TN 14 (12-14)

RS 02650.040 Special Payment Procedures for Certain SSA-Restricted Countries

A. Introduction

Generally, SSA does not pay benefits to beneficiaries in certain countries because SSA, through the Department of State, has been unable to obtain written assurance of free access to claimants/beneficiaries and to vital statistics records from the appropriate officials in those countries.

However, in an effort to balance SSA’s need to assure the integrity of its payments to beneficiaries in those countries against its inability to get assurances of the needed access, SSA has implemented a special procedure that permits the payment of benefits to certain eligible beneficiaries in those countries. The lack of free access to beneficiaries and records limits the procedure to eligible beneficiaries who can handle their own benefits and can visit a Foreign Service post (FSP) in that country each month to have their existence and eligibility verified. It prevents the payment of benefits to representative payees for both adult and child beneficiaries.

The success and continuance of this procedure depends on the beneficiaries’ compliance with the conditions under which payment is made and the ability of the FSPs to handle the workloads and to notify SSA promptly of events that affect the payments.

This procedure applies to eligible beneficiaries in the following countries:

  • Azerbaijan

  • Belarus

  • Georgia

  • Kazakhstan

  • Kyrgyzstan

  • Moldova

  • Tajikistan

  • Turkmenistan

  • Ukraine

  • Uzbekistan

  • Vietnam.

B. Policy

1. General

An eligible beneficiary may receive payments (by check or direct deposit) while he or she is in one of the countries listed in RS 02650.040A if:

  • He or she agrees to the conditions (as explained in RS 02650.040B.2.) under which payment can be made;

  • The FSP having jurisdiction over his or her address agrees to handle his or her 3-month visits to that office and to notify SSA promptly of any events that could affect the payment of benefits; and

  • The payment of benefits is approved by the Office of International Programs (OIP).

2. Conditions under Which Payments May Be Made

Each eligible beneficiary must agree to the following conditions in order to receive benefits while in an SSA restricted country:

  • He or she must appear personally at the FSP every 3 months (effective January 1, 2015). At that time, proof of identity must be submitted. If the beneficiary’s benefits are paid by check, the check may be held by the FSP until the 3-month visit or the beneficiary may appear at the FSP monthly to receive the check. The check will not be given to anyone acting on his or her behalf nor will it be mailed.

  • If the beneficiary does not appear in person within 3 months, the check(s) will be returned to the Treasury Department. If he or she is paid by direct deposit, the FSP will notify SSA promptly and SSA will stop his or her benefits. Payments will not be resumed until he or she visits the FSP and establishes his or her continuing eligibility for benefits. Payment will be made for past months if the beneficiary establishes eligibility for them.

  • He or she will not be paid through a representative payee. Benefits will be suspended if the beneficiary becomes unable to manage his or her own affairs.

  • The beneficiary must notify the FSP promptly of any change in his or her citizenship and any change of address.

  • The beneficiary’s family must notify the FSP if he or she becomes incapacitated or dies.

  • A one-time lump-sum death payment (LSDP) can be made in the restricted country if the person meets all other factors of entitlement and eligibility for the LSDP, appears at the FSP to receive the check, provides proof of identity, and signs that they received the check.

C. Process

Each beneficiary, who wants to receive his or her benefits while living in one of the countries listed in RS 02650.040A must contact the nearest FSP to request payment when he moves to that country.

The FSP will interview the beneficiary and explain the conditions under which payment can be made. It must be sure the beneficiary understands these conditions and agrees to them. The beneficiary’s agreement need not be over his or her signature as long as the material the FSP sends to SSA shows that the conditions were explained and the beneficiary understands and agrees to them.

The FSP will assist the beneficiary in completing a Form SSA-21 (Supplement to Claim of Person Outside the United States) and will obtain current proof of his or her citizenship. The beneficiary may request payment by check or direct deposit to a financial institution outside the SSA-restricted country.

NOTE: The Form SSA-21 is required even if the person completed an iClaim application.

The FSP will prepare a statement for SSA showing the following information and any other information applicable to that specific case:

  • The SSN and name of the beneficiary and his or her residence address in that country;

  • The beneficiary wants to receive benefits while living in that country;

  • The beneficiary appeared in person at the FSP and submitted evidence of identity and citizenship. If the beneficiary is a U.S. citizen, a current U.S. passport was submitted;

  • The FSP has verified that the beneficiary’s current citizenship;

Comment: Depending on the length of time the beneficiary has resided in that country, the FSP may obtain additional information or evidence to verify current citizenship,

  • The conditions for receipt of monthly benefits have been explained to the beneficiary and he or she understands and agrees to them.

The statement is attached to the SSA-21 and copies of any other documents submitted by the beneficiary. Send to a designated analyst in the Office of International Operations (OIO), OCO, for forwarding to OIP.

OIP reviews the material and advises OIO whether payment can be made to the beneficiary. OIP keeps a record of all the requests it receives and the action taken on each.

If payments approved, the beneficiary’s address on the MBR is shown as that of the FSP and his or her actual residence address is shown in a Special Message.

D. Procedure

1. General

If a beneficiary contacts SSA and asks whether he or she can be paid benefits if he or she moves to one of the countries listed in RS 02650.040A explain that while benefits are not routinely made to beneficiaries in that country, payments may be possible under the special procedure.

  • Explain the procedure to him or her.

  • Tell the beneficiary that, if he or she believes that he or she may qualify for payment, he or she should contact the nearest FSP when he or she moves to that country and tell them that he or she wants to receive his or her Social Security benefits while in that country. (See FSPs for information on the location of these countries.)

  • DO NOT tell the beneficiary that benefits will, or will not, be paid to him or her when he or she moves. Advise him or her that a decision on whether benefits will be payable can only be made after he or she moves to one of the countries to which the procedure applies.

In considering whether a beneficiary will be eligible for benefits outside the U.S., be sure to consider the applicability of the alien nonpayment provisions, as explained in RS 02610.000.

NOTE: As shown in RS 02610.015C, citizens of the countries listed in RS 02650.040A cannot meet the social insurance (exception code 6), treaty (exception code 5) or the 10 years/40 credits (exceptions codes 3 and 4) exception to the alien nonpayment provisions.

2. Change of Address to an SSA-Restricted Country

If the beneficiary is moving to one of the countries listed in RS 02650.040A, handle the case under the normal procedures for beneficiaries moving to an SSA-restricted country. Advise the beneficiary that if he or she is paid benefits under the conditions of the special procedure, he or she will receive payments for any months benefits were suspended if he or she was eligible for those benefits.

3. Foreign Enforcement Questionnaire (FEQ)

SSA sends the FSP an FEQ (SSA-7162-OCR-SM) for completion by the beneficiary. When he or she comes to pick up the check or to have identity verified, the FSP assists the beneficiary in completing the FEQ and then returns it to SSA in the envelope provided. See RS 02655.001 through RS 02655.005 for more information about the FEQ.

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
RS 02650.040 - Special Payment Procedures for Certain SSA-Restricted Countries - 12/29/2014
Batch run: 12/29/2014