GN 00504: Suspensions for Payee Development and Other Payee Actions
TN 15 (02-10)
A. Identifying fugitive felon representative payees
To identify currently serving payees who subsequently become “fugitive felons,” SSA uses the criminal data received from the fugitive felon benefit payment match (refer to GN 02613.000 and SI 00530.000.) Beginning November 19, 2005, fugitive felon data (parole or probation data is not matched) is matched against the Electronic Representative Payee System (eRPS) to detect those persons with an unsatisfied felony warrant who are actively serving or who have a pending rep payee application before SSA. Effective April 04, 2009, only outstanding felony warrants for offense codes 4901, 4902, and 4999 are passed against the eRPS.
B. Policy for representative payees with felony warrants
As stated in GN 00502.133 (Payee Applicant is a Felon or Fugitive or Has Been Convicted of Other Criminal Act), effective April 1, 2005, SSA prohibits a person from serving as a representative payee if that person has an outstanding felony warrant. Effective April 1, 2009 (Martinez, et al. v. Astrue), SSA prohibits a person from serving as a representative payee if that person has an outstanding felony warrant issued for one of the following three offenses: Escape from Custody (offense code 4901), Flight to Avoid prosecution, confinement, etc. (offense code 4902), and Flight-Escape (offense code 4999) (or equivalent).
The representative payment provisions of the law differ from the fugitive felon benefit nonpayment and suspension provisions: they do not automatically disqualify parole or probation violators nor do they include good cause exceptions.
If a warrant is satisfied (i.e., dismissed, apprehended, etc.), the individual is no longer considered a fugitive felon, and therefore, he or she is no longer barred from serving as a representative payee. However, you must consider whether the payee’s prior criminal history casts doubt on his or her continued suitability. For additional felony warrant information, see GN 00504.102D. For additional information concerning fugitive felons, refer to GN 02613.000 and SI 00530.000. It is important to remember that current law also restricts when SSA can suspend benefits to a beneficiary while developing for a (new) payee (refer to GN 00504.110). The law was intended to protect beneficiaries from the harm due to not having access to their benefits. Therefore, it is necessary that SSA quickly develop for a replacement payee when removing a fugitive felon payee.
C. Process for eRPS/FF match alert
If you receive a eRPS/FF match alert, you must initiate action to replace or suspend that payee. For advance notice requirements, see GN 00504.102E.
REMEMBER: Advance notice requirements can be satisfied during a personal contact with the payee as you develop for a new payee or by sending a letter.
1. New payee found
To find and develop a suitable payee, refer to GN 00502.100. If you are able to quickly locate and secure an application from a suitable payee, process the application using procedures provided in MS INTRANETERPS 001.001. However, before processing the selection of the new payee, manually terminate the fugitive felon payee's relationship in the eRPS for reason “OTH” and specify “FUGITIVE FELON” (refer to MS INTRANETERPS 010.003).
2. No payee found
If you are unable to quickly locate a successor payee, consider direct payment to the beneficiary as provided in GN 00504.105. If direct payment is prohibited and you are unable to locate a suitable successor payee, suspend benefits. For T2 cases, suspend using the Develop for Rep Payee (DPYE) screen, reason “fugitive felon”. For T16 cases, suspend for reason S08 (payee not qualified) and add a statement in the remarks field of the Supplemental Security Record (SSR) that the payee was suspended due to the fugitive felon provisions.
D. Procedure for rep payees with satisfied felony warrants
SSA prohibits individuals from serving as a rep payee if they have an unsatisfied felony warrant with offense codes 4901, 4902, or 4999. If the felony warrant is now satisfied (i.e., dismissed, individual was arrested), the individual is no longer prohibited from serving as payee. For additional information on the closure of a warrant see GN 02613.010A. However, his or her prior criminal history may cast doubt on his or her continued suitability as a payee. You must consider this criminal history and determine if the payee is still a suitable choice. Update the warrant disposition in the Fugitive Felon SSA Control File (FFSCF). Refer to MSOM PRISON 006.003 and MS INTRANETERPS 020.019.
E. Procedure for advance notice
The Fugitive Felon Computer Matching Agreements (under CMPPA) require that if you use data from this match, SSA must provide the individual (the fugitive felon) with advance notice before taking an adverse action. (However since the benefits belong to the beneficiary and not the payee, appeal rights are not applicable).
The advance notice advises the fugitive felon that we received information showing that he or she has an unsatisfied felony warrant and is not permitted to serve as payee. This advance notification can be verbal if you speak to the payee during the investigation or it can be by letter. If advance notice is provided verbally, document the Make Note screen (MS INTRANETERPS 015.002 and MS INTRANETERPS 015.003.B) screen indicating that you provided verbal notice. If advance notice is mailed, allow 10 days before processing.
The Rep Payee Fugitive Felon Match Advance Notice is now contained in Document Processing System (DPS).
F. Procedure for documenting the Make Note screen
Annotate the Make Note screen with the information from the FF alert investigation. If the payee was terminated because of the unsatisfied felony warrant (or equivalent), indicate such along with the date. If you determine the warrant is satisfied (i.e. dismissed, individual was arrested), annotate the Make Note screen with a statement indicating what information was obtained or used to make that decision. If you determine a change of payee is not needed, document your reasons and clear the work issue in the eRPS using the appropriate reason (MS INTRANETERPS 008.008).