I-5-3-20.Processing Cases Involving the Benefit Offset National Demonstration (BOND) Project
Last Update: 5/1/17 (Transmittal I-5-318)
ISSUED: October 25, 2013
REVISED: May 1, 2017
REVISED: October 2, 2017
This Temporary Instruction (TI) provides instructions for Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) hearing offices and the Appeals Council (AC) when processing cases involving the Benefit Offset National Demonstration (BOND) project.
When a BOND issue is on review before the AC, the AC will generally use the instructions below to determine whether the prior adjudicator's decision is supported by substantial evidence. However, when the AC exercises its authority to issue a decision, the AC will use the instructions below to adjudicate the issue.
The agency is conducting the BOND project under the demonstration authority in section 234 of the Social Security Act. This demonstration project will test the effect of changing program rules for certain Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits beneficiaries. The BOND evaluation estimates the impact of the benefit offset and the benefits counseling on work activity, earnings, and continued receipt of Social Security Administration cash benefits. The project began in January 2011 and will end in September 2022.
Under the current title II program rules, disability beneficiaries who complete their trial work period, and who subsequently engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) in any month after their three-month grace period and during the reentitlement period, have their benefits for that month suspended. For more information about the trial work period, see Program Operations Manual System (POMS) DI 13010.035. Beneficiaries in the BOND project, however, do not have their benefits suspended. Rather, their benefits are reduced $1.00 for every $2.00 earned over the BOND yearly amount. See POMS DI 60099.005. In addition, certain BOND participants receive enhanced benefits counseling.
For detailed information on who is eligible to participate in the BOND project, information relating to the BOND yearly amount, and other pertinent information regarding the processing of BOND cases, see POMS DI 60099.000.
III. Processing a BOND Case
OHO and the AC will process BOND cases in accordance with the usual rules and regulations that govern hearing and review procedures in 20 CFR Parts 404 and 416, except as set forth in this provision.
1. Receipt of BOND Cases
When an OHO or AC case involves a BOND participant, the field office will forward the complete BOND participant folder to the office with jurisdiction (i.e., the servicing hearing office or the AC). See POMS DI 60099.045F for more information relating to how the field office routes appeal issues.
On receipt, OHO or the AC will give each BOND case the case characteristic “BOND” in the Case Processing and Management System (CPMS) or the Appeals Review Processing System (ARPS).
2. Types of BOND Cases
Before adjudicating a BOND case, an adjudicator must first determine if the issue under review is completely within the BOND participation period, or whether the issue partially pre-dates the participation period.
OHO or AC offices may encounter three types of cases related to BOND:
Cases involving an overpayment during the BOND participation period,
Cases involving work continuing disability review (CDR) cessation determinations made prior to the BOND participation period, and
Cases involving work CDR cessation determinations made during the BOND participation period.
Social Security Ruling (SSR) 13-3p, Title II: Appeal of an Initial Medical Disability Cessation Determination or Decision requires that an adjudicator reviewing a medical cessation determination or decision decide whether the beneficiary is under a disability through the date of the adjudicator's determination or decision. The SSR does not apply to disability cessations based on SGA. If the only issue before OHO or the AC is cessation based on SGA, the SSR does not apply.
If the case involves a medical cessation issue rather than an issue related to the BOND project, normal procedures for processing and adjudicating a medical CDR apply. See POMS DI 60099.030J.
B. Overpayments During the BOND Participation Period
If an adjudicator processes a case involving an overpayment solely within the BOND participation period, the adjudicator will use the instructions in POMS DI 60099.040 to determine any offset.
In the event that an overpayment issue both pre-dates and includes the BOND participation period, the adjudicator must consider the issues separately. When determining overpayments and waivers outside of the BOND participation period, the adjudicator will apply the usual overpayment and waiver standards, as set forth in 20 CFR Part 404 Subpart F. However, during the BOND participation period, the adjudicator will use the offset procedures and calculations found in POMS DI 60099.040.
C. Work CDR Cessation Prior to the BOND Participation Period
When processing work or SGA cessation issues outside the BOND participation period, the adjudicator will use the usual standards, as discussed in 20 CFR 404.1589.
D. Work CDR Cessation During the BOND Participation Period
If an adjudicator processes issues relating to work or SGA cessation that are solely within the BOND participation period, the adjudicator will use the offset instructions in POMS DI 60099.045D.
In the event that the work or SGA issues both pre-date and include the BOND participation period, the adjudicator must consider the issues separately. When reviewing issues related to work or SGA cessation during the BOND participation period, the adjudicator will use the offset instructions in POMS DI 60099.045E.
Hearing office personnel may direct any questions to their Regional Office. Regional Office personnel may contact the Division of Field Procedures (DFP) in the Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge via the DFP mailbox at |||ODAR OCALJ DFP.
The AC and staff may direct any questions to |||ODAR OAO.