PURPOSE: To state the policy in adjudicating those cases where a public disability benefit which would otherwise cause offset is based on State or local employment or employment with an instrumentality of two or more States, which was not wholly covered for Social Security purposes.
CITATIONS (AUTHORITY): Section 224 of the Social Security Act.
PERTINENT HISTORY: Section 224 of the Social Security Act provides for the reduction of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) benefits when the worker is also entitled to workers' compensation payments and/or (beginning with claims where the month of entitlement is September 1981 or later and the disability onset was March 1,1 981, or later) other disability benefits under Federal, State, or local laws or plans (hereafter referred to as other "public disability benefits"). However, section 224(a)(2) further provides that certain other public disability benefits will not cause this reduction. (None of the exclusions apply to workers' compensation benefits.)
One such exclusion states that no offset will be caused by other public disability benefits based on State or local government service or service for an instrumentality of two or more States, "all, or substantially all," of which was covered by an agreement entered into under section 218 of the Act. This policy statement is intended to provide guidance in adjudicating those cases where a public disability benefit which would otherwise cause offset is based on State, or local, or multi-State instrumentality employment which was not wholly covered for Social Security purposes.
The Act, regulations, and the published legislative history do not indicate that amount would constitute "substantially all" for this purpose. Various reference sources, including Black's Law Dictionary, define "substantially" as "being largely, but not wholly that which is specified," "essentially," and" in the main." The specific language used in section 224(a)(2), however, is not just "substantially" but is "all, or substantially all."
This signifies that the Congress intended that the public disability benefit would be excluded from causing offset only where all of the State and local service was covered or only where an amount of such service closely approaching all was covered.
POLICY STATEMENT: In the absence of more definitive guidance from the Congress, it is reasonable to consider the "substantially all" requirement to be satisfied when 85 percent of the employment in question was covered by an agreement entered into pursuant to section 218 of the Social Security Act. This policy is justified by the following rationale:
EFFECTIVE DATE: This policy is effective September 1981, based on the effective date of legislation amending section 224.
CROSS-REFERENCES: Program Operations Manual System section DI A00203.005.B.
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