SSR 62-11. CORRECTION OF EARNINGS RECORD -- EVIDENCE OF WAGES

A woman alleged that she had been paid wages of $10 to $15 per week during a period of at least 14 calendar quarters, for which there were no entries on her social security earnings record. Evidence of probative value was produced which substantiated wage payments of only $4 per week during 7 of the calendar quarters in the period in question. Held, the woman's social security earnings record may be revised to include wages of $4 per week (or $52 per quarter) for the 7 quarters for which evidence of probative value was submitted.

C filed application for old-age insurance benefits in August 1961. Based on her date of birth of August 3, 1899, she needed at least 10 quarters of coverage to become entitled to benefits beginning August 1961. C's social security earnings record showed only 5 quarters of coverage based on wages paid in 1954 and 1955, with no wages reported for subsequent years.

C stated that the earnings record was incomplete in that it did not include wages which she had earned as a domestic for the E family. She said she had worked fairly steadily in the private home of the E family from April 1956 until Mrs. E's death in October 1959 and had been paid between $10 and $15 per week for her work. She had kept no record of these payments, but said Mrs. E had paid her each week in cash or by check.

Mr. E furnished the following information, both orally and in a signed statement: C had worked for the family as a domestic for a few years before Mrs. E's death on October 20, 1959. He could not say how regularly she worked or what her wages had been, since he had left these matters to his wife. However, among the household records he had kept were cancelled checks made out by Mrs. E to C in the amount of $4 each, which he showed to a representative of the Social Security Administration. There were checks dated at regular weekly intervals from December 1957 to October 17, 1959. There were also a number of checks for $4 each dated in 1956 and 1957, but these checks were not issued regularly and for no quarter of 1956 or 1957 were there more than 5 or 6 such checks. No other evidence of payments by the E family to C was submitted.

To become entitled to benefits C needs 10 quarters of coverage, or 5 quarters of coverage in addition to the 5 quarters of coverage she acquired in 1954 and 1955. Under section 213 of the Act, a "quarter of coverage" is a calendar quarter after 1936 in which a person has been paid $50 or more in wages or has met other requirements not applicable here. Thus, C's entitlement to benefits depends on whether she may be credited with wages of $50 or more in at least 5 calendar quarters in the period of her alleged employment by the E family.

Under section 203, "wages" means remuneration for employment, but subsection (g) of section 209 excludes from wages remuneration for domestic service in the private home of the employer, except cash remuneration of $50 or more paid in a calendar quarter by the employer to the employee.

Under section 205(c) of the Act, the Social Security Administration may, under certain conditions, revise a worker's earnings record to correct an erroneous entry of wages or enter wages that have been omitted. This may be done for any year within a time limitation (3 years, 3 months, and 15 days) after the end of the year. After the time limitation has expired with respect to any year, section 205(c)(5)(H) permits the worker's earnings record to be revised to include wages paid to him by an employer in a calendar quarter in that year if there is no entry of wages paid him by that employer in that quarter. However, section 205(c)(4)(B) further provides that, following the expiration of the time limitation with respect to any year, the absence of an entry in the Secretary's records as to the wages alleged to have been paid by an employer to an individual during any period in such year "shall be presumptive evidence" that no such alleged wages were paid to such individual in such period.

Regulations No. 4, ยง 404.702, dealing with evidence of wages, states in pertinent part: "The amounts of wages paid * * * to an individual, and the time of payment, * * *, may be proved by the records of the Administration and by other evidence of probative value * * *."

Therefore, in the absence of an entry on an individual's earnings record for any period, the evidence needed to prove alleged wages on his earnings record must, in any event, be substantial and of probative value and must clearly establish both the amount of wags paid and the time of such payment. Moreover, the evidence necessary to establish wages for a period in a year for which the time limitation has expired must also be sufficient to overcome the statutory presumption that no such wages were paid.

Thus, although there was no entry in C's earnings record of wages paid by Mrs. E during the years, 1956 1959, inclusive, the pertinent provisions of the law and regulations permit the crediting of wages paid in any period in those years if the amount and time of payment of such alleged wages is proved by substantial evidence of probative value. C did not raise any question relative to her coverage under the Social Security Act until after the death of her alleged employer; moreover, she provided no evidence corrobative of her allegation as to the $10 or $15 wages she claimed to have received each week from April 1956 to October 1959. Accordingly, her self-serving declaration is determined to be insufficient to establish any of the wages alleged. However, the statement by Mr. E and the cancelled checks are evidence of probative value establishing that C worked as a domestic in the E home during this time, that for this work she was paid at least $4 each week from December 1957 until October 1959, and that she was paid cash wages of $52 per calendar quarter for the 7 calendar quarters in the period January 1, 1958 through September 30, 1959. The evidence for the periods of April 1956 through December 1957 and the month of October 1959 does not establish that C was paid as much as $50 cash remuneration in any calendar quarter during the years 1956 and 1957 or in the last calendar quarter of 1959. Therefore, C cannot be credited with any wages or quarters of coverage for the years 1956 and 1957 or for the last quarter of 1959.

It is, therefore, held that C was paid wages of $52 per calendar quarter for the 4 quarters of 1958 and the first 3 quarters of 1959 and must be credited with 7 quarters of coverage for this period. With the 5 quarters of coverage previously acquired, C has 12 quarters of coverage and is, therefore, entitled to old-age insurance benefits beginning August 1961.


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