or an MDW for non-MSSICS cases to track the notice.
Input a receipt date showing when the FO receives proof of delivery.
Fax a copy of the proof of delivery into the CEF/NDRed. For more information on storing forms electronically, refer to GN 00301.322.
If no proof is received within 50 days of the delivery date, follow the instructions in this section for repayment of SSI.
The determination that a sponsor must repay the SSI received by the sponsored alien is an initial determination. Therefore, the sponsor has the same appeal rights as with any other initial determination.
If the sponsor objects to the determination as detailed in this section, the FO technician should:
Obtain a Request for Reconsideration (Form SSA-561-U2).
Terminate internal collection with a transaction code 71 via the Terminate Collection (DFTE) screen when a request for reconsideration is filed within 60 days of the date of the notice of the initial determination that Section 213A is applicable, as described in this section, see MS 01107.003 and SM 00610.516.
When the SSA-561 is received in the FO, follow instructions in MS
01106.019 to input the protest and stop recovery efforts.
When the SSA-561 is received in the PC, follow instructions in MS
01106.003 to input the protest and stop recovery efforts. Since the debt originated from SSI payments, transfer the appeal to the FO of jurisdiction for a determination.
Add DMS remarks stating the sponsor filed an appeal.
Consider any additional evidence and statements, including checking the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) for possible updated information or whether the sponsorship obligation has ended.
Make the reconsideration determination (SI 04020.000) using the same criteria that was used to make the initial determination. Also, review SI 00502.240. A technician who did not make the initial determination must complete the reconsideration determination.
Follow MS 011063.011 to input the reconsideration determination.
Notify the sponsor of your determination using a Notice of Reconsideration, Form SSA-L8457-CL.
Resume recovery efforts only after making an unfavorable reconsideration determination that reaffirms the determination made by the previous technician that a sponsor must repay SSI benefits using transaction code 77 via the DFRE screen, see MS 01107.005 and SM 00610.516.
If the sponsor objects to the prior appeal determination:
Obtain the next level of appeal form depending on the prior determination level.
Follow instructions in:
SI 04030.000 for Administrative Law Judge Hearings process
SI 04040.000 for Appeals Council Review process
NOTE: Continue recovery efforts if the sponsor requests further appeals, i.e., Hearing, Appeals Council, etc.
Because repayment by the sponsor is not an overpayment, do not apply overpayment waiver procedures to the amount the sponsor owes.
When the FO technician’s monthly tickle has alerted, the technician will verify the record to determine if a payment was received. Any remittances received should reflect on the ROAR under the sponsor’s record.
When the alien’s sponsor submits a payment:
Annotate the file.
Follow remittance processing procedures in GN 02403.001, MS 01103.001, DMS 003.001 - 9 and MSOM DMS 003.001 -10.
Annotate the MSSICS DROC or the 5002 that a remittance has been received. Include in the annotation:
the amount received and
the amount that remains to be repaid.
Do not delete the original debt amount the sponsor received notification for repayment.
Do not post a P-TAC (Manually Computed Overpayment). To prevent excess decisions, remittances from a sponsor must not be posted to the SSR, see SM
Follow the instruction in SI 02220.025, but even though these are being handled in a manner similar to overpayments, they are not overpayments and should not be treated as such. The PSC controls updating the ROAR as needed and MATPSC scans and processes the actual remittance.
When the sponsor cannot repay the full amount in one payment, the FO technician should:
Allow for repayment over a period of up to 12 months.
Require the sponsor to make the payments on a regular monthly basis.
Give the sponsor a sufficient number of payment stubs and return envelopes.
Set up manual control of the installment payments, per SI 02220.025.
NOTE: If agreed upon installment payments become delinquent, the debt will need to be referred to OFPO, see section SI 02220.065G.4 and 5.
When the sponsor does not respond to a repayment letter within 45 days (plus 5 days for mailing) of the confirmed delivery date, or the last known address is not a good address, the FO technician should take the following recovery actions:
Determine whether the sponsor received the letter (was it returned). If the sponsor did not receive the letter, attempt alternate means of service as suggested in this section.
Locate the sponsor by following SI 02220.051 or contact DHS for the sponsor's address per SI 00502.280D.2. If the sponsor did receive the notice, see instructions in SI 02220.065G.4.
If you are unable to locate the sponsor take the following actions,
Annotate the record to show efforts made to obtain the correct address;
Use a 5002 to list the latest status of the sponsor’s financial obligations of repayment;
Upload it into CEF/NDRED, and add a remark to the SSR;
Stop recovery efforts; and
Notify OFPO of your decision to stop recovery efforts.
A debt is delinquent on the 60th day after each repayment notice date if no action to repay has been taken.
When the sponsor is delinquent in repayment and no appeal is pending, the FO technician should:
Send a letter to the sponsor using a DPS notice shell, stating payment is past due;
Demand payment within 10 days; and
If no response is received, refer the case to OFPO, where OFPO refers the case to DOJ to pursue court action against the sponsor via the U.S. Department of the Treasury's (Treasury) Cross Servicing Program, if the sponsor:
Does not indicate a willingness to make repayment and the amount owed becomes delinquent, or
Fails to comply with the repayment terms established by SSA at any point.
The FO technician should send information to OFPO when the debt is delinquent, no appeal is pending, and:
There is no response to the requests for repayment; or
Sponsor refuses to repay or cooperate; or
There is a final civil judgment against the sponsor.
Notify OFPO via e-mail at ^DCBFM OFPO Delinquent Sponsored Alien.
Please include in the body of your e-mail the SSN of the Alien, the SSN of the Sponsor, debt established date, and the date of notice for repayment.
Referral for civil judgement to DOJ will be completed by OFPO via Treasury’s Cross Servicing Program for Sponsored Alien cases that meet the qualifications found in Section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
NOTE: Only for Sponsored Alien cases under Section 213A of the INA, does OFPO send the referral for civil judgment to DOJ via Treasury’s Cross Servicing Program. For all other civil judgment referrals, please follow SI 02220.035 and GN 02215.150.
For further instructions on procedures for after a referral has been sent to DOJ, see SI 02220.035B.3.