§ 416.544. Paying benefits in installments: Drug addiction or alcoholism.

(a) General. For disabled recipients who receive benefit payments through a representative payee because drug addiction or alcoholism is a contributing factor material to the determination of disability, certain amounts due the recipient for a past period will be paid in installments. The amounts subject to payment in installments include:

(1) Benefits due but unpaid which accrued prior to the month payment was effectuated;

(2) Benefits due but unpaid which accrued during a period of suspension for which the recipient was subsequently determined to have been eligible; and

(3) Any adjustment to benefits which results in an accrual of unpaid benefits.

(b) Installment formula. Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, the amount of the installment payment in any month is limited so that the sum of (1) the amount due for a past period (and payable under paragraph (a) of this section) paid in such month and (2) the amount of any current benefit due cannot exceed twice the Federal Benefit Rate plus any federally-administered State supplementation payable to an eligible individual for the preceding month.

(c) Exception to installment limitation. An exception to the installment payment limitation in paragraph (b) of this section can be granted for the first month in which a recipient accrues benefit amounts subject to payment in installments if the recipient has unpaid housing expenses which result in a high risk of homelessness for the recipient. In that case, the benefit payment may be increased by the amount of the unpaid housing expenses so long as that increase does not exceed the amount of benefits which accrued during the most recent period of nonpayment. We consider a person to be at risk of homelessness if continued nonpayment of the outstanding housing expenses is likely to result in the person losing his or her place to live or if past nonpayment of housing expenses has resulted in the person having no appropriate personal place to live. In determining whether this exception applies, we will ask for evidence of outstanding housing expenses that shows that the person is likely to lose or has already lost his or her place to live. For purposes of this section, homelessness is the state of not being under the control of any public institution and having no appropriate personal place to live. Housing expenses include charges for all items required to maintain shelter (for example, mortgage payments, rent, heating fuel, and electricity).

(d) Payment through a representative payee. If the recipient does not have a representative payee, payment of amounts subject to installments cannot be made until a representative payee is selected.

(e) Underpaid recipient no longer eligible. In the case of a recipient who is no longer currently eligible for monthly payments, but to whom amounts defined in paragraph (a) of this section are still owing, we will continue to make installment payments of such benefits through a representative payee.

(f) Recipient currently not receiving SSI benefits because of suspension for noncompliance with treatment. If a recipient is currently not receiving SSI benefits because his or her benefits have been suspended for noncompliance with treatment (as defined in § 416.936), the payment of amounts under paragraph (a) of this section will stop until the recipient has demonstrated compliance with treatment as described in § 416.1326 and will again commence with the first month the recipient begins to receive benefits.

(g) Underpaid recipient deceased. Upon the death of a recipient, any remaining unpaid amounts as defined in paragraph (a) of this section will be treated as underpayments in accordance with § 416.542(b).

[60 FR 8150, Feb. 10, 1995]