TN 61 (09-21)

GN 00502.302 Processing Criminal Background Check Work Issues on Payees

CITATIONS: Social Security Act as amended, section 205(j), 1631(a)(2)

A. Background

Section 202 of, the Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2018 (SPSSBA), Public Law 115-165, requires us to:

  • conduct criminal background checks on payee applicants;

  • prohibit the selection of certain payee applicants with a felony conviction of committing, attempting, or conspiring to commit certain crimes;

  • conduct criminal background checks on all currently serving payees who do not meet one of the exceptions set out in the law, and remove and replace those with a felony conviction of committing, attempting, or conspiring to commit certain crimes; and

  • conduct ongoing criminal background checks, at least once every five years, on all currently serving payees who do not meet one of the exceptions set out in the law.

B. Policy for Criminal Background Checks on Payees

Section 202 of the SPSSBA, bars an individual from serving as payee if convicted of any of the felony crimes listed in GN 00502.133A.4, unless the individual is the:

  • custodial parent of the minor child for whom the individual applies to serve;

  • custodial spouse of the beneficiary for whom the individual applies to serve;

  • custodial parent of an adult beneficiary who has a disability which began before the beneficiary attained age 22, for whom the individual applies to serve;

  • custodial court appointed guardian of a beneficiary for whom the individual applies to serve;

  • custodial grandparent of the minor grandchild for whom the individual applies to serve;

  • parent who was previously the payee for his or her minor child who has since turned 18 and continues to be eligible for benefits; or

  • recipient of a presidential or gubernatorial pardon for the conviction.

C. Procedure for Processing Criminal Background Check Work Issues on Payees

Field Offices (FO) will receive criminal work issues in the electronic Representative Payee System (eRPS) Workload Management, when we receive criminal information through our eRPS criminal background check. Management or other designated staff must assign the criminal work issues.

The types of criminal work issues are:

  • VRFCRM - when a payee has criminal history after the criminal background check and the criminal history needs verification.

  • FELONY - when a payee has a felony crime conviction.

  • CRM202 - when a payee has a barred crime conviction.

  • PYE202 - when a payee has not responded to the eRPS Come-in/Call-in notice or the DPS Call-in notice.

1. Processing a VRFCRM Work Issue

Use the following steps to process a VRFCRM work issue:

  1. 1. 

    Review the criminal information on the Criminal Background Check Results screen (MS 07410.007) in eRPS.

  2. 2. 

    Attempt to contact the payee by telephone to verify the criminal information. If you cannot reach the payee on the first telephone attempt, make a second attempt on a different business day. Document your telephone attempts on the Report of Contact Details screen (MS 07416.002).

  3. 3. 

    When speaking with the payee:

    1. a. 

      verify the payee's relationship with the beneficiaries the payee serves; and

    2. b. 

      explain to the payee the criminal information provided in the background check. Follow the steps in GN 00502.117B.3 to verify the payees criminal information.

  4. 4. 

    After you review the payee's criminal history, select the "Unverified" link on the Criminal Background Check Results screen. If you cannot verify the payee's criminal history, follow the instructions in GN 00502.117B.3.a.

  5. 5. 

    Answer all the questions on the Criminal History Verification screen (MS 07410.008).

  6. 6. 

    If the crime is a barred crime, select the appropriate barred crime from the drop down box.

If you cannot contact the payee by telephone, you must send the automated eRPS Come-in/Call-in notice or the DPS Call-in notice requesting contact within 15 days. To send the automated eRPS notice, select the "Request Come-In/Call-In Notice" tab on the Come-In/Call-In Notice - Criminal History screen (MS 07410.011).

NOTE: In rare instances, a payee with a foreign address will require a DPS Call-in notice. For these cases, you must create a 15 day tickle within the VRFCRM work issue. If the payee does not respond within the 15 day timeframe, you must remove the payee.

If the payee indicates a crime on the background check is erroneous, follow the instruction in GN 00502.117B.3.c.

2. Processing a FELONY Work Issue

After verifying a payee's criminal history on the Criminal History Verification screen (MS 07410.008), you will receive a FELONY work issue if one of the crimes is a felony and not one of the barred crimes listed in GN 00502.133A.3. Use the following steps to process this work issue:

  1. 1. 

    Determine if the payee is still suitable. A payee with criminal history is a questionable payee and should only continue serving if the criteria in GN 00502.132A.2 is met.

  2. 2. 

    Go to the Payee Retention Decision - Criminal History screen (MS 07410.009) and select the "Decision" link.

  3. 3. 

    Answer the "Is a change of payee needed?" question.

  4. 4. 

    If you retain the payee, check and document the reasons for retaining the payee. If you remove the payee, develop for a new payee or consider direct payee for the beneficiary by following the steps in GN 00502.000 Determining the Need for, Developing and Selecting a Representative Payee.

3. Processing a CRM202 Work Issue

After verifying a payee's criminal history on the Criminal History Verification screen (MS 07410.008), you will receive a CRM202 work issue if the payee has a barred crime conviction listed in GN 00502.133A.3. Use the following steps to process this work issue:

  1. 1. 

    Go to the Payee Retention Decision - Criminal History screen (MS 07410.009) and select the “Make Decision” link.

  2. 2. 

    You must remove the payee from serving any beneficiaries they serve where the payee does not meet one of the exceptions as outlined in GN 00502.302B in this section.

  3. 3. 

    Develop for a new payee or consider direct payment for the beneficiary by following the steps in GN 00502.000 Determining the Need for, Developing and Selecting a Representative Payee.

4. Processing a PYE202 Work Issue

When a payee does not respond to an eRPS Come-in/Call-in notice or DPS Call-in notice within 15 days, you will receive the PYE202 work issue. Use the following steps to process this work issue:

  1. 1. 

    Go to the Payee Retention Decision - Criminal History screen (MS 07410.009) and select the “Make Decision” link.

  2. 2. 

    You must remove the payee from serving any beneficiaries they serve where the payee does not meet one of the exceptions as outlined in GN 00502.302B in this section.

  3. 3. 

    Develop for a new payee or consider direct payment for the beneficiary by following the steps in GN 00502.000 Determining the Need for, Developing and Selecting a Representative Payee.

D. References

GN 00502.110 - Taking Applications in the eRPS

GN 00502.117 - Verifying Information Provided by the Payee or Payee Applicant

GN 00502.132 - Selecting a Qualified Representative Payee

GN 00502.133 - Payee Applicant is a Felon or Fugitive or Has Been Convicted of Other Criminal Act

GN 00502.301 - State and Territory Digest of Crimes Barring an Individual from Serving as Payee

MS 07410.007 - Criminal Background Check Results screen

MS 07410.008 - Criminal History Verification screen

MS 07410.009 - Payee Retention Decision - Criminal History screen

MS 07410.010 - View Update Payee Retention Decision screen

MS 07410.011 - Come-In/Call-in Notice - Criminal History screen

MS 07410.012 - Payee Retention Decision History screen


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200502302
GN 00502.302 - Processing Criminal Background Check Work Issues on Payees - 09/17/2021
Batch run: 09/17/2021
Rev:09/17/2021