TN 3 (09-17)

GN 02301.001 Definition of an Underpayment


Social Security Act (the Act), Section 204 and 205;
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 404.501 and 404.503

An “underpayment” is any monthly benefit amount (or part of a monthly benefit amount) that is due to a person but has not been paid.

A. What is an underpayment

An underpayment occurs in the following circumstances:

  • an accrued benefit amount was not paid,

  • a check(s) representing correct payment to a deceased beneficiary was not negotiated, or

  • an issued payment was returned or not received.

B. What is not an underpayment

The following are not underpayments:

  • Lump-sum death payments;

  • Excess SMI premiums;

  • Medicare benefits;

  • Conserved funds:

  • Misused funds;

  • Economic recovery payments; and

  • Electronic fund transfer (EFT) payments made before the beneficiary’s death and returned by the financial institution after the beneficiary’s death. These are part of the estate and not underpayments.

NOTE: If a payee returns conserved or misused funds to the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the beneficiary dies before we re-certify the funds to the beneficiary or a new representative payee, we can pay the funds to the legal representative of the beneficiary’s estate. For policy on payment of conserved funds to the beneficiary’s estate, see subsection GN 00603.055B.5. For policy on payment of misused funds to the beneficiary’s estate, see GN 00604.060D.

C. Related references

  • GN 02210.001 Adjustment of Overpayments

  • GN 02210.006 Adjustment of Benefits Due the Overpaid Individual

  • GN 02301.065 Overpayment Involved and the Underpaid Beneficiary is Deceased

  • GN 02330.015 Refund of Excess Medicare Premiums—Voluntary Termination

  • GN 02408.650 Title II Beneficiary Receiving EFT Payments Dies After the End of the Month but Before the Payment Date

  • GN 02820.050 Economic Recovery Payment (ERP) Payment Information

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GN 02301.001 - Definition of an Underpayment - 09/14/2017
Batch run: 09/14/2017