TN 128 (07-23)

GN 00204.047 Changing the Month of Election (MOEL) or Month of Entitlement (MOET)

A. Policy on changing the MOEL

Claimants with conditional MOEL codes “A” or “B” can request to change the MOEL date at any time if we have not made an initial determination (i.e., annual earnings verification still pending). For information about conditional MOEL, see GN 00204.040. The MOEL is the claimant’s personal decision; therefore, accept any request for an MOEL change even when there is no apparent reason for doing so. However, do not raise the issue of changing the MOEL unless the claimant:

  • inquires about changing the MOEL; or

  • requests a change on their record (e.g., earnings estimate, suspension of benefits), which grants an explanation of Social Security program information and its outcome.

You must always inform the claimant of the available options so they can make an informed decision. If the claimant has a question in connection with benefit payments from another agency or organization, advise them to contact that entity first to find out what effect the change in MOEL would have on those payments. Also, inform the claimant about the automatic MOEL adjustment to January of the following year when their record is in full work deductions.

B. Policy on changing the MOET

Claimants with a MOET can also request to change the MOET date. However, since we made an initial determination when we adjudicated the application, the claimant must:

  • Submit a written request to reopen the prior MOET determination. We will then review the request and consider the rules of administrative finality to determine if reopening is possible. For information about reopening, refer to GN 04001.001; or

  • File a request to withdraw the application and re-file later if they want a prospective MOET, which has not arrived at the time of the request. The MOET will then be determined using the new filing date and normal rules of retroactivity. For information about withdrawals, refer to GN 00206.001.

C. Requirements for changing the MOEL or MOET

A number holder’s (NH) request to change the MOEL or MOET is a request for all other beneficiaries entitled on that SSN. No consent statements are required in situations where the requested change does not adversely affects all entitled beneficiaries. However, if the change adversely affects the benefits of another beneficiary, you must obtain written consent from that person or the authorized representative. Do not request consent from independently entitled divorced spouses or auxiliaries technically entitled on the record since the change does not adversely affect them.

The claimant may request to change the MOEL or MOET if they meet all of the following requirements:

  1. 1. 

    The claimant files a written request for a change or reopening as appropriate which includes:

    • the MOEL or MOET requested,

    • the benefit information (SSN, claimant's name), and

    • a clear understanding of the effect of the decision.

  2. 2. 

    The claimant is alive when the request is filed;

  3. 3. 

    We obtain a written consent from any other person whose entitlement would be adversely affected by the change;

  4. 4. 

    The claimant repays any benefit amounts received (if request is approved), which would not have been payable because of the change;

  5. 5. 

    The month elected is from any month within the retroactive life of the application up to the month the claimant submitted the request; and

  6. 6. 

    The claimant submits proper evidence (if needed) supporting the change (e.g., earnings or relationship evidence if auxiliary claimants are involved).

D. Procedure for changing the MOEL or MOET

Follow these steps when you receive a request for MOEL change or MOET reopening request:

Field office (FO) procedure

Processing Center (PC) procedure

Review the request to ensure it has all of the information described in GN 00204.047C in this section

Review the request to determine if the request is for a MOEL change or MOET reopening.

Obtain the required:

  • evidence (if needed); and

  • consents (or refusals) from any beneficiaries affected by the MOEL or MOET change.

NOTE: If any beneficiary refuses to consent to a change, deny the request.

MOEL change request:

  • change the MOEL as requested; and

  • adjust any incorrect payments up to the month we process the request.

MOET reopening request:

  • review the request as per GN 04001.001D.3. and the rules of administrative finale per GN 04001.000 to determine if the request can be approved; and

  • deny the request if reopening cannot be approved.

If the MOEL or MOET request can be approved, then recover any incorrect payment balance by:

  • suspending benefits (S-9);

  • notifying the beneficiary(ies) of the repayment amount; and

  • setting a 60-day diary to control the repayment.

Explain to the claimant that we:

  • require repayment of incorrect payments before changing the MOEL or MOET; and

  • must consider the rules of administrative finality to determine if reopening is possible.


NOTE: Accept any refund a claimant offers or a benefit check that can be returned to treasury. For Procedures for Handling Remittances and Premium Payments in the Field Office, see GN 02403.000.

If there is no receipt of repayment after 60 days:

  • deny the MOEL change or MOET reopening request;

  • resume benefits;

  • notify the claimant(s) of the resumption; and

  • explain why we denied the request.

Fax the written MOEL change or MOET reopening request along with any other related materials into the paperless system of the proper processing center (PC) for action. using an SSA-409 coversheet. Follow normal telephone protocol for any follow-ups to PC.

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
GN 00204.047 - Changing the Month of Election (MOEL) or Month of Entitlement (MOET) - 01/12/2010
Batch run: 07/28/2023