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

(a) General. For disabled beneficiaries who receive benefit payments through a representative payee because drug addiction or alcoholism is a contributing factor material to the determination of disability (as described in § 404.1535), certain amounts due the beneficiary 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 beneficiary 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 benefit due for the preceding month under such entitlement which is payable in such month, does not exceed two times the amount of the beneficiary's benefit payment for the preceding month. In counting the amount of the beneficiary's benefit payment for the previous month, no reductions or deductions under this title are taken into account.

(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 beneficiary accrues benefit amounts subject to payment in installments if the beneficiary has unpaid housing expenses which result in a high risk of homelessness for the beneficiary. 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 beneficiary does not have a representative payee, payment of amounts subject to installments cannot be made until a representative payee is selected.

(e) Underpaid beneficiary no longer entitled. In the case of a beneficiary who is no longer currently entitled to monthly payments, but to whom amounts defined in paragraph (a) of this section are still owing, we will treat such beneficiary's monthly benefit for the last month of entitlement as the beneficiary's benefit for the preceding month and continue to make installment payments of such benefits through a representative payee.

(f) Beneficiary currently not receiving Social Security benefits because of suspension for noncompliance with treatment. If a beneficiary is currently not receiving benefits because his or her benefits have been suspended for noncompliance with treatment (as defined in § 404.1536), the payment of amounts under paragraph (a) of this section will stop until the beneficiary has demonstrated compliance with treatment as described in § 404.470 and will again commence with the first month the beneficiary begins to receive benefit payments.

(g) Underpaid beneficiary deceased. Upon the death of a beneficiary, any remaining unpaid amounts as defined in paragraph (a) of this section will be treated as underpayments in accordance with § 404.503(b).

[60 FR 8146, Feb. 10, 1995]