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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of April 15, 2014

Title 20: Employees' Benefits
PART 404—FEDERAL OLD-AGE, SURVIVORS AND DISABILITY INSURANCE (1950-      )


Subpart I—Records of Earnings


Contents

General Provisions

§404.801   Introduction.
§404.802   Definitions.
§404.803   Conclusiveness of the record of your earnings.

Obtaining Earnings Information

§404.810   How to obtain a statement of earnings and a benefit estimate statement.
§404.811   The statement of earnings and benefit estimates you requested.
§404.812   Statement of earnings and benefit estimates sent without request.

Correcting the Earnings Record

§404.820   Filing a request for correction of the record of your earnings.
§404.821   Correction of the record of your earnings before the time limit ends.
§404.822   Correction of the record of your earnings after the time limit ends.
§404.823   Correction of the record of your earnings for work in the employ of the United States.

Notice of Removal or Reduction of an Entry of Earnings

§404.830   Notice of removal or reduction of your wages.
§404.831   Notice of removal or reduction of your self-employment income.

Authority: Secs. 205(a), (c)(1), (c)(2)(A), (c)(4), (c)(5), (c)(6), and (p), 702(a)(5), and 1143 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405(a), (c)(1), (c)(2)(A), (c)(4), (c)(5), (c)(6), and (p), 902(a)(5), and 1320b-13).

Source: 44 FR 38454, July 2, 1979, unless otherwise noted.

General Provisions

§404.801   Introduction.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) keeps a record of the earnings of all persons who work in employment or self-employment covered under social security. We use these earnings records to determine entitlement to and the amount of benefits that may be payable based on a person's earnings under the retirement, survivors', disability and health insurance program. This subpart tells what is evidence of earnings, how you can find out what the record of your earnings shows, and how and under what circumstances the record of your earnings may be changed to correct errors.

§404.802   Definitions.

For the purpose of this subpart—

Earnings means wages and self-employment income earned by a person based on work covered by social security. (See subpart K for the rules about what constitutes wages and self-employment income for benefit purposes.)

Period means a taxable year when referring to self-employment income. When referring to wages it means a calendar quarter if the wages were reported or should have been reported quarterly by your employer or a calendar year if the wages were reported or should have been reported annually by your employer.

Record of earnings, earnings record, or record means SSA's records of the amounts of wages paid to you and the amounts of self-employment income you received, the periods in which the wages were paid and the self-employment income was received, and the quarters of coverage which you earned based on these earnings.

Survivor means your spouse, divorced wife, child, or parent, who survives you. Survivor also includes your surviving divorced wife who may be entitled to benefits as a surviving divorced mother.

Tax return means, as appropriate, a tax return of wages or a tax return of self-employment income (including information returns and other written statements filed with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue under chapter 2 or 21 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended).

Time limit means a period of time 3 years, 3 months, and 15 days after any year in which you received earnings. The period may be extended by the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act of 1940 because of your military service or the military service of certain relatives who survive you (50 U.S.C. App. 501 and following sections). Where the time limit ends on a Federal nonwork day, we will extend it to the next Federal work day.

Wage report means a statement filed by a State under section 218 of the Social Security Act or related regulations. This statement includes wage amounts for which a State is billed and wage amounts for which credits or refunds are made to a State according to an agreement under section 218 of the Act.

We, us, or our means the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Year means a calendar year when referring to wages and a taxable year when referring to self-employment income.

You or your means any person for whom we maintain a record of earnings.

§404.803   Conclusiveness of the record of your earnings.

(a) Generally. For social security purposes, SSA records are evidence of the amounts of your earnings and the periods in which they were received.

(b) Before time limit ends. Before the time limit ends for a year, SSA records are evidence, but not conclusive evidence, of the amounts and periods of your earnings in that year.

(c) After time limit ends. After the time limit ends for a year—

(1) If SSA records show an entry of self-employment income or wages for an employer for a period in that year, our records are conclusive evidence of your self-employment income in that year or the wages paid to you by that employer and the periods in which they were received unless one of the exceptions in §404.822 applies;

(2) If SSA records show no entry of wages for an employer for a period in that year, our records are conclusive evidence that no wages were paid to you by that employer in that period unless one of the exceptions in §404.822 applies; and

(3) If SSA records show no entry of self-employment income for that year, our records are conclusive evidence that you did not receive self-employment income in that year unless the exception in §404.822(b)(2) (i) or (iii) applies.

Obtaining Earnings Information

§404.810   How to obtain a statement of earnings and a benefit estimate statement.

(a) Right to a statement of earnings and a benefit estimate. You or your legal representative or, after your death, your survivor or the legal representative of your estate may obtain a statement of your earnings as shown on our records at the time of the request. If you have a social security number and have wages or net earnings from self-employment, you may also request and receive an earnings statement that will include an estimate of the monthly old-age, disability, dependents', and survivors' insurance benefits potentially payable on your earnings record, together with a description of the benefits payable under the medicare program. You may request these statements by writing, calling, or visiting a social security office.

(b) Contents of request. When you request a statement of your earnings, we will ask you to complete a prescribed form, giving us your name, social security number, date of birth, and sex. You, your authorized representative or, after your death, your survivor or the legal representative of your estate will be asked to sign and date the form. If you are requesting an estimate of the monthly benefits potentially payable on your earnings record, we will also ask you to give us the amount of your earnings for the last year, an estimate of your earnings for the current year, an estimate of your earnings for future years before your planned retirement, and the age at which you plan to retire, so that we can give you a more realistic estimate of the benefits that may be payable on your record. A request for a statement of earnings and a benefit estimate not made on the prescribed form will be accepted if the request is in writing, is signed and dated by the appropriate individual noted above, and contains all the information that is requested on the prescribed form.

[57 FR 54918, Nov. 23, 1992]

§404.811   The statement of earnings and benefit estimates you requested.

(a) General. After receiving a request for a statement of earnings and the information we need to comply with the request, we will provide you or your authorized representative a statement of the earnings we have credited to your record at the time of your request. With the statement of earnings, we will include estimates of the benefits potentially payable on your record, unless you do not have the required credits (quarters of coverage) for any kind of benefit(s). (However, see paragraph (b)(3) of this section regarding the possibility of our estimating up to eight additional credits on your record.) If we do not provide a statement of earnings and an estimate of all the benefits potentially payable, or any other information you requested, we will explain why.

(b) Contents of statement of earnings and benefit estimates. The statement of your earnings and benefit estimates will contain the following information:

(1) Your social security taxed earnings as shown by our records as of the date of your request;

(2) An estimate of the social security and medicare hospital insurance taxes paid on your earnings (although we do not maintain such tax information);

(3) The number of credits, i.e., quarters of coverage, not exceeding 40, you have for both social security and medicare hospital insurance purposes, and the number you need to be eligible for social security and also for medicare hospital insurance coverage. If you do not already have the required credits (quarters of coverage) to be eligible to receive social security benefits and medicare hospital insurance coverage, we may include up to eight additional estimated credits (four per year) based on the earnings you told us you had for last year and this year that we have not yet entered on your record;

(4) A statement as to whether you meet the credits (quarters of coverage) requirements, as described in subpart B of this part, for each type of social security benefit when we prepare the benefit estimates, and also whether you are eligible for medicare hospital insurance coverage;

(5) Estimates of the monthly retirement (old-age), disability, dependents' and survivors' insurance benefits potentially payable on your record if you meet the credits (quarters of coverage) requirements. The benefit estimates we send you will be based partly on your stated earnings for last year (if not yet on your record), your estimate of your earnings for the current year and for future years before you plan to retire, and on the age at which you plan to retire. The estimate will include the retirement (old-age) insurance benefits you could receive at age 62 (or your current age if you are already over age 62), at full retirement age (currently age 65 to 67, depending on your year of birth) or at your current age if you are already over full retirement age, and at age 70;

(6) A description of the coverage under the medicare program;

(7) A reminder of your right to request a correction of your earnings record; and

(8) A remark that an annually updated statement is available on request.

[61 FR 18076, Apr. 24, 1996]

§404.812   Statement of earnings and benefit estimates sent without request.

(a) Who will be sent a statement. Unless one of the conditions in paragraph (b) of this section applies to you, we will send you, without request, a statement of earnings and benefit estimates if:

(1) You have a social security account number;

(2) You have wages or net earnings from self-employment on your social security record;

(3) You have attained age 25 or older, as explained in paragraph (c)(3) of this section; and

(4) We can determine your current mailing address.

(b) Who will not be sent a statement. We will not send you an unrequested statement if any of the following conditions apply:

(1) You do not meet one or more of the conditions of paragraph (a) of this section;

(2) Our records contain a notation of your death;

(3) You are entitled to benefits under title II of the Act;

(4) We have already sent you a statement, based on your request, in the fiscal year we selected you to receive an unrequested statement;

(5) We cannot obtain your address (see paragraph (c)(2) of this section); or

(6) We are correcting your social security earnings record when we select you to receive a statement of earnings and benefit estimates.

(c) The selection and mailing process. Subject to the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, we will use the following process for sending statements without requests:

(1) Selection. We will use our records of assigned social security account numbers to identify individuals to whom we will send statements.

(2) Addresses. If you are living in one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia, our current procedure is to get your address from individual taxpayer files of the Internal Revenue Service, as authorized by section 6103(m)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 6103(m)(7)). If you live in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or Guam, we will get your address from the taxpayer records of the place in which you live.

(3) Age. If you have attained age 60 on or before September 30, 1995, we will send you a statement by that date. If you attain age 60 on or after October 1, 1995 but no later than September 30, 1999, we will send you a statement in the fiscal year in which you attain age 60, or in an earlier year as resources allow. Also, we will inform you that an annually updated statement is available on request. Beginning October 1, 1999, we will send you a statement each year in which you are age 25 or older.

(4) Ineligible. If we do not send you a statement because one or more conditions in paragraph (b) of this section apply when you are selected, we will send a statement in the first appropriate fiscal year thereafter in which you do qualify.

(5) Undeliverable. If the statement we send you is returned by the Post Office as undeliverable, we will not remail it.

(d) Contents of statement of earnings and benefit estimates. To prepare your statement and estimate your benefits, we will use the earnings in our records. If there are earnings recorded for you in either of the two years before the year in which you are selected to get a statement, we will use the later of these earnings as your earnings for the current year and future years when we estimate your benefits. In addition, if you do not already have the required credits (quarters of coverage) to be eligible to receive benefits, we will use that last recorded earnings amount to estimate up to eight additional credits (four per year) for last year and the current year if they are not yet entered on your record. If there are no earnings entered on your record in either of the two years preceding the year of selection, we will not estimate current and future earnings or additional credits for you. Your earnings and benefit estimates statement will contain the following information:

(1) Your social security taxed earnings as shown by our records as of the date we select you to receive a statement;

(2) An estimate of the social security and medicare hospital insurance taxes paid on your earnings (although we do not maintain such tax information);

(3) The number of credits, i.e., quarters of coverage, not exceeding 40 (as described in paragraph (d) of this section), that you have for both social security and medicare hospital insurance purposes, and the number you need to be eligible for social security benefits and also for medicare hospital insurance coverage;

(4) A statement as to whether you meet the credit (quarters of coverage) requirements, as described in subpart B of this part, for each type of social security benefit when we prepare the benefit estimates, and also whether you are eligible for medicare hospital insurance coverage;

(5) Estimates of the monthly retirement (old-age), disability, dependents' and survivors' insurance benefits potentially payable on your record if you meet the credits (quarters of coverage) requirements. If you are age 50 or older, the estimates will include the retirement (old-age) insurance benefits you could receive at age 62 (or your current age if you are already over age 62), at full retirement age (currently age 65 to 67, depending on your year of birth) or at your current age if you are already over full retirement age, and at age 70. If you are under age 50, instead of estimates, we may provide a general description of the benefits (including auxiliary benefits) that are available upon retirement;

(6) A description of the coverage provided under the medicare program;

(7) A reminder of your right to request a correction of your earnings record; and

(8) A remark that an annually updated statement is available on request.

[61 FR 18077, Apr. 24, 1996]

Correcting the Earnings Record

§404.820   Filing a request for correction of the record of your earnings.

(a) When to file a request for correction. You or your survivor must file a request for correction of the record of your earnings within the time limit for the year being questioned unless one of the exceptions in §404.822 applies.

(b) Contents of a request. (1) A request for correction of an earnings record must be in writing and must state that the record is incorrect.

(2) A request must be signed by you or your survivor or by a person who may sign an application for benefits for you or for your survivor as described in §404.612.

(3) A request should state the period being questioned.

(4) A request should describe, or have attached to it, any available evidence which shows that the record of earnings is incorrect.

(c) Where to file a request. A request may be filed with an SSA employee at one of our offices or with an SSA employee who is authorized to receive a request at a place other than one of our offices. A request may be filed with the Veterans Administration Regional Office in the Philippines or with any U.S. Foreign Service Office.

(d) When a request is considered filed. A request is considered filed on the day it is received by any of our offices, by an authorized SSA employee, by the Veterans Administration Regional Office in the Philippines, or by any U.S. Foreign Service Office. If using the date we receive a mailed request disadvantages the requester, we will use the date the request was mailed to us as shown by a U.S. postmark. If the postmark is unreadable or there is no postmark, we will consider other evidence of the date when the request was mailed.

(e) Withdrawal of a request for correction. A request for correction of SSA records of your earnings may be withdrawn as described in §404.640.

(f) Cancellation of a request to withdraw. A request to withdraw a request for correction of SSA records of your earnings may be cancelled as described in §404.641.

(g) Determinations on requests. When we receive a request described in this section, we will make a determination to grant or deny the request. If we deny the request, this determination may be appealed under the provisions of subpart J of this part.

§404.821   Correction of the record of your earnings before the time limit ends.

Before the time limit ends for any year, we will correct the record of your earnings for that year for any reason if satisfactory evidence shows SSA records are incorrect. We may correct the record as the result of a request filed under §404.820 or we may correct it on our own.

§404.822   Correction of the record of your earnings after the time limit ends.

(a) Generally. After the time limit for any year ends, we may correct the record of your earnings for that year if satisfactory evidence shows SSA records are incorrect and any of the circumstances in paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section applies.

(b) Correcting SSA records to agree with tax returns. We will correct SSA records to agree with a tax return of wages or self-employment income to the extent that the amount of earnings shown in the return is correct.

(1) Tax returns of wages. We may correct the earnings record to agree with a tax return of wages or with a wage report of a State.

(2) Tax returns of self-employment income—(i) Return filed before the time limit ended. We may correct the earnings record to agree with a tax return of self-employment income filed before the end of the time limit.

(ii) Return filed after time limit ended. We may remove or reduce, but not increase, the amount of self-employment income entered on the earnings record to agree with a tax return of self-employment income filed after the time limit ends.

(iii) Self-employment income entered in place of erroneously entered wages. We may enter self-employment income for any year up to an amount erroneously entered in SSA records as wages but which was later removed from the records. However, we may enter self-employment income under this paragraph only if—

(A) An amended tax return is filed before the time limit ends for the year in which the erroneously entered wages were removed; or

(B) Net earnings from self-employment, which are not already entered in the record of your earnings, were included in a tax return filed before the end of the time limit for the year in which the erroneously entered wages were removed.

(c) Written request for correction or application for benefits filed before the time limit ends—(1) Written request for correction. We may correct an earnings record if you or your survivor files a request for correction before the time limit for that year ends. The request must state that the earnings record for that year is incorrect. However, we may not correct the record under this paragraph after our determination on the request becomes final.

(2) Application for benefits. We may correct an earnings record if an application is filed for monthly benefits or for a lump-sum death payment before the time limit for that year ends. However, we may not correct the record under this paragraph after our determination on the application becomes final.

(3) See subpart J for the rules on the finality of determinations.

(d) Transfer of wages to or from the Railroad Retirement Board—(1) Wages erroneously reported. We may transfer to or from the records of the Railroad Retirement Board earnings which were erroneously reported to us or to the Railroad Retirement Board.

(2) Earnings certified by Railroad Retirement Board. We may enter earnings for railroad work under subpart O if the earnings are certified by the Railroad Retirement Board.

(e) Other circumstances permitting correction—(1) Investigation started before time limit ends. We may correct an earnings record if the correction is made as the result of an investigation started before, but completed after the time limit ends. An investigation is started when we take an affirmative step leading to a decision on a question about the earnings record, for example, an investigation is started when one SSA unit asks another unit to obtain additional information or evidence. We will remove or reduce earnings on the record under this paragraph only if we carried out the investigation as promptly as circumstances permitted.

(2) Error apparent on face of records. We may correct an earnings record to correct errors, such as mechanical or clerical errors, which can be identified and corrected without going beyond any of the pertinent SSA records.

(3) Fraud. We may change any entry which was entered on the earnings record as the result of fraud.

(4) Entries for wrong person or period. We may correct errors in SSA records resulting from earnings being entered for the wrong person or period.

(5) Less than correct wages on SSA records. We may enter wages paid to you by an employer for a period if no part of those wages or less than the correct amount of those wages is entered on SSA records.

(6) Wage payments under a statute. We may enter and allocate wages awarded to you for a period as the result of a determination or agreement approved by a court or administrative agency that enforces Federal or State statutes protecting your right to employment or wages.

[44 FR 38454, July 2, 1979, as amended at 57 FR 21600, May 21, 1992]

§404.823   Correction of the record of your earnings for work in the employ of the United States.

We may correct the record of your earnings to remove, reduce, or enter earnings for work in the employ of the United States only if—

(a) Correction is permitted under §404.821 or §404.822; and

(b) Any necessary determinations concerning the amount of remuneration paid for your work and the periods for which such remuneration was paid have been made as shown by—

(1) A tax return filed under section 3122 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 3122); or

(2) A certification by the head of the Federal agency or instrumentality of which you have been an employee or his or her agent. A Federal instrumentality for these purposes includes a nonappropriated fund activity of the armed forces or Coast Guard.

[44 FR 38454, July 2, 1979, as amended at 55 FR 24891, June 19, 1990]

Notice of Removal or Reduction of an Entry of Earnings

§404.830   Notice of removal or reduction of your wages.

If we remove or reduce an amount of wages entered on the record of your earnings, we will notify you of this correction if we previously notified you of the amount of your wages for the period involved. We will notify your survivor if we previously notified you or your survivor of the amount of your earnings for the period involved.

§404.831   Notice of removal or reduction of your self-employment income.

If we remove or reduce an amount of self-employment income entered on the record of your earnings, we will notify you of this correction. We will notify your survivor if we previously notified you or your survivor of the amount of your earnings for the period involved.



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