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Part B—Procedural and General Provisions

PAYMENTS AND PROCEDURES[70]

Payment of Benefits

Sec1631[42 U.S.C. 1383] (a)(1) Benefits under this title shall be paid at such time or times and (subject to paragraph (10)) in such installments as will best effectuate the purposes of this title, as determined under regulations (and may in any case be paid less frequently than monthly where the amount of the monthly benefit would not exceed $10).

(2)(A)(i) Payments of the benefit of any individual may be made to any such individual or to the eligible spouse (if any) of such individual or partly to each.

(ii)(I) Upon a determination by the Commissioner of Social Security that the interest of such individual would be served thereby, such payments shall be made, regardless of the legal competency or incompetency of the individual or eligible spouse, to another individual, or an organization, with respect to whom the requirements of subparagraph (B) have been met (in this paragraph referred to as such individual’s “representative payee”) for the use and benefit of the individual or eligible spouse.

(II) In the case of an individual eligible for benefits under this title by reason of disability, the payment of such benefits shall be made to a representative payee if the Commissioner of Social Security determines that such payment would serve the interest of the individual because the individual also has an alcoholism or drug addiction condition (as determined by the Commissioner) and the individual is incapable of managing such benefits.

(iii) If the Commissioner of Social Security or a court of competent jurisdiction determines that the representative payee of an individual or eligible spouse has misused any benefits which have been paid to the representative payee pursuant to clause (ii) or section 205(j)(1) or 807, the Commissioner of Social Security shall promptly terminate payment of benefits to the representative payee pursuant to this subparagraph, and provide for payment of benefits to an alternative representative payee of the individual or eligible spouse or, if the interest of the individual under this title would be served thereby, to the individual or eligible spouse.

(iv) For purposes of this paragraph, misuse of benefits by a representative payee occurs in any case in which the representative payee receives payment under this title for the use and benefit of another person and converts such payment, or any part thereof, to a use other than for the use and benefit of such other person. The Commissioner of Social Security may prescribe by regulation the meaning of the term “use and benefit” for purposes of this clause.

(B)(i) Any determination made under subparagraph (A) for payment of benefits to the representative payee of an individual or eligible spouse shall be made on the basis of—

(I) an investigation by the Commissioner of Social Security of the person to serve as representative payee, which shall be conducted in advance of such payment, and shall, to the extent practicable, include a face-to-face interview with such person; and

(II) adequate evidence that such payment is in the interest of the individual or eligible spouse (as determined by the Commissioner of Social Security in regulations).

(ii) As part of the investigation referred to in clause (i)(I), the Commissioner of Social Security shall—

(I) require the person being investigated to submit documented proof of the identity of such person, unless information establishing such identity was submitted with an application for benefits under title II, title VIII, or this title;

(II) verify the social security account number (or employer identification number) of such person;

(III) determine whether such person has been convicted of a violation of section 208, 811, or 1632;

(IV) obtain information concerning whether the person has been convicted of any other offense under Federal or State law which resulted in imprisonment for more than 1 year;

(V) obtain information concerning whether such person is a person described in section 1611(e)(4)(A); and

(VI) determine whether payment of benefits to such person has been terminated pursuant to subparagraph (A)(iii), whether the designation of such person as a representative payee has been revoked pursuant to section 807(a), and whether certification of payment of benefits to such person has been revoked pursuant to section 205(j), by reason of misuse of funds paid as benefits under title II, title VIII, or this title.

(iii) Benefits of an individual may not be paid to any other person pursuant to subparagraph (A)(ii) if—

(I) such person has previously been convicted as described in clause (ii)(III);

(II) except as provided in clause (iv), payment of benefits to such person pursuant to subparagraph (A)(ii) has previously been terminated as described in clause (ii)(VI), the designation of such person as a representative payee has been revoked pursuant to section 807(a), or certification of payment of benefits to such person under section 205(j) has previously been revoked as described in section 205(j)(2)(B)(i)(VI);

(III) except as provided in clause (v), such person is a creditor of such individual who provides such individual with goods or services for consideration;

(IV) the person has previously been convicted as described in clause (ii)(IV) of this subparagraph, unless the Commissioner determines that the payment would be appropriate notwithstanding the conviction; or

(V) such person is a person described in section 1611(e)(4)(A).

(iv) The Commissioner of Social Security shall prescribe regulations under which the Commissioner of Social Security may grant an exemption from clause (iii)(II) to any person on a case-by-case basis if such exemption would be in the best interest of the individual or eligible spouse whose benefits under this title would be paid to such person pursuant to subparagraph (A)(ii).

(v) Clause (iii)(III) shall not apply with respect to any person who is a creditor referred to therein if such creditor is—

(I) a relative of such individual if such relative resides in the same household as such individual;

(II) a legal guardian or legal representative of such individual;

(III) a facility that is licensed or certified as a care facility under the law of a State or a political subdivision of a State;

(IV) a person who is an administrator, owner, or employee of a facility referred to in subclause (III) if such individual resides in such facility, and the payment of benefits under this title to such facility or such person is made only after good faith efforts have been made by the local servicing office of the Social Security Administration to locate an alternative representative payee to whom the payment of such benefits would serve the best interests of such individual; or

(V) an individual who is determined by the Commissioner of Social Security, on the basis of written findings and under procedures which the Commissioner of Social Security shall prescribe by regulation, to be acceptable to serve as a representative payee.

(vi) The procedures referred to in clause (v)(V) shall require the individual who will serve as representative payee to establish, to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Social Security, that—

(I) such individual poses no risk to the beneficiary;

(II) the financial relationship of such individual to the beneficiary poses no substantial conflict of interest; and

(III) no other more suitable representative payee can be found.

(vii) In the case of an individual described in subparagraph (A)(ii)(II), when selecting such individual’s representative payee, preference shall be given to—

(I) a certified community-based nonprofit social service agency (as defined in subparagraph (I));

(II) a Federal, State, or local government agency whose mission is to carry out income maintenance, social service, or health care-related activities;

(III) a State or local government agency with fiduciary responsibilities; or

(IV) a designee of an agency (other than of a Federal agency) referred to in the preceding subclauses of this clause, if the Commissioner of Social Security deems it appropriate,

unless the Commissioner of Social Security determines that selection of a family member would be appropriate.

(viii) Subject to clause (ix), if the Commissioner of Social Security makes a determination described in subparagraph (A)(ii) with respect to any individual’s benefit and determines that direct payment of the benefit to the individual would cause substantial harm to the individual, the Commissioner of Social Security may defer (in the case of initial entitlement) or suspend (in the case of existing entitlement) direct payment of such benefit to the individual, until such time as the selection of a representative payee is made pursuant to this subparagraph.

(ix)(I) Except as provided in subclause (II), any deferral or suspension of direct payment of a benefit pursuant to clause (viii) shall be for a period of not more than 1 month.

(II) Subclause (I) shall not apply in any case in which the individual or eligible spouse is, as of the date of the Commissioner’s determination, legally incompetent, under the age of 15 years, or described in subparagraph (A)(ii)(II).

(x) Payment pursuant to this subparagraph of any benefits which are deferred or suspended pending the selection of a representative payee shall be made to the individual, or to the representative payee upon such selection, as a single sum or over such period of time as the Commissioner of Social Security determines is in the best interests of the individual entitled to such benefits.

(xi) Any individual who is dissatisfied with a determination by the Commissioner of Social Security to pay such individual’s benefits to a representative payee under this title, or with the designation of a particular person to serve as representative payee, shall be entitled to a hearing by the Commissioner of Social Security, and to judicial review of the Commissioner’s final decision, to the same extent as is provided in subsection (c).

(xii) In advance of the first payment of an individual’s benefit to a representative payee under subparagraph (A)(ii), the Commissioner of Social Security shall provide written notice of the Commissioner’s initial determination to make any such payment. Such notice shall be provided to such individual, except that, if such individual—

(I) is under the age of 15,

(II) is an unemancipated minor under the age of 18, or

(III) is legally incompetent,

then such notice shall be provided solely to the legal guardian or legal representative of such individual.

(xiii) Any notice described in clause (xii) shall be clearly written in language that is easily understandable to the reader, shall identify the person to be designated as such individual’s representative payee, and shall explain to the reader the right under clause (xi) of such individual or of such individual’s legal guardian or legal representative—

(I) to appeal a determination that a representative payee is necessary for such individual,

(II) to appeal the designation of a particular person to serve as the representative payee of such individual, and

(III) to review the evidence upon which such designation is based and submit additional evidence.

(xiv) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 552a of title 5, United States Code[71], or any other provision of Federal or State law (other than section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986[72] and section 1106(c) of this Act), the Commissioner shall furnish any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer, upon the written request of the officer, with the current address, social security account number, and photograph (if applicable) of any person investigated under this subparagraph, if the officer furnishes the Commissioner with the name of such person and such other identifying information as may reasonably be required by the Commissioner to establish the unique identity of such person, and notifies the Commissioner that—

(I) such person is described in section 1611(e)(4)(A),

(II) such person has information that is necessary for the officer to conduct the officer’s official duties, and

(III) the location or apprehension of such person is within the officer’s official duties

(C)(i) In any case where payment is made under this title to a representative payee of an individual or spouse, the Commissioner of Social Security shall establish a system of accountability monitoring whereby such person shall report not less often than annually with respect to the use of such payments. The Commissioner of Social Security shall establish and implement statistically valid procedures for reviewing such reports in order to identify instances in which such persons are not properly using such payments.

(ii) Clause (i) shall not apply in any case where the representative payee is a State institution. In such cases, the Commissioner of Social Security shall establish a system of accountability monitoring for institutions in each State.

(iii) Clause (i) shall not apply in any case where the individual entitled to such payment is a resident of a Federal institution and the representative payee is the institution.

(iv) Notwithstanding clauses (i), (ii), and (iii), the Commissioner of Social Security may require a report at any time from any representative payee, if the Commissioner of Social Security has reason to believe that the representative payee is misusing such payments.

(v) In any case in which the person described in clause (i) or (iv) receiving payments on behalf of another fails to submit a report required by the Commissioner of Social Security under clause (i) or (iv), the Commissioner may, after furnishing notice to the person and the individual entitled to the payment, require that such person appear in person at a field office of the Social Security Administration serving the area in which the individual resides in order to receive such payments.

(D)(i) Except as provided in the next sentence, a qualified organization may collect from an individual a monthly fee for expenses (including overhead) incurred by such organization in providing services performed as such individual’s representative payee pursuant to subparagraph (A)(ii) if the fee does not exceed the lesser of—

(I) 10 percent of the monthly benefit involved, or

(II) $25.00 per month ($50.00 per month in any case in which an individual is described in subparagraph (A)(ii)(II).

A qualified organization may not collect a fee from an individual for any month with respect to which the Commissioner of Social Security or a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the organization misused all or part of the individual’s benefit, and any amount so collected by the qualified organization for such month shall be treated as a misused part of the individual’s benefit for purposes of subparagraphs (E) and (F). The Commissioner of Social Security shall adjust annually (after 1995) each dollar amount set forth in subclause (II) of this clause under procedures providing for adjustments in the same manner and to the same extent as adjustments are provided for under the procedures used to adjust benefit amounts under section 215(i)(2)(A), except that any amount so adjusted that is not a multiple of $1.00 shall be rounded to the nearest multiple of $1.00. Any agreement providing for a fee in excess of the amount permitted under this clause shall be void and shall be treated as misuse by the organization of such individual’s benefits.

(ii) For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “qualified organization” means any State or local government agency whose mission is to carry out income maintenance, social service, or health care-related activities, any State or local government agency with fiduciary responsibilities, or any certified community-based nonprofit social service agency (as defined in subparagraph (I)), if the agency, in accordance with any applicable regulations of the Commissioner of Social Security—

(I) regularly provides services as a representative payee pursuant to subparagraph (A)(ii) or section 205(j)(4) or 807 concurrently to 5 or more individuals; and

(II) demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Social Security that such agency is not otherwise a creditor of any such individual.

The Commissioner of Social Security shall prescribe regulations under which the Commissioner of Social Security may grant an exception from subclause (II) for any individual on a case-by-case basis if such exception is in the best interests of such individual.

(iii) Any qualified organization which knowingly charges or collects, directly or indirectly, any fee in excess of the maximum fee prescribed under clause (i) or makes any agreement, directly or indirectly, to charge or collect any fee in excess of such maximum fee, shall be fined in accordance with title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both.

(iv) In the case of an individual who is no longer eligible for benefits under this title but to whom any amount of past-due benefits under this title has not been paid, for purposes of clause (i), any amount of such past-due benefits payable in any month shall be treated as a monthly benefit referred to in clause (i)(I).

(E) Restitution.—In cases where the negligent failure of the Commissioner of Social Security to investigate or monitor a representative payee results in misuse of benefits by the representative payee, the Commissioner of Social Security shall make payment to the beneficiary or the beneficiary’s representative payee of an amount equal to such misused benefits. In any case in which a representative payee that—

(i) is not an individual (regardless of whether it is a “qualified organization” within the meaning of subparagraph (D)(ii)); or

(ii) is an individual who, for any month during a period when misuse occurs, serves 15 or more individuals who are beneficiaries under this title, title II, title VIII, or any combination of such titles;

misuses all or part of an individual’s benefit paid to such representative payee, the Commissioner of Social Security shall pay to the beneficiary or the beneficiary’s alternative representative payee an amount equal to the amount of such benefit so misused. The provisions of this subparagraph are subject to the limitations of subparagraph (H)(ii). The Commissioner of Social Security shall make a good faith effort to obtain restitution from the terminated representative payee.

(F)(i)(I) Each representative payee of an eligible individual under the age of 18 who is eligible for the payment of benefits described in subclause (II) shall establish on behalf of such individual an account in a financial institution into which such benefits shall be paid, and shall thereafter maintain such account for use in accordance with clause (ii).

(II) Benefits described in this subclause are past-due monthly benefits under this title (which, for purposes of this subclause, include State supplementary payments made by the Commissioner pursuant to an agreement under section 1616 or section 212(b) of Public Law 93-66) in an amount (after any withholding by the Commissioner for reimbursement to a State for interim assistance under subsection (g) and payment of attorney fees under subsection (d)(2)(B)) that exceeds the product of—

(aa) 6, and

(bb) the maximum monthly benefit payable under this title to an eligible individual.

(ii)(I) A representative payee shall use funds in the account established under clause (i) to pay for allowable expenses described in subclause (II).

(II) An allowable expense described in this subclause is an expense for—

(aa) education or job skills training;

(bb) personal needs assistance;

(cc) special equipment

(dd) housing modification

(ee) medical treatment;

(ff) therapy or rehabilitation; or

(gg) any other item or service that the Commissioner determines to be appropriate;

provided that such expense benefits such individual and, in the case of an expense described in item (bb), (cc), (dd), (ff), or (gg), is related to the impairment (or combination of impairments) of such individual.

(III) The use of funds from an account established under clause (i) in any manner not authorized by this clause—

(aa) by a representative payee shall be considered a misapplication of benefits for all purposes of this paragraph, and any representative payee who knowingly misapplies benefits from such an account shall be liable to the Commissioner in an amount equal to the total amount of such benefits; and

(bb) by an eligible individual who is his or her own payee shall be considered a misapplication of benefits for all purposes of this paragraph and in any case in which the individual knowingly misapplies benefits from such an account, the Commissioner shall reduce future benefits payable to such individual (or to such individual and his spouse) by an amount equal to the total amount of such benefits so misapplied.

(IV) This clause shall continue to apply to funds in the account after the child has reached age 18, regardless of whether benefits are paid directly to the beneficiary or through a representative payee.

(iii) The representative payee may deposit into the account established under clause (i) any other funds representing past due benefits under this title to the eligible individual, provided that the amount of such past due benefits is equal to or exceeds the maximum monthly benefit payable under this title to an eligible individual (including State supplementary payments made by the Commissioner pursuant to an agreement under section 1616 or section 212(b) of Public Law 93-66[73]).

(iv) The Commissioner of Social Security shall establish a system for accountability monitoring whereby such representative payee shall report, at such time and in such manner as the Commissioner shall require, on activity respecting funds in the account established pursuant to clause (i).

(G)(i) In addition to such other reviews of representative payees as the Commissioner of Social Security may otherwise conduct, the Commissioner shall provide for the periodic onsite review of any person or agency that receives the benefits payable under this title (alone or in combination with benefits payable under title II or title VIII) to another individual pursuant to the appointment of the person or agency as a representative payee under this paragraph, section 205(j), or section 807 in any case in which—

(I) the representative payee is the person who serves in the capacity with respect to 15 or more such individuals;

(II) the representative payee is a certified community-based nonprofit social service agency (as defined in subparagraph (I) of this paragraph or section 205(j)(10)); or

(III) the representative payee is an agency (other than an agency described in subclause (II)) that serves in that capacity with respect to 50 or more such individuals.

(ii) Within 120 days after the end of each fiscal year, the Commissioner shall submit to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate a report on the results of periodic onsite reviews conducted during the fiscal year pursuant to clause (i) and of any other reviews of representative payees conducted during such fiscal year in connection with benefits under this title. Each such report shall describe in detail all problems identified in the reviews and any corrective action taken or planned to be taken to correct the problems, and shall include-

(I) the number of the reviews;

(II) the results of such reviews;

(III) the number of cases in which the representative payee was changed and why;

(IV) the number of cases involving the exercise of expedited, targeted oversight of the representative payee by the Commissioner conducted upon receipt of an allegation of misuse of funds, failure to pay a vendor, or a similar irregularity;

(V) the number of cases discovered in which there was a misuse of funds;

(VI) how any such cases of misuse of funds were dealt with by the Commissioner;

(VII) the final disposition of such cases of misuse of funds, including any criminal penalties imposed; and

(VIII) such other information as the Commissioner deems appropriate.

(H)(i) If the Commissioner of Social Security or a court of competent jurisdiction determines that a representative payee that is not a Federal, State, or local government agency has misused all or part of an individual’s benefit that was paid to the representative payee under this paragraph, the representative payee shall be liable for the amount misused, and the amount (to the extent not repaid by the representative payee) shall be treated as an overpayment of benefits under this title to the representative payee for all purposes of this Act and related laws pertaining to the recovery of the overpayments. Subject to clause (ii), upon recovering all or any part of the amount, the Commissioner shall make payment of an amount equal to the recovered amount to such individual or such individual’s alternative representative payee.

(ii) The total of the amount paid to such individual or such individual’s alternative representative payee under clause (i) and the amount paid under subparagraph (E) may not exceed the total benefit amount misused by the representative payee with respect to such individual.

(I) For purposes of this paragraph, the term “certified community-based nonprofit social service agency” means a community-based nonprofit social service agency which is in compliance with requirements, under regulations which shall be prescribed by the Commissioner, for annual certification to the Commissioner that it is bonded in accordance with requirements specified by the Commissioner and that it is licensed in each State in which it serves as a representative payee (if licensing is available in the State) in accordance with requirements specified by the Commissioner. Any such annual certification shall include a copy of any independent audit on the agency which may have been performed since the previous certification.

(3) The Commissioner of Social Security may by regulations establish ranges of incomes within which a single amount of benefits under this title shall apply.

(4) The Commissioner of Social Security—

(A) may make to any individual initially applying for benefits under this title who is presumptively eligible for such benefits for the month following the date the application is filed and who is faced with financial emergency a cash advance against such benefits, including any federally-administered State supplementary payments, in an amount not exceeding the monthly amount that would be payable to an eligible individual with no other income for the first month of such presumptive eligibility, which shall be repaid through proportionate reductions in such benefits over a period of not more than 6 months; and

(B) may pay benefits under this title to an individual applying for such benefits on the basis of disability or blindness for a period not exceeding 6 months prior to the determination of such individual’s disability or blindness, if such individual is presumptively disabled or blind and is determined to be otherwise eligible for such benefits, and any benefits so paid prior to such determination shall in no event be considered overpayments for purposes of subsection (b) solely because such individual is determined not to be disabled or blind.

(5) Payment of the benefit of any individual who is an aged, blind, or disabled individual solely by reason of blindness (as determined under section 1614(a)(2)) or disability (as determined under section 1614(a)(3)), and who ceases to be blind or to be under such disability, shall continue (so long as such individual is otherwise eligible) through the second month following the month in which such blindness or disability ceases.

(6) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, payment of the benefit of any individual who is an aged, blind, or disabled individual solely by reason of blindness (as determined under section 1614(a)(2)) or disability (as determined under section 1614(a)(3)) shall not be terminated or suspended because the blindness or other physical or mental impairment, on which the individual’s eligibility for such benefit is based, has or may have ceased, if—

(A) such individual is participating in a program consisting of the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program under section 1148 or another program of vocational rehabilitation services, employment services, or other support services approved by the Commissioner of Social Security, and,

(B) the Commissioner of Social Security determines that the completion of such program, or its continuation for a specified period of time, will increase the likelihood that such individual may (following his participation in such program) be permanently removed from the blindness and disability benefit rolls.

(7)(A) In any case where—

(i) an individual is a recipient of benefits based on disability or blindness under this title,

(ii) the physical or mental impairment on the basis of which such benefits are payable is found to have ceased, not to have existed, or to no longer be disabling, and as a consequence such individual is determined not to be entitled to such benefits, and

(iii) a timely request for review or for a hearing is pending with respect to the determination that he is not so entitled,

such individual may elect (in such manner and form and within such time as the Commissioner of Social Security shall by regulations prescribe) to have the payment of such benefits continued for an additional period beginning with the first month beginning after the date of the enactment of this paragraph for which (under such determination) such benefits are no longer otherwise payable, and ending with the earlier of (I) the month preceding the month in which a decision is made after such a hearing, or (II) the month preceding the month in which no such request for review or a hearing is pending.

(B)(i) If an individual elects to have the payment of his benefits continued for an additional period under subparagraph (A), and the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security affirms the determination that he is not entitled to such benefits, any benefits paid under this title pursuant to such election (for months in such additional period) shall be considered overpayments for all purposes of this title, except as otherwise provided in clause (ii).

(ii) If the Commissioner of Social Security determines that the individual’s appeal of his termination of benefits was made in good faith, all of the benefits paid pursuant to such individual’s election under subparagraph (A) shall be subject to waiver consideration under the provisions of subsection (b)(1).

(C) The provisions of subparagraphs (A) and (B) shall apply with respect to determinations (that individuals are not entitled to benefits) which are made on or after the date of the enactment of this paragraph[74], or prior to such date but only on the basis of a timely request for review or for a hearing.

(8)(A) In any case in which an administrative law judge has determined after a hearing as provided in subsection (c) that an individual is entitled to benefits based on disability or blindness under this title and the Commissioner of Social Security has not issued the Commissioner’s final decision in such case within 110 days after the date of the administrative law judge’s determination, such benefits shall be currently paid for the months during the period beginning with the month in which such 110-day period expires and ending with the month in which such final decision is issued.

(B) For purposes of subparagraph (A), in determining whether the 110-day period referred to in subparagraph (A) has elapsed, any period of time for which the action or inaction of such individual or such individual’s representative without good cause results in the delay in the issuance of the Commissioner’s final decision shall not be taken into account to the extent that such period of time exceeds 20 calendar days.

(C) Any benefits currently paid under this title pursuant to this paragraph (for the months described in subparagraph (A)) shall not be considered overpayments for any purposes of this title, unless payment of such benefits was fraudulently obtained.

(9) Benefits under this title shall not be denied to any individual solely by reason of the refusal of the individual to accept an amount offered as compensation for a crime of which the individual was a victim.

(10)(A) If an individual is eligible for past-due monthly benefits under this title in an amount that (after any withholding for reimbursement to a State for interim assistance under subsection (g) and payment of attorney fees under subsection (d)(2)(B)) equals or exceeds the product of—

(i) 3, and

(ii) the maximum monthly benefit payable under this title to an eligible individual (or, if appropriate, to an eligible individual and eligible spouse),

then the payment of such past-due benefits (after any such reimbursement to a State and payment of attorney fees under subsection (d)(2)(B)) shall be made in installments as provided in subparagraph (B).

(B)(i) The payment of past-due benefits subject to this subparagraph shall be made in not to exceed 3 installments that are made at 6-month intervals.

(ii) Except as provided in clause (iii), the amount of each of the first and second installments may not exceed an amount equal to the product of clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (A).

(iii) In the case of an individual who has—

(I) outstanding debt attributable to—

(aa) food,

(bb) clothing,

(cc) shelter, or

(dd) medically necessary services, supplies or equipment, or medicine; or

(II) current expenses or expenses anticipated in the near term attributable to—

(aa) medically necessary services, supplies or equipment, or medicine, or

(bb) the purchase of a home, and

such debt or expenses are not subject to reimbursement by a public assistance program, the Secretary under title XVIII, a State plan approved under title XIX, or any private entity legally liable to provide payment pursuant to an insurance policy, pre–paid plan, or other arrangement, the limitation specified in clause (ii) may be exceeded by an amount equal to the total of such debt and expenses.

(C) This paragraph shall not apply to any individual who, at the time of the Commissioner’s determination that such individual is eligible for the payment of past-due monthly benefits under this title—

(i) is afflicted with a medically determinable impairment that is expected to result in death within 12 months; or

(ii) is ineligible for benefits under this title and the Commissioner determines that such individual is likely to remain ineligible for the next 12 months.

(D) For purposes of this paragraph, the term “benefits under this title” includes supplementary payments pursuant to an agreement for Federal administration under section 1616(a), and payments pursuant to an agreement entered into under section 212(b) of Public Law 93-66.

Overpayments and Underpayments

(b)(1)(A) Whenever the Commissioner of Social Security finds that more or less than the correct amount of benefits has been paid with respect to any individual, proper adjustment or recovery shall, subject to the succeeding provisions of this subsection, be made by appropriate adjustments in future payments to such individual or by recovery from such individual or his eligible spouse (or from the estate of either) or by payment to such individual or his eligible spouse, or, if such individual is deceased, by payment—

(i) to any surviving spouse of such individual, whether or not the individual’s eligible spouse, if (within the meaning of the first sentence of section 202(i)) such surviving husband or wife was living in the same household with the individual at the time of his death or within the 6 months immediately preceding the month of such death, or

(ii) if such individual was a disabled or blind child who was living with his parent or parents at the time of his death or within the 6 months immediately preceding the month of such death, to such parent or parents.

(B) The Commissioner of Social Security (i) shall make such provision as the Commissioner finds appropriate in the case of payment of more than the correct amount of benefits with respect to an individual with a view to avoiding penalizing such individual or his eligible spouse who was without fault in connection with the overpayment, if adjustment or recovery on account of such overpayment in such case would defeat the purposes of this title, or be against equity and good conscience, or (because of the small amount involved) impede efficient or effective administration of this title, and (ii) shall in any event make the adjustment or recovery (in the case of payment of more than the correct amount of benefits), in the case of an individual or eligible spouse receiving monthly benefit payments under this title (including supplementary payments of the type described in section 1616(a) and payments pursuant to an agreement entered into under section 212(a) of Public Law 93-66[75]), in amounts which in the aggregate do not exceed (for any month) the lesser of (I) the amount of his or their benefit under this title for that month or (II) an amount equal to 10 percent of his or their income for that month (including such benefit but excluding payments under title II when recovery is made from title II payments pursuant to section 1147 and excluding income excluded pursuant to section 1612(b)), and in the case of an individual or eligible spouse to whom a lump sum is payable under this title (including under section 1616(a) of this Act or under an agreement entered into under section 212(a) of Public Law 93-66) shall, as at least one means of recovering such overpayment, make the adjustment or recovery from the lump sum payment in an amount equal to not less than the lesser of the amount of the overpayment or the lump sum payment, unless fraud, willful misrepresentation, or concealment of material information was involved on the part of the individual or spouse in connection with the overpayment, or unless the individual requests that such adjustment or recovery be made at a higher or lower rate and the Commissioner of Social Security determines that adjustment or recovery at such rate is justified and appropriate. The availability (in the case of an individual who has been paid more than the correct amount of benefits) of procedures for adjustment or recovery at a limited rate under clause (ii) of the preceding sentence shall not, in and of itself, prevent or restrict the provision (in such case) of more substantial relief under clause (i) of such sentence.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, when any payment of more than the correct amount is made to or on behalf of an individual who has died, and such payment—

(A) is made by direct deposit to a financial institution;

(B) is credited by the financial institution to a joint account of the deceased individual and another person; and

(C) such other person is the surviving spouse of the deceased individual, and was eligible for a payment under this title (including any State supplementation payment paid by the Commissioner of Social Security) as an eligible spouse (or as either member of an eligible couple) for the month in which the deceased individual died,

the amount of such payment in excess of the correct amount shall be treated as a payment of more than the correct amount to such other person. If any payment of more than the correct amount is made to a representative payee on behalf of an individual after the individual’s death, the representative payee shall be liable for the repayment of the overpayment, and the Commissioner of Social Security shall establish an overpayment control record under the social security account number of the representative payee.

(3) If any overpayment with respect to an individual (or an individual and his or her spouse) is attributable solely to the ownership or possession by such individual (and spouse if any) of resources having a value which exceeds the applicable dollar figure specified in paragraph (1)(B) or (2)(B) of section 1611(a) by $50 or less, such individual (and spouse if any) shall be deemed for purposes of the second sentence of paragraph (1) to have been without fault in connection with the overpayment, and no adjustment or recovery shall be made under the first sentence of such paragraph, unless the Commissioner of Social Security finds that the failure of such individual (and spouse if any) to report such value correctly and in a timely manner was knowing and willful.

(4)(A) With respect to any delinquent amount, the Commissioner of Social Security may use the collection practices described in sections 3711(f), 3716, 3717, and 3718 of title 31, United States Code, and in section 5514 of title 5, United States Code[76], all as in effect immediately after the enactment of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996[77].

(B) For purposes of subparagraph (A), the term “delinquent amount” means an amount—

(i) in excess of the correct amount of payment under this title;

(ii) paid to a person after such person has attained 18 years of age; and

(iii) determined by the Commissioner of Social Security, under regulations, to be otherwise unrecoverable under this section after such person ceases to be a beneficiary under this title.

(5) For payments for which adjustments are made by reason of a retroactive payment of benefits under title II, see section 1127.

(6) For provisions relating to the cross-program recovery of overpayments made under programs administered by the Commissioner of Social Security, see section 1147.

(7)[78](A) In the case of payment of less than the correct amount of benefits to or on behalf of any individual, no payment shall be made to such individual pursuant to this subsection during any period for which such individual—

(i) is not an eligible individual or eligible spouse under section 1611(e)(1) because such individual is an inmate of a public institution that is a jail, prison, or other penal institution or correctional facility the purpose of which is to confine individuals as described in clause (ii) or (iii) of section 202(x)(1)(A), or

(ii) is not an eligible individual or eligible spouse under section 1611(e)(4),

until such person is no longer considered an ineligible individual or ineligible spouse under section 1611(e)(1) or 1611(e)(4).

(B) Nothing in subparagraph (A) shall be construed to limit the Commissioner’s authority to withhold amounts, make adjustments, or recover amounts due under this title, title II, or title VIII that would be deducted from a payment that would otherwise be payable to such individual but for such subparagraph.

Hearings and Review

(c)(1)(A) The Commissioner of Social Security is directed to make findings of fact, and decisions as to the rights of any individual applying for payment under this title. Any such decision by the Commissioner of Social Security which involves a determination of disability and which is in whole or in part unfavorable to such individual shall contain a statement of the case, in understandable language, setting forth a discussion of the evidence, and stating the Commissioner’s determination and the reason or reasons upon which it is based. The Commissioner of Social Security shall provide reasonable notice and opportunity for a hearing to any individual who is or claims to be an eligible individual or eligible spouse and is in disagreement with any determination under this title with respect to eligibility of such individual for benefits, or the amount of such individual’s benefits, if such individual requests a hearing on the matter in disagreement within sixty days after notice of such determination is received, and, if a hearing is held, shall, on the basis of evidence adduced at the hearing affirm, modify, or reverse the Commissioner’s findings of fact and such decision. The Commissioner of Social Security is further authorized, on the Commissioner’s own motion, to hold such hearings and to conduct such investigations and other proceedings as the Commissioner may deem necessary or proper for the administration of this title. In the course of any hearing, investigation, or other proceeding, the Commissioner may administer oaths and affirmations, examine witnesses, and receive evidence. Evidence may be received at any hearing before the Commissioner of Social Security even though inadmissible under the rules of evidence applicable to court procedure. The Commissioner of Social Security shall specifically take into account any physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitation of such individual (including any lack of facility with the English language) in determining, with respect to the eligibility of such individual for benefits under this title, whether such individual acted in good faith or was at fault, and in determining fraud, deception, or intent.

(B)(i) A failure to timely request review of an initial adverse determination with respect to an application for any payment under this title or an adverse determination on reconsideration of such an initial determination shall not serve as a basis for denial of a subsequent application for any payment under this title if the applicant demonstrates that the applicant, or any other individual referred to in subparagraph (A), failed to so request such a review acting in good faith reliance upon incorrect, incomplete, or misleading information, relating to the consequences of reapplying for payments in lieu of seeking review of an adverse determination, provided by any officer or employee of the Social Security Administration or any State agency acting under section 221.

(ii) In any notice of an adverse determination with respect to which a review may be requested under subparagraph (A), the Commissioner of Social Security shall describe in clear and specific language the effect on possible eligibility to receive payments under this title of choosing to reapply in lieu of requesting review of the determination.

(2) Determination on the basis of such hearing, except to the extent that the matter in disagreement involves a disability (within the meaning of section 1614(a)(3)), shall be made within ninety days after the individual requests the hearing as provided in paragraph (1).

(3) The final determination of the Commissioner of Social Security after a hearing under paragraph (1) shall be subject to judicial review as provided in section 205(g) to the same extent as the Commissioner’s final determinations under section 205.

Procedures; Prohibitions of Assignments; Representation of Claimants

(d)(1) The provisions of section 207 and subsections (a), (d), and (e) of section 205 shall apply with respect to this part to the same extent as they apply in the case of title II.

(2)[79](A) The provisions of section 206 (other than subsections (a)(4) and (d) thereof) shall apply to this part to the same extent as they apply in the case of title II, except that such section shall be applied—

(i) by substituting in subparagraphs (A)(ii)(I) and (D)(i) of subsection (a)(2), the phrase “(as determined before any applicable reduction under section 1631(g), and reduced by the amount of any reduction in benefits under this title or title II made pursuant to section 1127(a))” for the parenthetical phrase contained therein;

(ii) by substituting, in subsections (a)(2)(B) and (b)(1)(B)(i), the phrase “paragraph (7)(A) or (8)(A) of section 1631(a) or the requirements of due process of law” for the phrase “subsection (g) or (h) of section 223”;

(iii) by substituting, in subsection (a)(2)(C)(i), the phrase “under title II” for the phrase “under title XVI”;

(iv) by substituting, in subsection (b)(1)(A), the phrase “pay the amount of such fee” for the phrase “certify the amount of such fee for payment” and by striking, in subsection (b)(1)(A), the phrase “or certified for payment”;[80]

(v) by substituting, in subsection (b)(1)(B)(ii), the phrase “deemed to be such amounts as determined before any applicable reduction under section 1631(g), and reduced by the amount of any reduction in benefits under this title or title II made pursuant to section 1127(a)” for the phrase “determined before any applicable reduction under section 1127(a))”; and[81]

(vi)[82] by substituting, in subsection (e)(1)—

(I) “subparagraphs (B) and (C) of section 1631(d)(2)” for “the preceding provisions of this section”; and

(II) “title XVI” for “this title”.

(B) Subject to subparagraph (C), if the claimant is determined to be entitled to past-due benefits under this title and the person representing the claimant is an attorney, the Commissioner of Social Security shall pay out of such past-due benefits to such attorney an amount equal to the lesser of—

(i) so much of the maximum fee as does not exceed 25 percent of such past-due benefits (as determined before any applicable reduction under section 1631(g) and reduced by the amount of any reduction in benefits under this title or title II pursuant to section 1127(a)), or

(ii) the amount of past-due benefits available after any applicable reductions under sections 1631(g) and 1127(a).

(C)(i) Whenever a fee for services is required to be paid to an attorney from a claimant’s past-due benefits pursuant to subparagraph (B), the Commissioner shall impose on the attorney an assessment calculated in accordance with clause (ii).

(ii)(I) The amount of an assessment under clause (i) shall be equal to the product obtained by multiplying the amount of the representative’s fee that would be required to be paid by subparagraph (B) before the application of this subparagraph, by the percentage specified in subclause (II), except that the maximum amount of the assessment may not exceed $75. In the case of any calendar year beginning after the amendments made by section 302 of the Social Security Protection Act of 2003 take effect[83], the dollar amount specified in the preceding sentence (including a previously adjusted amount) shall be adjusted annually under the procedures used to adjust benefit amounts under section 215(i)(2)(A)(ii), except such adjustment shall be based on the higher of $75 or the previously adjusted amount that would have been in effect for December of the preceding year, but for the rounding of such amount pursuant to the following sentence. Any amount so adjusted that is not a multiple of $1 shall be rounded to the next lowest multiple of $1, but in no case less than $75.

(II) The percentage specified in this subclause is such percentage rate as the Commissioner determines is necessary in order to achieve full recovery of the costs of determining and approving fees to attorneys from the past-due benefits of claimants, but not in excess of 6.3 percent.

(iii) The Commissioner may collect the assessment imposed on an attorney under clause (i) by offset from the amount of the fee otherwise required by subparagraph (B) to be paid to the attorney from a claimant’s past-due benefits.

(iv) An attorney subject to an assessment under clause (i) may not, directly or indirectly, request or otherwise obtain reimbursement for such assessment from the claimant whose claim gave rise to the assessment.

(v) Assessments on attorneys collected under this subparagraph shall be deposited as miscellaneous receipts in the general fund of the Treasury.

(vi) The assessments authorized under this subparagraph shall be collected and available for obligation only to the extent and in the amount provided in advance in appropriations Acts. Amounts so appropriated are authorized to remain available until expended, for administrative expenses in carrying out this title and related laws.

(D) The Commissioner of Social Security shall notify each claimant in writing, together with the notice to such claimant of an adverse determination, of the options for obtaining attorneys to represent individuals in presenting their cases before the Commissioner of Social Security. Such notification shall also advise the claimant of the availability to qualifying claimants of legal services organizations which provide legal services free of charge.

Applications and Furnishing of Information[84]

(e)(1)(A) The Commissioner of Social Security shall, subject to subparagraph (B) and subsection (j), prescribe such requirements with respect to the filing of applications, the suspension or termination of assistance, the furnishing of other data and material, and the reporting of events and changes in circumstances, as may be necessary for the effective and efficient administration of this title.

(B)(i) The requirements prescribed by the Commissioner of Social Security pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall require that eligibility for benefits under this title will not be determined solely on the basis of declarations by the applicant concerning eligibility factors or other relevant facts, and that relevant information will be verified from independent or collateral sources and additional information obtained as necessary in order to assure that such benefits are only provided to eligible individuals (or eligible spouses) and that the amounts of such benefits are correct. For this purpose and for purposes of federally administered supplementary payments of the type described in section 1616(a) of this Act (including payments pursuant to an agreement entered into under section 212(a) of Public Law 93-66[85]), the Commissioner of Social Security shall, as may be necessary, request and utilize information available pursuant to section 6103(l)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954[86], and any information which may be available from State systems under section 1137 of this Act, and shall comply with the requirements applicable to States (with respect to information available pursuant to section 6103(l)(7)(B) of such Code) under subsections (a)(6) and (c) of such section 1137.

(ii)[87](I) The Commissioner of Social Security may require each applicant for, or recipient of, benefits under this title to provide authorization by the applicant or recipient (or by any other person whose income or resources are material to the determination of the eligibility of the applicant or recipient for such benefits) for the Commissioner to obtain (subject to the cost reimbursement requirements of section 1115(a) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act) from any financial institution (within the meaning of section 1101(1) of such Act) any financial record (within the meaning of section 1101(2) of such Act[88]) held by the institution with respect to the applicant or recipient (or any such other person) whenever the Commissioner determines the record is needed in connection with a determination with respect to such eligibility or the amount of such benefits.

(II) Notwithstanding section 1104(a)(1) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act[89], an authorization provided by an applicant or recipient (or any other person whose income or resources are material to the determination of the eligibility of the applicant or recipient) pursuant to subclause (I) of this clause shall remain effective until the earliest of—

(aa) the rendering of a final adverse decision on the applicant’s application for eligibility for benefits under this title;

(bb) the cessation of the recipient’s eligibility for benefits under this title; or

(cc) the express revocation by the applicant or recipient (or such other person referred to in subclause (I)) of the authorization, in a written notification to the Commissioner.

(III)(aa) An authorization obtained by the Commissioner of Social Security pursuant to this clause shall be considered to meet the requirements of the Right to Financial Privacy Act for purposes of section 1103(a) of such Act, and need not be furnished to the financial institution, notwithstanding section 1104(a) of such Act.

(bb) The certification requirements of section 1103(b) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act[90] shall not apply to requests by the Commissioner of Social Security pursuant to an authorization provided under this clause.

(cc) A request by the Commissioner pursuant to an authorization provided under this clause is deemed to meet the requirements of section 1104(a)(3) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act and the flush language of section 1102 of such Act[91].

(IV) The Commissioner shall inform any person who provides authorization pursuant to this clause of the duration and scope of the authorization.

(V) If an applicant for, or recipient of, benefits under this title (or any such other person referred to in subclause (I)) refuses to provide, or revokes, any authorization made by the applicant or recipient for the Commissioner of Social Security to obtain from any financial institution any financial record, the Commissioner may, on that basis, determine that the applicant or recipient is ineligible for benefits under this title.

(C) For purposes of making determinations under section 1611(e), the requirements prescribed by the Commissioner of Social Security pursuant to subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall require each administrator of a nursing home, extended care facility, or intermediate care facility, within 2 weeks after the admission of any eligible individual or eligible spouse receiving benefits under this title, to transmit to the Commissioner a report of the admission.

(2) In case of the failure by any individual to submit a report of events and changes in circumstances relevant to eligibility for or amount of benefits under this title as required by the Commissioner of Social Security under paragraph (1), or delay by any individual in submitting a report as so required, the Commissioner of Social Security (in addition to taking any other action the Commissioner may consider appropriate under paragraph (1)) shall reduce any benefits which may subsequently become payable to such individual under this title by—

(A) $25 in the case of the first such failure or delay,

(B) $50 in the case of the second such failure or delay, and

(C) $100 in the case of the third or a subsequent such failure or delay,

except where the individual was without fault or good cause for such failure or delay existed.

(3) The Commissioner of Social Security shall provide a method of making payments under this title to an eligible individual who does not reside in a permanent dwelling or does not have a fixed home or mailing address.

(4) A translation into English by a third party of a statement made in a foreign language by an applicant for or recipient of benefits under this title shall not be regarded as reliable for any purpose under this title unless the third party, under penalty of perjury—

(A) certifies that the translation is accurate; and

(B) discloses the nature and scope of the relationship between the third party and the applicant or recipient, as the case may be.

(5) In any case in which it is determined to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Social Security that an individual failed as of any date to apply for benefits under this title by reason of misinformation provided to such individual by any officer or employee of the Social Security Administration relating to such individual’s eligibility for benefits under this title, such individual shall be deemed to have applied for such benefits on the later of—

(A) the date on which such misinformation was provided to such individual, or

(B) the date on which such individual met all requirements for entitlement to such benefits (other than application therefor).

(6) In any case in which an individual visits a field office of the Social Security Administration and represents during the visit to an officer or employee of the Social Security Administration in the office that the individual’s visit is occasioned by—

(A) the receipt of a notice from the Social Security Administration indicating a time limit for response by the individual, or

(B) the theft, loss, or nonreceipt of a benefit payment under this title,

the Commissioner of Social Security shall ensure that the individual is granted a face-to-face interview at the office with an officer or employee of the Social Security Administration before the close of business on the day of the visit.

(7)(A)(i) The Commissioner of Social Security shall immediately redetermine the eligibility of an individual for benefits under this title if there is reason to believe that fraud or similar fault was involved in the application of the individual for such benefits, unless a United States attorney, or equivalent State prosecutor, with jurisdiction over potential or actual related criminal cases, certifies, in writing, that there is a substantial risk that such action by the Commissioner of Social Security with regard to recipients in a particular investigation would jeopardize the criminal prosecution of a person involved in a suspected fraud.

(ii) When redetermining the eligibility, or making an initial determination of eligibility, of an individual for benefits under this title, the Commissioner of Social Security shall disregard any evidence if there is reason to believe that fraud or similar fault was involved in the providing of such evidence.

(B) For purposes of subparagraph (A), similar fault is involved with respect to a determination if—

(i) an incorrect or incomplete statement that is material to the determination is knowingly made; or

(ii) information that is material to the determination is knowingly concealed.

(C) If, after redetermining the eligibility of an individual for benefits under this title, the Commissioner of Social Security determines that there is insufficient evidence to support such eligibility, the Commissioner of Social Security may terminate such eligibility and may treat benefits paid on the basis of such insufficient evidence as overpayments.

(8)(A) The Commissioner of Social Security shall request the Immigration and Naturalization Service or the Centers for Disease Control to provide the Commissioner of Social Security with whatever medical information, identification information, and employment history either such entity has with respect to any alien who has applied for benefits under title XVI to the extent that the information is relevant to any determination relating to eligibility for such benefits under title XVI.

(B) Subparagraph (A) shall not be construed to prevent the Commissioner of Social Security from adjudicating the case before receiving such information.

(9) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Commissioner shall, at least 4 times annually and upon request of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (hereafter in this paragraph referred to as the “Service”), furnish the Service with the name and address of, and other identifying information on, any individual who the Commissioner knows is not lawfully present in the United States, and shall ensure that each agreement entered into under section 1616(a) with a State provides that the State shall furnish such information at such times with respect to any individual who the State knows is not lawfully present in the United States.

Furnishing of Information by Other Agencies[92]

(f) The head of any Federal agency shall provide such information as the Commissioner of Social Security needs for purposes of determining eligibility for or amount of benefits, or verifying other information with respect thereto.

Reimbursement to States for Interim Assistance Payments

(g)(1) Notwithstanding subsection (d)(1) and subsection (b) as it relates to the payment of less than the correct amount of benefits, the Commissioner of Social Security may, upon written authorization by an individual, withhold benefits due with respect to that individual and may pay to a State (or a political subdivision thereof if agreed to by the Commissioner of Social Security and the State) from the benefits withheld an amount sufficient to reimburse the State (or political subdivision) for interim assistance furnished on behalf of the individual by the State (or political subdivision).

(2) For purposes of this subsection, the term “benefits” with respect to any individual means supplemental security income benefits under this title, and any State supplementary payments under section 1616 or under section 212 of Public Law 93-66[93] which the Commissioner of Social Security makes on behalf of a State (or political subdivision thereof), that the Commissioner of Social Security has determined to be due with respect to the individual at the time the Commissioner of Social Security makes the first payment of benefits with respect to the period described in clause (A) or (B) of paragraph (3). A cash advance made pursuant to subsection (a)(4)(A) shall not be considered as the first payment of benefits for purposes of the preceding sentence.

(3) For purposes of this subsection, the term “interim assistance” with respect to any individual means assistance financed from State or local funds and furnished for meeting basic needs (A) during the period, beginning with the month following the month in which the individual filed an application for benefits (as defined in paragraph (2)), for which he was eligible for such benefits, or (B) during the period beginning with the first month for which the individual’s benefits (as defined in paragraph (2)) have been terminated or suspended if the individual was subsequently found to have been eligible for such benefits.

(4) In order for a State to receive reimbursement under the provisions of paragraph (1), the State shall have in effect an agreement with the Commissioner of Social Security which shall provide—

(A) that if the Commissioner of Social Security makes payment to the State (or a political subdivision of the State as provided for under the agreement) in reimbursement for interim assistance (as defined in paragraph (3)) for any individual in an amount greater than the reimbursable amount authorized by paragraph (1), the State (or political subdivision) shall pay to the individual the balance of such payment in excess of the reimbursable amount as expeditiously as possible, but in any event within ten working days or a shorter period specified in the agreement; and

(B) that the State will comply with such other rules as the Commissioner of Social Security finds necessary to achieve efficient and effective administration of this subsection and to carry out the purposes of the program established by this title, including protection of hearing rights for any individual aggrieved by action taken by the State (or political subdivision) pursuant to this subsection.

(5) The provisions of subsection (c) shall not be applicable to any disagreement concerning payment by the Commissioner of Social Security to a State pursuant to the preceding provisions of this subsection nor the amount retained by the State (or political subdivision).

Payment of Certain Travel Expenses[94]

(h) The Commissioner of Social Security shall pay travel expenses, either on an actual cost or commuted basis, to individuals for travel incident to medical examinations requested by the Commissioner of Social Security in connection with disability determinations under this title, and to parties, their representatives, and all reasonably necessary witnesses for travel within the United States (as defined in section 1614(e)) to attend reconsideration interviews and proceedings before administrative law judges with respect to any determination under this title. The amount available under the preceding sentence for payment for air travel by any person shall not exceed the coach fare for air travel between the points involved unless the use of first-class accommodations is required (as determined under regulations of the Commissioner of Social Security) because of such person’s health condition or the unavailability of alternative accommodations; and the amount available for payment for other travel by any person shall not exceed the cost of travel (between the points involved) by the most economical and expeditious means of transportation appropriate to such person’s health condition, as specified in such regulations. The amount available for payment under this subsection for travel by a representative to attend an administrative proceeding before an administrative law judge or other adjudicator shall not exceed the maximum amount allowable under this subsection for such travel originating within the geographic area of the office having jurisdiction over such proceeding.

Payment to States With Respect to Certain Unnegotiated Checks

(i)(1) The Secretary of the Treasury shall, on a monthly basis, notify the Commissioner of Social Security of all benefit checks issued under this title which include amounts representing State supplementary payments as described in paragraph (2) and which have not been presented for payment within one hundred and eighty days after the day on which they were issued.

(2) The Commissioner of Social Security shall from time to time determine the amount representing the total of the State supplementary payments made pursuant to agreements under section 1616(a) of this Act and under section 212(b) of Public Law 93-66[95] which is included in all such benefit checks not presented for payment within one hundred and eighty days after the day on which they were issued, and shall pay each State (or credit each State with) an amount equal to that State’s share of all such amount. Amounts not paid to the States shall be returned to the appropriation from which they were originally paid.

(3) The Commissioner of Social Security, upon notice from the Secretary of the Treasury under paragraph (1), shall notify any State having an agreement described in paragraph (2) of all such benefit checks issued under that State’s agreement which were not presented for payment within one hundred and eighty days after the day on which they were issued.

(4) The Commissioner of Social Security shall, to the maximum extent feasible, investigate the whereabouts and eligibility of the individuals whose benefit checks were not presented for payment within one hundred and eighty days after the day on which they were issued.

Application and Review Requirements for Certain Individuals

(j)(1) Notwithstanding any provision of section 1611 or 1619, any individual who—

(A) was an eligible individual (or eligible spouse) under section 1611 or was eligible for benefits under or pursuant to section 1619, and

(B) who, after such eligibility, is ineligible for benefits under or pursuant to both such sections for a period of 12 consecutive months (or 24 consecutive months, in the case of such an individual whose ineligibility for benefits under or pursuant to both such sections is a result of being called to active duty pursuant to section 12301(d) or 12302 of title 10, United States Code[96], or section 502(f) of title 32, United States Code[97])

may not thereafter become eligible for benefits under or pursuant to either such section until the individual has reapplied for benefits under section 1611 and been determined to be eligible for benefits under such section, or has filed a request for reinstatement of eligibility under subsection (p)(2) and been determined to be eligible for reinstatement.

(2)(A) Notwithstanding any provision of section 1611 or section 1619 (other than subsection (c) thereof), any individual who was eligible for benefits pursuant to section 1619(b), and who—

(i)(I) on the basis of the same impairment on which his or her eligibility under such section 1619(b) was based becomes eligible (other than pursuant to a request for reinstatement under subsection (p)) for benefits under section 1611 or 1619(a) for a month that follows a period during which the individual was ineligible for benefits under sections 1611 and 1619(a), and

(II) has earned income (other than income excluded pursuant to section 1612(b)) for any month in the 12-month period preceding such month that is equal to or in excess of the amount that would cause him or her to be ineligible for payments under section 1611(b) for that month (if he or she were otherwise eligible for such payments); or

(ii)(I) on the basis of the same impairment on which his or her eligibility under such section 1619(b) was based becomes eligible under section 1619(b) for a month that follows a period during which the individual was ineligible under section 1611 and section 1619, and

(II) has earned income (other than income excluded pursuant to section 1612(b)) for such month or for any month in the 12-month period preceding such month that is equal to or in excess of the amount that would cause him or her to be ineligible for payments under section 1611(b) for that month (if he or she were otherwise eligible for such payments);

shall, upon becoming eligible (as described in clause (i)(I) or (ii)(I)), be subject to a prompt review of the type described in section 1614(a)(4).

(B) If the Commissioner of Social Security determines pursuant to a review required by subparagraph (A) that the impairment upon which the eligibility of an individual is based has ceased, does not exist, or is not disabling, such individual may not thereafter become eligible for a benefit under or pursuant to section 1611 or section 1619 until the individual has reapplied for benefits under section 1611 and been determined to be eligible for benefits under such section.

Notifications to Applicants and Recipients

(k) The Commissioner of Social Security shall notify an individual receiving benefits under section 1611 on the basis of disability or blindness of his or her potential eligibility for benefits under or pursuant to section 1619

(1) at the time of the initial award of benefits to the individual under section 1611 (if the individual has attained the age of 18 at the time of such initial award), and

(2) at the earliest time after an initial award of benefits to an individual under section 1611 that the individual’s earned income for a month (other than income excluded pursuant to section 1612(b)) is $200 or more, and periodically thereafter so long as such individual has earned income (other than income so excluded) of $200 or more per month.

Special Notice to Blind Individuals with Respect to Hearings and Other Official Actions

(l)(1) In any case where an individual who is applying for or receiving benefits under this title on the basis of blindness is entitled (under subsection (c) or otherwise) to receive notice from the Commissioner of Social Security of any decision or determination made or other action taken or proposed to be taken with respect to his or her rights under this title, such individual shall at his or her election be entitled either (A) to receive a supplementary notice of such decision, determination, or action, by telephone, within 5 working days after the initial notice is mailed, (B) to receive the initial notice in the form of a certified letter, or (C) to receive notification by some alternative procedure established by the Commissioner of Social Security and agreed to by the individual.

(2) The election under paragraph (1) may be made at any time; but an opportunity to make such an election shall in any event be given (A) to every individual who is an applicant for benefits under this title on the basis of blindness, at the time of his or her application, and (B) to every individual who is a recipient of such benefits on the basis of blindness, at the time of each redetermination of his or her eligibility. Such an election, once made by an individual, shall apply with respect to all notices of decisions, determinations, and actions which such individual may thereafter be entitled to receive under this title until such time as it is revoked or changed.

Pre-release Procedures for Institutionalized Persons

(m) The Commissioner of Social Security shall develop a system under which an individual can apply for supplemental security income benefits under this title prior to the discharge or release of the individual from a public institution.

Concurrent SSI and Food Stamp Applications by Institutionalized Individuals

(n) The Commissioner of Social Security and the Secretary of Agriculture shall develop a procedure under which an individual who applies for supplemental security income benefits under this section shall also be permitted to apply at the same time for participation in the supplemental nutrition assistance program authorized under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008[98] (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.).

Notice Requirements

(o) The Commissioner of Social Security shall take such actions as are necessary to ensure that any notice to one or more individuals issued pursuant to this title by the Commissioner of Social Security or by a State agency—

(1) is written in simple and clear language, and

(2) includes the address and telephone number of the local office of the Social Security Administration which serves the recipient.

In the case of any such notice which is not generated by a local servicing office, the requirements of paragraph (2) shall be treated as satisfied if such notice includes the address of the local office of the Social Security Administration which services the recipient of the notice and a telephone number through which such office can be reached.

(p)(1)(A) Eligibility for benefits under this title shall be reinstated in any case where the Commissioner determines that an individual described in subparagraph (B) has filed a request for reinstatement meeting the requirements of paragraph (2)(A) during the period prescribed in subparagraph (C). Reinstatement of eligibility shall be in accordance with the terms of this subsection.

(B) An individual is described in this subparagraph if—

(i) prior to the month in which the individual files a request for reinstatement—

(I) the individual was eligible for benefits under this title on the basis of blindness or disability pursuant to an application filed therefor; and

(II) the individual thereafter was ineligible for such benefits due to earned income (or earned and unearned income) for a period of 12 or more consecutive months;

(ii) the individual is blind or disabled and the physical or mental impairment that is the basis for the finding of blindness or disability is the same as (or related to) the physical or mental impairment that was the basis for the finding of blindness or disability that gave rise to the eligibility described in clause (i);

(iii) the individual’s blindness or disability renders the individual unable to perform substantial gainful activity; and

(iv) the individual satisfies the nonmedical requirements for eligibility for benefits under this title.

(C)(i) Except as provided in clause (ii), the period prescribed in this subparagraph with respect to an individual is 60 consecutive months beginning with the month following the most recent month for which the individual was eligible for a benefit under this title (including section 1619) prior to the period of ineligibility described in subparagraph (B)(i)(II).

(ii) In the case of an individual who fails to file a reinstatement request within the period prescribed in clause (i), the Commissioner may extend the period if the Commissioner determines that the individual had good cause for the failure to so file.

(2)(A)(i) A request for reinstatement shall be filed in such form, and containing such information, as the Commissioner may prescribe.

(ii) A request for reinstatement shall include express declarations by the individual that the individual meets the requirements specified in clauses (ii) through (iv) of paragraph (1)(B).

(B) A request for reinstatement filed in accordance with subparagraph (A) may constitute an application for benefits in the case of any individual who the Commissioner determines is not eligible for reinstated benefits under this subsection.

(3) In determining whether an individual meets the requirements of paragraph (1)(B)(ii), the provisions of section 1614(a)(4) shall apply.

(4)(A) Eligibility for benefits reinstated under this subsection shall commence with the benefit payable for the month following the month in which a request for reinstatement is filed.

(B)(i) Subject to clause (ii), the amount of the benefit payable for any month pursuant to the reinstatement of eligibility under this subsection shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of this title.

(ii) The benefit under this title payable for any month pursuant to a request for reinstatement filed in accordance with paragraph (2) shall be reduced by the amount of any provisional benefit paid to such individual for such month under paragraph (7).

(C) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, eligibility for benefits under this title reinstated pursuant to a request filed under paragraph (2) shall be subject to the same terms and conditions as eligibility established pursuant to an application filed therefor.

(5) Whenever an individual’s eligibility for benefits under this title is reinstated under this subsection, eligibility for such benefits shall be reinstated with respect to the individual’s spouse if such spouse was previously an eligible spouse of the individual under this title and the Commissioner determines that such spouse satisfies all the requirements for eligibility for such benefits except requirements related to the filing of an application. The provisions of paragraph (4) shall apply to the reinstated eligibility of the spouse to the same extent that they apply to the reinstated eligibility of such individual.

(6) An individual to whom benefits are payable under this title pursuant to a reinstatement of eligibility under this subsection for twenty–four months (whether or not consecutive) shall, with respect to benefits so payable after such twenty-fourth month, be deemed for purposes of paragraph (1)(B)(i)(I) to be eligible for such benefits on the basis of an application filed therefor.

(7)(A) An individual described in paragraph (1)(B) who files a request for reinstatement in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (2)(A) shall be eligible for provisional benefits payable in accordance with this paragraph, unless the Commissioner determines that the individual does not meet the requirements of paragraph (1)(B)(i) or that the individual’s declaration under paragraph (2)(A)(ii) is false. Any such determination by the Commissioner shall be final and not subject to review under paragraph (1) or (3) of subsection (c).

(B)(i) Except as otherwise provided in clause (ii), the amount of a provisional benefit for a month shall equal the amount of the monthly benefit that would be payable to an eligible individual under this title with the same kind and amount of income.

(ii) If the individual has a spouse who was previously an eligible spouse of the individual under this title and the Commissioner determines that such spouse satisfies all the requirements of section 1614(b) except requirements related to the filing of an application, the amount of a provisional benefit for a month shall equal the amount of the monthly benefit that would be payable to an eligible individual and eligible spouse under this title with the same kind and amount of income.

(C)(i) Provisional benefits shall begin with the month following the month in which a request for reinstatement is filed in accordance with paragraph (2)(A).

(ii) Provisional benefits shall end with the earliest of—

(I) the month in which the Commissioner makes a determination regarding the individual’s eligibility for reinstated benefits;

(II) the fifth month following the month for which provisional benefits are first payable under clause (i); or

(III) the month in which the Commissioner determines that the individual does not meet the requirements of paragraph (1)(B)(i) or that the individual’s declaration made in accordance with paragraph (2)(A)(ii) is false.

(D) In any case in which the Commissioner determines that an individual is not eligible for reinstated benefits, any provisional benefits paid to the individual under this paragraph shall not be subject to recovery as an overpayment unless the Commissioner determines that the individual knew or should have known that the individual did not meet the requirements of paragraph (1)(B).

(8) For purposes of this subsection other than paragraph (7), the term “benefits under this title” includes State supplementary payments made pursuant to an agreement under section 1616(a) of this Act or section 212(b) of Public Law 93-66[99].


[70]  See Vol. II, P.L. 90-321, §913(2), with respect to electronic fund transfers.

[71]  See Vol. II, 5 U.S.C. 552a.

[72]  See Vol. II, P.L. 83-591, §6103.

[73]  See Vol. II, P.L. 93-66, §212(b).

[74]  This paragraph was enacted October 9, 1984. [P.L. 98-460, §7(b); 98 Stat. 1083]

[75]  See Vol. II, P.L. 93-66, §212(a).

[76]  See Vol. II, 31 U.S.C. 3711(f), 3716, 3717 and 3718.

See Vol. II, 5 U.S.C. 5514.

[77]  The date of enactment for the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, §31001 of P.L. 104-134 was April 26, 1996.

[78]  P.L. 111-115, §2(b), added paragraph (7), effective for payments that would otherwise be made on or after December 15, 2009.

[79]  See Vol. II, P.L. 108-203, §302, with respect to the extension of attorney fee payment system to Title XVI claims; §303, with respect to a nationwide demonstration project providing for extension of fee withholding procedures to non-attorney representatives; and §304, with respect to a GAO study regarding the fee payment process for claimant representatives.

[80]  P.L. 111-142, §3(b)(1)(A), struck out “and”.

[81]  P.L. 111-142, §3(b)(1)(B), struck out the period and inserted “; and”.

[82]  P.L. 111-142, §3(b)(1)(C), added clause (vi); §3(c), provided that “The Commissioner of Social Security shall provide for full implementation of the provisions of section 206(e) of the Social Security Act (as added by subsection (a)) and the amendments made by subsection (b) not later than March 1, 2010.”

[83]  See Vol. II, P.L. 108-203, §302(c).

[84]  See Vol. II, P.L. 88-525, §11(i), with respect to inquiry into the need for food stamps.

See Vol. II, P.L. 95-630, §§1101-1121, with respect to an individual’s right to financial privacy.

[85]  See Vol. II, P.L. 93-66, §212(a).

[86]  See Vol. II, P.L. 83-591, §6107)(l)(7).

[87]  See Vol. II, P.L. 110-90, §4, with respect to the extension of the SSI Web-based Asset Demonstration Project to the Medicaid program.

[88]  See Vol. II, P.L. 95-630, §§1101(1), 1102(2), and 1115(a).

[89]  See Vol. II, P.L. 95-630, §1104(a)(1).

[90]  See Vol. II, P.L. 95-630, §1103(b).

[91]  See Vol. II, P.L. 95-630, §§1102(a)(3) and 1104(a)(3).

[92]  See Vol. II, P.L. 95-630, §§1101-1121, with respect to an individual’s right to financial privacy.

[93]  See Vol. II, P.L. 93-66, §212.

[94]  See Vol. II, P.L. 102-394; 106 Stat.1807, with respect to limitation on administrative expenses.

[95]  See Vol. II, P.L. 93-66, §212.

[96]  See Vol. II, 10 U.S.C. 12301(d) and 12302.

[97]  See Vol. II, 32 U.S.C. 502(f).

[98]  P.L. 88-525.

[99]  See Vol. II, P.L. 93-66, §212(b).