SSR 78-13: Part 1B Rulings Based on Program Policy Directives: Exclusions from Countable Income of State Payments Under Public Law 94-202
To state new policy with respect to the exclusion from countable income of certain State payments authorized under P.L. 93-233; Regulations No. 16, Section 416.1158.
Section 9 of P.L. 94-202; Section 1115(a) and 1612(b)(2) as amended, of the Social Security Act; Section 11 of P.L. 93-233; Regulations No. 16, Section 416.158.
Section 9 of P.L. 94-202 (enacted in January 1976) amends Section 1612(b)(2) of the Social Security Act to provide an additional exclusion in determining countable income for individuals claiming benefits under title XVI. The amending legislation reads as follows:
"Monthly (or other periodic) payments received by an individual, under a program established prior to July 1, 1973, if such payments are made by the State of which the individual receiving such payments is a resident, and if eligibility of any individual for such payments is not based on need and is based solely on attainment of age 65 and duration of residence in such State by such individual."
Currently the State of Alaska makes payments of this nature—commonly referred to as the Alaska Longevity Bonus Payments (ALBP); and so far as we are aware, no similar payments are made in any other State. Though couched in terms of general applicability, therefore, this provision presently benefits only those individuals who are residents of the State of Alaska and otherwise meet the conditions described.
The exclusion of the ALBP from income and resources as a 3-year demonstration project was granted under the authority of Section 1115(a) of the Social Security Act, effective January 1973, the first month of the bonus payment. On effectuation of the supplemental security income (SSI) program in January 1974, a new waiver was obtained to exclude ALBP from counting as income or resources under title XVI (and related regulations) under the authority of Section 11 of P.L. 93-233. Terminable on December 31, 1975, this waiver was renewed for a period of 6 months, to expire June 30, 1976. Thus, the waiver and its resulting exclusion are still in effect and the new legislation duplicates that portion of the exclusion relating to income for the period the waiver remains in effect.
POLICY DIRECTIVE STATEMENT:
Criteria adopted by a State for determining residency will apply insofar as residency is a condition for eligibility for payments described in Section 9, P.L. 94-202, and if payments are made under those criteria to those who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements for SSI payments, they control in determining the applicability of the exclusion in determining SSI eligibility and payment amounts due. In the case of Alaska, for instance, evidentiary parameters for determining residency are prescribed by the statute creating the bonus payments in Chapter 45, Section 47 of the Laws of Alaska. Title XVI of the Social Security Act does not define State of Residence and SSA will accept States' determinations as conclusive for purposes of this law.
Payments made by a State under the provisions of P.L. 94-202 will be excluded from countable income under the SSI program, including deemed income. However, if the payments are retained, they will count as resources effective with the quarter following the quarter of receipt. Inasmuch as P.L. 94-202 does not in any way negate the waiver provision of the Alaska Longevity Bonus Payments, such payments will continue to be excluded from the income and resources of those receiving such payments until the wavier is rescinded or has expired.
For the exclusion from income to apply, the following conditions must be met:
The individual receiving the payment is a resident of the State making it, is an SSI applicant or eligible or one from whom income is deemed to an SSI applicant or eligible;
The payments are made periodically;
The payments are made under a program established before July 1, 1973;
Eligibility for such payments is based solely on:
attainment of age 65, and
duration of residency.
From the structural arrangement as set forth above, it is seen that the condition of "residency" appears in two discrete contexts. On the one hand it is a requirement for the exclusion of the payment under the SSI program; and on the other, duration or residence is a requirement for eligibility for the payment under the State program awarding such benefits. It is clear, in this latter context, that the statute is but describing the actual State program as it is in fact operated and controlled by the State, and under the State's own standards of construction.
Certification from the State agency making payments that such payments meet the provisions of P.L. 94-202 must be obtained and the file documented.