EFFECTIVE/PUBLICATION DATE: 12/6/94
SSR 94-5p: POLICY INTERPRETATION RULING TITLE XVI: SSI TREATMENT OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS PAYMENTS TO FIDUCIARIES
This Ruling supersedes Program Policy Statement (PPS) No. 65 (Social Security Ruling (SSR) 82-31, Title XVI: SSI Treatment of Veterans Administration Payments to SSI Eligibles/Fiduciaries, Cumulative Edition 1981-1985, p. 777).
PURPOSE: To state supplemental security income (SSI) policy with respect to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) payments made to fiduciaries.
CITATIONS (AUTHORITY): Section 1612(a)(2)(B) of the Social Security Act; 20 CFR 416.1102 and 416.1121, 38 U.S.C. Veterans Benefits.
PERTINENT HISTORY: Social Security Administration (SSA) policy provides that VA disability compensation or pension benefit received by an eligible individual is unearned income to that individual (and is a resource if retained into the month following that of receipt). Income and resources are used in determining SSI eligibility. Income is used in determining the amount of SSI benefits payable.
Benefits which are paid to an individual as a fiduciary (a party who receives and manages benefits on behalf of another) are not available for the fiduciary's own use and, therefore, are not counted as unearned income of the fiduciary in the month of receipt or as a resource thereafter for the purpose of determining the fiduciary's eligibility for or amount of SSI benefits.
There are situations where a person may be receiving VA benefits as a beneficiary and also as a fiduciary for another. For example: A World War II disabled veteran in receipt of his own VA compensation may also be in receipt of VA benefits in a separate check as a fiduciary on behalf of his incompetent Vietnam veteran son; a widow in receipt of her own VA pension may also be in receipt of VA benefits in a separate check as a fiduciary on behalf of her grandchild; or the child of a deceased veteran may be in receipt of dependents' educational assistance, and also in receipt of dependency and indemnity compensation as a fiduciary on behalf of his or her brother or sister.
POLICY STATEMENT: Payments made by the VA to an individual in his or her capacity as a fiduciary on behalf of another are not income or resources to the fiduciary for the purpose of determining the fiduciary's eligibility for or amount of benefits under the SSI program. For SSI purposes, such VA payments are income or resources of the individual for whom the VA payments are made.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This is longstanding SSA policy which continues to apply to VA payments to fiduciaries.
DOCUMENTATION: Appointment of a fiduciary and the amounts being paid must be documented. When a person is receiving payment as a fiduciary, the check legend will show the name of the fiduciary followed by a phrase which indicates the fiduciary's relationship. The most common phrases are "wife of," "guardian of," and "custodian of the child(ren) of." Other documentation may include a VA award letter which shows the same name and phraseology cited above or a copy of VA Form 27-4703, Fiduciary Agreement.
CROSS-REFERENCES: Program Operations Manual System, Part 05, sections SI 00810.120, and SI 00830.300-00830.320.