BASIC (02-89)

SI 02205.001 Responsibility for Repayment in SSI Sponsor/Alien Caused Overpayments

A. Policy Principles

1. General

  1. A sponsor is “jointly and severally liable” with the alien for the repayment of any SSI overpayment made to the alien during the 3-year period after his/her admission for permanent residence in the United States that resulted from the sponsor's failure to provide correct information regarding his/her own income and resources and the income and resources of his or her living with spouse, if any.

    “Jointly and severally liable” means that the alien and the alien's sponsor are responsible together and individually for the repayment of the overpayment.

  2. In addition, relieve a sponsor of repayment liability if good cause existed for his or her failureto provide information regarding his or her income and resources.

  3. Find good causewith respect to the sponsor to exist when the failure to supply correct information was not willful.

2. Adjustment of Title II and/or Title XVI Payments

When refund has not been made, adjust future title II or title XVI benefits due either the sponsor or the alien to recover any outstanding sponsor-caused overpayment (assuming waiver of recovery has not been approved).

B. Operating Policy

1. Sponsor is Alien's Representative Payee

When the sponsor is also the alien's representative payee, follow SI 02201.021 for overpayments caused by factors other than deeming of the sponsor's income and resources.

2. Sponsor is not Responsible

  1. When the failureto provide correct information was not willful.

  2. Willful failuremeans the sponsor intentionally failed to supply complete and correct information regarding his/her income and resources. If willful failure exists, fraud development may be appropriate (GN 04110.010). If the sponsor questions his/her liability see SI 02205.005.

3. Multiple Cause Overpayments

When more than one event has contributed to the creation of an overpayment, the alien will be liable for the repayment of the entire overpaid amount. The sponsor will be liable for only the portion resulting from his/her failure to provide information regarding his/her own income and resources. If the sponsor is also the alien's representative payee, see B.1, above.

4. Recovery Priority

Recovery priority is determined by the SSI payment status of the alien.

a. Current Eligibility

When the overpaid alien remains in current payment status (PSY = C01), first attempt to recover the entire overpayment from him/her.

Attempt recovery from the sponsor only when a waiver of recovery is approved with regard to the alien, and the sponsor is liable.

b. No Current Eligibility

When the overpaid alien is in nonpayment status, attempt recovery from both the alien and his/her sponsor, if liable.

C. Operating Procedures

1. Sponsor/Alien Overpayment

a. Amount of Responsibility in Multiple Cause Overpayments

Calculate the respective portions of the overpayment for which the sponsor and/or alien are liable for repayment as follows;

  • Determine the total amount of the overpaymentmade to the alien.

  • Determine what the overpaid amount would have beenif only the sponsor-caused event had occurred (i.e., make a “trial computation” of the overpayment correcting only the sponsor's deemable income or resources). The sponsor and alien are jointly and severally liable for repayment of this amount.

  • The differencebetween the total amounts in a. and b. is the portion of the overpayment for which the alien is solely liable for repayment.

  • See example D.1., below.

b. Notification

  • Notify the alien using the instructions in SI 02220.010 and SI 02201.025. In nonpayment situations, input notice supression per SM 01301.675 to prevent issuance of an automated overpayment notice. Include the following at the end of the caption “How to Pay us Back” on the “Notice of Overpayment” (SSA-L8171):

    “If you do not pay back this money, we must withhold it from any future Social Security or SSI benefits that you may receive.”

  • Notify the sponsor of the determination of the overpayment and his liability for repayment by using regular letterhead stationary, and the language in SI 02205.005D., Exhibit 3. A complete sample notice is in E.2.

c. Alien Refuses to Repay or Recovery of Alien's Overpayment is Waived - Multiple Sponsors

If recovery is waived with respect to the alien or the alien refuses to repay, do not attempt recovery from the sponsors. Instead, forward the case to the Regional Office, assistance program branch, which then will contact the Office of Supplemental Security Income for review and processing directions.

2. Adjustment of Future Payments to Recover Alien/Sponsor Overpayments

a. Current Title XVI Adjustment Available - Alien

Adjust the alien's title XVI payments if eligibility exists and waiver of recovery has not been approved. (See SI 02220.016).

b. Current Title II Available - Alien

NOTE: Because of court orders, do not propose or initiate cross program adjustment in Pennsylvania or New York State.

  • Adjust the alien's title II benefits when:

    The alien is in SSI nonpayment status; and

    Recovery efforts up to, but excluding, Department of Justice (DOJ) referral have not been successful; and

    After notification of the proposed adjustment, a refund is not made.

  • Before adjusting the alien's title II payments, send him/her an SSA-L8166-U2 stating:

    That SSA has the authority to initiate adjustment of his or her title II payments;

    The proposed rate of adjustment (see GN 02210.010 when selecting a rate of adjustment); and

    If a full refund is not received within 10 days of the date of the notice, adjustment will begin.

  • If a refund is not received within 15 days of the date of the notice (allowing 5 mail days), send a memorandum (SSA-2520-U4) to the appropriate processing center requesting adjustment. Select the rate of adjustment based on GN 02210.010. (See SI 02220.020 for cross-program adjustment.)

    Type in the “Description of Problem” block: “IMPORTANT: Mandatory adjustment of title II benefits per SI 02205.001. No recipient request required as alien recipient has refused to repay title XVI overpayment caused by sponsor deeming.”

    Code the alien recipient's title XVI record with K TAC per SM 01311.255. Additionally, the following code should be input to the alien's record using the Case Characteristic field of the SSA-1719B: C002.

c. Current Title XVI Available - Sponsor

  • Adjust the sponsor'stitle XVI payments when:

    The sponsor is liable for repayment;

    Recovery efforts up to, but excluding, DOJ referral are not successful; and

    After notification of the proposed adjustment, a refund is not made.

  • Before adjustingthe sponsor's title XVI payments, send him or her an SSA-L8166-U2 stating:

    That SSA has the authority to initiate the adjustment of his or her title XVI payments;

    The proposed rate of adjustment (see GN 02210.010 when selecting a rate of adjustment);

    The effective date of the adjustment; and

    If a full refund is not received within 10 days of the date of the notice, adjustment will begin.

  • If a refund is not received within 15 daysof the date of the notice (allowing 5 mail days), input the overpaid amounton the sponsor's record using the instructions for the “P-TAC” (SM 01311.300) and “D TAC's” (SM 01311.120).

  • Code thesponsor's and the alien's recordswith the C003 in the Case Characteristic field of the SSA-1719B.

d. Current Title II or Title XVI Adjustment Is Not Available

The procedure is the same for both the alien and his/her sponsor. Discontinue collection if:

  • Recovery has not been waived; and

  • Recovery efforts up to, but excluding, DOJ referral have not been successful.

Input a collect decision (“D TAC”) and a Case Characteristic code of C004 on the liable individual's record. These inputs will identify the case for adjustment of benefits if such adjustment becomes possible in the future.

D. Examples

  1. Example 1

1. Examples - Where Alien and Sponsor are not Equally Responsible

  • A sponsored alien not living in his sponsor's home was overpaid $858 for July 1988-December 1988. During that period, the alien received an SSI payment of $254 per month based on the determination that he was living in his own household and was receiving $120 monthly deemed income:

 $ 354Federal benefit rate (1/88 rate)
-$ 100Alien's countable income:
   $120 Monthly deemed income minus
       
   $ 20 General income exclusion
 $ 254SSI payment amount
  • Contributing to the overpayment were: (1) the alien's living arrangement in May-October should have been coded B instead of A, and (2) the amount of income deemed from the sponsor for the period May-October should have been $145 per month.

    In order to figure the portion of the overpayment for which the alien is solely liable, and the portion of the overpayment for which the sponsor and the alien are jointly and severally liable, compute the overpayment as follows:

    Step 1: Total Amount of Overpayment

 $1524Total amount paid during overpayment period ($254 ×6 = $1524)
 -$ 666Total amount due ($354 FBR minus $243 countable income ($145 deemed income minus $20 general exclusion plus $118 VTR = $243)
     = $111 ×6 = $666)
 $ 858Total overpayment
  • Step 2: Sponsor-Caused Overpayment

 $1524Total amount paid during overpayment period
-$1374Amount due based on the correct deemed income without regard to the incorrect living arrangements ($354 - ($145 - 20) = $229 ×6 = $1374)
      
 $ 150Sponsor-caused overpayment

Step 3: Alien Sole Responsibility

 $ 858Total overpayment
-$ 150Sponsor-caused overpayment
 $ 708Alien solely responsible for repayment
  1. Example 2

    A sponsored alien received an SSI payment of $234 a month from July 1988 through December 1988.

 $ 354Federal benefit rate
-$ 120Alien's countable income
  ($140 monthly deemed income minus $20 general exclusion = $120)
      
 $ 234SSI payment
  • In December, the FO discovers that: (1) the amount of income deemed from the sponsor should have been $178 a month beginning July, and (2) beginning October the alien started receiving $200 a month as a gift from a relative. The total overpayment is $708; however, the sponsor is responsible for repayment of only $228 of the overpayment.

    Step 1: Total Amount of Overpayment

 $1404Total amount actually paid during overpayment period ($234 × 6 = $1404)
-$ 588Total amount due ($354 FBR minus $158 deemed income ($178 - $20 = $158) = $196 ×3 = $588 for July through September plus zero for October through December when he was ineligible.)
      
 $ 816Total overpayment
  • Step 2: Sponsor-Caused Overpayment

 $1404Total amount paid during overpayment period
-$1176Amount due based on the correct deemed amount without regard to the other unearned income ($354 FBR minus $158 deemed income ($178 - $20 = $158) = $196 ×6 = $1176)
      
 $ 228Sponsor-caused overpayment
  • Step 3: Alien Sole Responsibility

 $ 816Total overpayment
-$ 228Sponsor-caused overpayment
$ 588Alien solely responsibility for repayment
  • Although the alien is ineligible due to excess income for October through December, the sponsor will not be responsible for the repayment of the entire overpayment. The sponsor's income, in and of itself, did not make the alien ineligible; only in conjunction with the other unearned income did the alien become ineligible. Therefore, the sponsor is responsible only for the portion of the overpayment resulting from his deemed income.

2. Example - Alien and Sponsor Share Equal Responsibility

An aged sponsored alien becomes eligible for SSI effective August 1987. Based on information received from the sponsor and verified with INS, no income or resources are deemed to the alien. The alien's SSI payment is $340 a month. In February 1988, the alien informs the FO that (1) she began work in November 1987 and receives $220 a month in wages, and (2) that the sponsor has vacation property that has never been reported as a resource. The value of the resource makes the alien ineligible effective August 1987.

Although the alien's wages create an overpayment, the ineligibility due to excess resources supersedes this subsequent event; therefore, the alien and sponsor share responsibility for repayment of the entire overpayment.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0502205001
SI 02205.001 - Responsibility for Repayment in SSI Sponsor/Alien Caused Overpayments - 07/11/2012
Batch run: 07/11/2012
Rev:07/11/2012