TN 132 (07-23)

GN 00204.026 When Not to Pursue an Open Application

A. Policy

Listed below are instances where the issue of an open application is not developed. These exceptions to pursuing the question of an open application are based on the assumption that the prior claim was handled properly. The possibility of open applications need not be pursued unless some payment would be due; e.g., work deductions do not preclude payment, or Medicare entitlement may be involved.

B. Procedure

1. General Rules

In title II cases, do not explore the possibility of an open application when:

  • the earlier claim was filed 02/01/79 or later;

  • the claimant does not want reduced benefits (“B” election), and a reduced benefit is possible based on the current application;

  • the claimant elects benefits to begin within the life of the current application (i.e., a “C” election);

  • the claimant does not want benefits adjudicated based on the open application; or

  • no payment or eligibility will result (e.g., work deductions preclude payment).

2. RIB Claims

Do not pursue RIB if the earlier claim:

  • resulted in spouse's benefits, the claimant has their own SSN, and the NH's MOET was not conditional.

  • was for WIB filed at age 62 or later had RIB excluded from its scope, or it was denied, if RIB was not awarded at the same time. It may also be assumed that an application for RIB had WIB excluded or denied if such benefits were not awarded at the time the claimant was a widow(er).

  • was for young spouse's benefits which ended when the last child attained age 16 (age 18 before 09/01/81).

Note: Where an earlier application was filed before 2/1/79, a particular class of benefits may have been closed out although it was not the one of primary focus at the time of adjudication. For example, an award of spouse's benefits or WIB may have included a notice of denial of RIB on the claimant's own ER.

Example: Sara Lewis filed for WIB in 1976 at age 65. The application was not restricted. At that time Sara was not insured for RIB on their own ER. They became insured in 1978 and filed an application. Sara's application for WIB did not protect their date of entitlement to RIB since they were not entitled to a RIB at the time they filed for WIB, and they would have been notified of nonentitlement on their own ER.


Do not pursue WIB or DWB if the earlier claim was a LSDP awarded before age 60, or age 50 if disabled.

4. Spouse's Benefits

Do not pursue spouse's benefits if the earlier claim was for RIB filed by a married person whose spouse was entitled to RIB and conditional MOET's were not involved.

5. Exception - SSI Cases

The limitations on title II retroactivity or title II open applications do not apply to SSI cases since the claimant is obligated to pursue as much retroactivity to other benefits as possible if they wish to establish or retain eligibility for SSI. In SSI total offset cases, although no payment would be due, the open application is pursued to meet the SSI statutory eligibility requirements.

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GN 00204.026 - When Not to Pursue an Open Application - 07/31/2023
Batch run: 07/31/2023