HI 01001.360 Good Cause Defined

A. Definition

“Good cause” will be found when the enrollee establishes by a credible statement, not contradicted by any evidence available to the adjudicating office, that failure to pay premiums within the normal period resulted from conditions over which the enrollee had no control, or which they could not reasonably be expected to guard against, considering their education, competence, health, and any other pertinent circumstances. For example, good cause would be found if payment was late because the enrollee was mentally or physically unable to make the payment on time and no one was acting on their behalf to protect their interests; or because they had some reasonable basis for his belief that the payment had been made when actually, it had not; or because of some administrative fault or error, e.g., billing notices were misaddressed and thus, not received.

Straitened circumstances or poverty do not constitute good cause per se; a person enrolling is expected to take into account their ability to pay premiums. On the other hand, a financial emergency arising because of unavoidable and unexpected circumstances might constitute good cause. A reasonable doubt should be resolved in favor of a good cause finding, especially if the enrollee has not previously been late in making payment. However, each good cause determination is based on the pertinent facts in the particular case, including previous extensions granted.

B. Examples of Good Cause Situations

  1. 1. 

    Because of their senility, an enrollee's secretary looked after their affairs, including the payment of SMI premiums. When the secretary left to take another position, several months elapsed before another secretary took her place. In the interim, the enrollee's initial grace period for payment of premiums elapsed and their SMI coverage was terminated. Shortly after starting work and prior to the expiration of the extended grace period, the new secretary discovered the premium notices and the notice of termination and immediately sent to the PSC a check for all premiums due together with a full explanation. Good cause will be found.

  2. 2. 

    An enrollee went on vacation for several months immediately after they enrolled. Since they lived alone, they made arrangements with their landlady to pay their bills, and left the necessary funds with her. However, she failed to pay their premiums, and by the time the enrollee returned home, their SMI coverage had been terminated. They contacted the DO, explained their situation, and requested an extension until the end of the following month—the last day of the extended period. Upon payment of their premiums at (or before) that time, good cause would be found and their SMI coverage would be reinstated. If, however, they failed to tender payment (or be entitled to benefits from which the premium could be deducted) before the end of the extended period, good cause would not be found and the termination would stand.

C. Relief Required Because of Administrative Fault

These instructions apply in all good cause cases, including cases in which delay in payment was caused by administrative error. The procedures in HI 01001.295 and 01001.305 remain applicable only in those situations when administrative fault or error prevented the enrollee from paying their premiums within the extended grace period; e.g., the enrollee did not receive timely billings or the notice of termination and the error is not discovered until shortly before the end of the extended period or the extended period has expired.


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http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0601001360
HI 01001.360 - <Quote>Good Cause</Quote> Defined - 03/15/1999
Batch run: 06/23/2021
Rev:03/15/1999