January 26 and 27, 2005
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Purpose of the call
On January 26 and 27, 2005, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) facilitated conference calls with states to discuss the Social Security Administration's (SSA) State Verification and Exchange System (SVES) external locate responses and processes. The meeting's discussion topics included:
- Background on the SVES external locate
- SVES one-time match and garnishment project
- Key pieces of information returned in the SVES external locate responses
- Verification of dates of death
- Self-employment information
- SVES print program
- Other states' experiences with SVES
- SVES information for children
Most states participated in the recent SSA SVES one-time match and garnishment project. Through this project, many states had an opportunity to receive SVES data and assess the data's usefulness for the first time. Eighteen states currently receive SVES information through the FPLS external locate process and many more states are interested in taking the steps to begin receiving SVES data.
SVES data became available with FPLS Release 02-01 in May 2002. Like all external locate sources, SVES data is available upon request from the FPLS. The SVES match is processed daily by SSA as opposed to the SSA locates, which are processed weekly.
SVES One-time Match and Garnishment Project
This project involved a match between the OCSE Debtor file and SSA Title II beneficiaries. Over 75,000 Title II beneficiaries were identified for whom no income withholding was in place with SSA. States received the match reports in late November 2004 and have been working on those cases. By mid-January 2005, 3,765 income-withholding documents have been received at SSA's central collection site. States are tracking the progress of this effort so that OCSE and states can measure the success of the project.
SVES Title II
The Title II record contains information needed to initiate income withholding with SSA or to communicate with SSA about a Title II recipient. Specifically, the record contains the recipient's name, date of birth, and street address. Additionally, the record contains SSA's Claim Account Number (CAN) and Beneficiary Identification Code (BIC) — both useful in communicating with SSA District Offices. The record contains the dates of initial entitlement, current entitlement and entitlement suspension or termination if applicable. Also, the record includes current and historical benefit amounts and indicators for Black Lung entitlement and railroad retirement if applicable.
SVES Title XVI
The Title XVI record contains identifying information similar to that in the Title II record — name, date of birth and residential address. Also, this record contains benefit payee information, including the payee's address and a code indicating the type of payee, for example, foster care agency or relative. Title XVI data includes the date of eligibility for benefits and the date of denial of benefits if applicable. Additionally, this record contains the current status of the case, the payment status, and current and historical payment information.
Penal institutions report incarceration information to SSA so that SSA can assess whether SSA benefits are affected. SSA encourages reporting by paying institutions on a per report basis. The prisoner data returned in the SVES external locate includes person-identifying information such as name, Social Security number and date of birth. Also, the record includes the Prisoner Identification Number, Date of Confinement, and Release date. It is important to note that the Release date is an historical date, not a projected release date. Prisoner data is returned only when the name/SSN verifies with SSA records.
Date of Death
The SVES response record contains date of death information for deceased recipients of Title II and Title XVI benefits. SSA verifies the death information with state agencies so that SVES death information should be considered verified and reliable. The SVES date of death information should not be confused with the SSA Death Master File updates that states receive monthly as an FCR-to-FCR proactive match. Death Master File dates of death are not verified by SSA and should be independently verified before case actions are taken that use the death information.
Seventeen of the eighteen states currently receiving SVES information have opted to also receive the SSA external locate information. This option is available to all states and is recommended. Currently the SSA external locate record includes a self-employment indicator that is not available in any other external locate. In the future, the record will also include a self-employment income amount. Self-employment information is reported by individuals to SSA.
SVES Print Program
The SVES external locate response record contains a wealth of information. Due to the amount of information available the SVES external locate response record is larger than the standard locate response record used for the SSA, Department of Defense, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A new record format to accommodate the larger file required states to develop new programming to accept the data into their systems. OCSE has developed a print program for those states that wish to receive the SVES data, but are unable to program for the new record. The print program creates a report that can be sorted in several ways. Should any state wish to obtain the print program, they should contact their State Technical Support Liaison.
Other States Experiences
Several state representatives attended the conference calls to share their experiences with others. Representatives from Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, and West Virginia discussed the value of the SVES data, the ease of using the SVES record and the benefits of providing this information to caseworkers. Minnesota has fully automated SVES response data so that caseworkers are involved only as required. Colorado is very pleased with the data and encouraged other states to begin using the data. Colorado is working to improve the automated use of the data. Illinois is using the data centrally and has found it to be helpful. Additionally, state representatives discussed policies in place to make sure that children of SSA beneficiaries received the benefits they are entitled to. Minnesota and a few other states identified that, due to confidentiality requirements, they are prohibited from telling the CP that the NCP is receiving SSA benefits.
Children's Benefit Information
In past discussions of SVES data, states have expressed an interest in receiving information on children receiving SSA benefits. Many states use this information in establishing support orders and to ensure children are receiving all the benefits available to them. OCSE is pursuing changes to the FPLS that would provide states with SVES information on children. This change will be implemented using the standard software release processes, and states will have ample notice before the change is implemented.
Questions and Answers
- Question: Are future release dates provided in the prisoner information?
Answer: No, a future release date is not currently provided with the SVES Prisoner match data. The Release Date provided is an historical date.
- Question: What type of Title XVI information is provided about the payee?
Answer: Included with the Title XVI match is information about the payee state and county of jurisdiction, payee district office code, type of payee code, payment amount, and payee address.
- Question: How is self-employment determined, and is the self-employment information we get back with SVES any different from the 1099 information we received in the past?
Answer: The self-employment information is from SSA as reported by individuals to SSA.
- Question: How do states get specific information about the data elements provided with the SVES match?
Answer: States should refer to the OCSE website for the latest SVES record specifications.
- Question: Are multiple SSNs valid, and why does SSA provide multiple SSNs?
Answer: Yes, multiple SSNs are valid. Prior to automated issuance of SSNs, a person could obtain multiple SSNs by making more than one applications for an SSN. Multiple SSNs rarely occur today.
- Question: What record is the W2, and how can states find out more information about the W2 record?
Answer: The W2 record is referred to as the Annual Wage Record (AWR). More information about the AWR record can be found by reviewing the FPLS release specifications and notes at the OCSE website.
- Question: Are the CAN and BIC important for caseworkers or just pieces of information for SSA to use?
Answer: The CAN and BIC are important pieces of information for SSA and will facilitate communications between the SSA local district offices and the child support caseworker.
- Question: Are the SSNs on the Title II and Title XVI verified?
Answer: Yes, these SSNs are verified.
- Question: What format is the SVES print program?
Answer: The SVES print program is in Cobol.
- Question: Can the SVES print program be sorted by FIPS code?
Answer: Yes. The print program can be sorted by FIPS code or other data elements.
- Question: How do states request the SVES print program?
Answer: States should contact their FPLS State Technical Support Liaison to request the program.