Select Page

M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, Chapter 6, Section C – St. Louis Regional Office (RO) Actions for Restored Entitlement Program for Survivors (REPS) Benefits

Overview


In This Section

This section contains the following topics:
Topic
Topic Name
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

1.  Processing and Maintaining Incoming REPS Applications


Introduction

This topic contains information on processing and maintaining incoming REPS applications, including

Change Date

December 6, 2004

IX.i.6.C.1.a.  Responsibility for Establishing and Maintaining REPS Claims Folders

The St. Louis Special Processing Unit (21Q) establishes and maintains all Restored Entitlement Program for Survivors (REPS) claims folders.
All VA Forms 21P-8924, Application of Surviving Spouse or Child for REPS Benefits (Restored Entitlement Program for Survivors), and related REPS material addressed to the St. Louis Regional Office (RO) are forwarded directly to the St. Louis Special Processing Unit (21Q).

IX.i.6.C.1.b.  How to Process Incoming REPS Applications

Follow the steps in the table below to process all incoming VA Forms 21P-8924.
Step
Action
1
Review VA Form 21P-8924 to ensure that the claimant has completed all required items as follows:
  • a surviving spouse claimant must complete VA Form 21P-8924, Parts I and III, and
  • a schoolchild claimant must complete VA Form 21P-8924, Parts I, II, and III.
2
Has the claimant completed all required items?
3
  • Make a photocopy of the application to use as a control copy until the
    • original is returned, or
    • the control period expires
  • return the original to the claimant for completion of the missing items, and
  • establish a control.
4
Has the claimant provided the missing information before the end of the control period?

IX.i.6.C.1.c.  Proper Destruction of Photocopies of REPS Applications

When the original application is returned or the control period expires, destroy the photocopy in accordance with the Records Control Schedule VB-1, Part I, Item 13-052.200.

IX.i.6.C.1.d.  How to Maintain REPS Claims Folders

Follow the steps in the table below to maintain REPS claims folders.
Step
Action
1
Establish only one REPS claims folder per Veteran.
2
Use the REPS folder to maintain the record data for all beneficiaries receiving benefits on the deceased Veteran’s/wage earner’s account.
3
File
  • all awards, denials, and Benefits Delivery Network (BDN) QUIP screens on the left flap, and
  • any other material of record value on the right flap.

2.  Establishing Relationship and Dependency for REPS Benefits


Introduction

This topic contains information on establishing relationship and dependency for REPS benefits, including

Change Date

December 6, 2004

IX.i.6.C.2.a.  Determining Eligibility to REPS Benefits

For information on eligibility to REPS benefits, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.A.2.

IX.i.6.C.2.b.  Determining Dependency by Applying the SSA Dependency Criteria

Apply the Social Security Administration (SSA) dependency criteria set forth in the SSA Program Operations Manual System (POMS) procedures to determine if a person qualifies as a dependent under the REPS program.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accepts SSA decisions regarding dependency.

IX.i.6.C.2.c.  Filing a Claim With SSA

A REPS claimant is not required to file a claim with SSA and failure to do so is nota bar to further processing of the REPS claim.

IX.i.6.C.2.d.  Advising Claimants to File a Claim With SSA

If a REPS claimant is not receiving SSA benefits, but there appears to be possible entitlement under the SSA program, advise the claimant to file a claim with SSA.

IX.i.6.C.2.e.  Accepting Prior Dependency Decisions Made by SSA

If a person previously denied benefits by SSA for failure to establish relationship files a REPS claim, VA must accept the prior decision made by SSA.
Notify the claimant that the REPS claim has been denied because the claimant, as a dependent, has not established entitlement to Social Security benefits, which the REPS program replaces.  Include VA decision review rights.

IX.i.6.C.2.f.  SSA POMS References for Establishing Surviving Spouse Relationship

Adjudicate a claimed surviving spouse relationship using the procedures contained in POMS Part RS, “Retirement and Survivors Insurance,”
  • Chapter 002, “Benefits and Payments,” Subchapter 08, “Mother’s and Father’s Benefits”
  • Chapter 002, “Benefits and Payments,” Subchapter 02, “Spouse’s Benefits,” and
  • Chapter 002, “Benefits and Payments,” Subchapter 07, “Widow(er)’s Benefits.”

IX.i.6.C.2.g.  SSA POMS References for Establishing Child Dependency and Relationship

Adjudicate a child’s dependency and relationship using the procedure contained inPOMS Part RS, “Retirement and Survivors Insurance,” Chapter 002, “Benefits and Payments,” Subchapter 03, “Child’s Benefits.”

3.  Requesting an MBR From SSA


Introduction

This topic contains information on requesting an MBR from SSA, including

Change Date
July 23, 2015

IX.i.6.C.3.a.  When to Request an MBR

Request a Master Beneficiary Record (MBR) from the local SSA District Office
  • for all initial claims, and
  • in any instance where it appears that a change in SSA payments may have an effect on payments to any beneficiary receiving REPS payments.

IX.i.6.C.3.b.  How to Request an MBR

Request the MBR by submitting a list containing Social Security numbers (SSNs) to the local SSA District Office using the routing “VAREPS.”

IX.i.6.C.3.c.  Maintaining Control of MBR Requests

Maintain a five-workday control for both first and second requests for an MBR.

If there is no reply after submission of a second request, refer the case to the SSA District Office liaison for REPS claims.


IX.i.6.C.3.d.  Information in an MBR

Normally, an MBR will be available from SSA and must contain the necessary information upon which payments can be made.

4.  Requesting an Earnings Record From SSA


Introduction

This topic contains information on requesting an earnings record from SSA, including

Change Date

 July 23, 2015

IX.i.6.C.4.a.  When to Request an Earnings Record

If, in a new case, there have not been any prior claims for benefits filed with SSA, it may be necessary to submit a request to the SSA District Office for an
  • earnings report when lag wages are known, or
  • interim request for eligibility status when lag wages must be developed.

IX.i.6.C.4.b.  Definition:  Lag Wages

Lag wages are the deceased’s wages or earnings for the year of death and the two preceding years.
Note:  These years normally have not yet been posted to the wage earner’s record.

IX.i.6.C.4.c.  Using SSA Form 450 to Request an Earnings Record

Use SSA Form 450, Claims Input Data, to request a complete earnings record from SSA.

IX.i.6.C.4.d.  Completing Items on SSA-450

Use the table below to complete items on SSA-450 with the specified coding entry.
Item
Coding Entry
AX (Type of Action)
SU.”
NH (Name)
Wage earner’s name (first, middle initial, last).
Note:  Do not enter periods, decimals, or numbers (limit of 30 characters).
SSN (Social Security number)
Wage earner’s SSN (nine digits).
DB (Date of Birth)
Date of birth (DOB) of wage earner (six digits) with “A” (alleged).
SX (Sex)
M” for male or “F” for female.
Note:  Circle the item with no entry if unknown.
DH (Date of Death)
Date of death of wage earner (six digits).
Note:  Use zeros if month or day are unknown.
MS (Military Service)
Military service in period 9/15/40-12/31/67.
Note:  The system accepts up to nine periods of service, in chronological order and codes them PRV (proven) or ALG (alleged), which are the equivalent of verified and unverified.
UN (Unit)
Unit “VA”.
D1 (Claims Symbol)
Claims symbol.
For the BIC block only, use “CI” or “E.” Do not complete other blocks.
A1 (Auxiliary or Survivor Name)
Auxiliary or survivor’s name.
Note:  If there are multiple auxiliaries or survivors, use any of the names.
B1 (Date of Birth)
Auxiliary or survivor’s DOB (six digits).
FI (Date of Filing)
Date of filing (six digits).
N1 (Own Social Security number)
Claimant’s SSN (nine digits).

IX.i.6.C.4.e.  Forms Used by SSA to Provide Earnings Records

SSA provides earnings records and other pertinent data on either of the following forms:
  • SSA-1000TR, Claims Data Display Document, or
  • Wire-SSA-1000, Claims Data Display Document.

5.  Calculating the Monthly REPS Benefit for Claimants


Introduction

This topic contains information on calculating the monthly REPS benefit for claimants, including

Change Date

November 21, 2006

IX.i.6.C.5.a.  REPS Monthly Benefit

The REPS monthly benefit is the lesser of 75 percent of the
  • REPS Primary Insurance Amount (PIA), if there are two or fewer potential claimants for REPS or SSA benefits, or
  • claimant’s proportionate share of the REPS Family Maximum, if there are more than two potential claimants for REPS or SSA benefits.

IX.i.6.C.5.b.  Computing a REPS PIA and a REPS Family Maximum Separately

Compute the REPS PIA and the REPS Family Maximum separately for a surviving spouse/parent claimant and for a student claimant because the
  • surviving spouse’s PIA and Family Maximum are subject to legislative Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) increases, and
  • student’s PIA and Family Maximum are subject to legislative increases in benefits under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35.
Reference:  For more information on legislative increases in benefits, see 38 CFR 3.812(b).

IX.i.6.C.5.c.  How to Calculate the REPS PIA and REPS Family Maximum

Follow the steps in the table below to calculate the REPS PIA and REPS Family Maximum benefit.
Note:  This calculation is performed automatically by the computer program if the information requested in Step 1 has been entered.
Step
Action
1
Ascertain the following from the MBR provided by SSA:
  • SSA PIA and Family Maximum in effect for August 1981, or
  • SSA PIA and Family Maximum in effect for the month of the wage earner’s death, if the wage earner died after August 1981.
2
Has SSA determined the PIA and Family Maximum?
  • If yes, go to Step 3.
  • If no,
    • request the Veteran/wage earner’s earnings record from SSA, and
    • calculate the SSA PIA and Family Maximum for the applicable date.
Note:  Use the Social Security recalculated amount if SSA so certifies.
References:  For more information on
3
Increase the SSA PIA and Family Maximum, obtained by SSA, by the percentage amount of any legislative increases occurring on or after the effective date of the SSA PIA and Family Maximum, which is either
  • August 1981, or
  • the month of the wage earner’s death and before the first month of entitlement.
4
If the calculation is for a
  • surviving spouse, use DIC legislative increases, and
  • student, use 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35 legislative increases.
Result:  The amounts obtained are the REPS PIA and the REPS Family Maximum for a surviving spouse or student claimant.

IX.i.6.C.5.d.  Paying the MSSR

If the claimant is the sole survivor, pay the Minimum Sole Survivor Rate (MSSR) if it is greater than the original benefit rate and the wage earner was entitled prior to January 1, 1982.
Reference:  For more information, see POMS RS 615.650.
Notes:
  • Base the MSSR paid on the applicable PIA factor code.
  • Increase the MSSR by the percentage of any legislative increases that apply to REPS payees.

IX.i.6.C.5.e.  Applying Legislative Increases to Running Awards

Any legislative increase for DIC will apply to REPS surviving spouse payees and any 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35 legislative increase will apply to REPS student payees.
Apply the percentage of these statutory increases of VA benefits to the REPS PIA and the REPS Family Maximum.
Note:  This calculation is performed automatically by the computer program.

IX.i.6.C.5.f.  Deductions Affecting Payment of REPS Benefits

REPS benefits are subject to the deductions listed below.
  • A phase out student is only entitled to the difference between the gross monthly benefit amount payable under the REPS computation and what Social Security is paying.
  • The REPS benefit payable is subject to reduction based on wages and self-employment earnings.
Reference:  For more information on the limit on wages and self-employment earnings, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.C.9.

IX.i.6.C.5.g.  Offsets Affecting Payment of REPS Benefits

The REPS gross benefit amount is subject to offset if the beneficiary is receiving
  • payment as a parent, and
  • a pension from the Federal Government, a State Government, or any political subdivision thereof.
Notes:
  • The pension must be based on the individual’s own earnings for the offset to apply.
  • The offset does not apply if eligibility
    • for the Government pension was established prior to December 1982, or
    • was established prior to July 1983 and the claimant established that one half of his/her support was provided by the deceased Veteran wage earner.
  • The offset rate
    • for the period January 1978 through June 1983 is 100 percent, and
    • from July 1983 is $2 in REPS benefits for every $3 of monthly pension payable.

IX.i.6.C.5.h.  Computing the REPS PIA and REPS Family Maximum

If SSA has not computed the REPS PIA, VA’s computer system will automatically determine the REPS PIA and REPS Family Maximum.

6.  Withholding and Paying REPS Benefits for Other Potential Claimants


Introduction

This topic contains information on withholding and paying REPS benefits for other potential claimants, including

Change Date

April 19, 2005

IX.i.6.C.6.a.  Considering the Existence of Potential Claimants

When taking award action, consider the existence of any other potential claimant who appears to have entitlement to either REPS or SSA benefits, based on information from SSA’s MBR and VA’s Beneficiary Identification and Records Locator Subsystem.  If dependency information of record indicates there is a potential claimant, compute the award as if the potential claimant were to be awarded benefits.

IX.i.6.C.6.b.  When to Withhold Benefits and Make Payments

Withhold benefits in the following cases:
  • a student claimant files a REPS application and the evidence of record shows there is another potentially eligible child claimant, or
  • a child will attain age 18 while the REPS beneficiary is being paid.
Make payment in these cases during the potential period of concurrent payment as if there were actually two schoolchild beneficiaries in receipt of payments.
Note:  The withholding stays in effect until
  • the potential claimant
    • files an application
    • marries, or
    • can be deemed age 22, or
  • there is a determined period of nonentitlement.

IX.i.6.C.6.c.  Time Limits Relating to REPS Benefits Eligibility

Under 38 CFR 3.812(f) there is no time limit for filing a claim for REPS benefits.
Under 38 CFR 3.652(b) there is no time limit for furnishing certification of continued benefit eligibility for purposes of reducing or eliminating an overpayment created due to an initial failure to furnish evidence of continued eligibility.

IX.i.6.C.6.d.  Payment of Available Difference When Withholding Has Not Been Made

If another claimant files for benefits after an award has been made and there has been no prior withholding of benefits
  • pay the new claimant the difference between
    • what has been paid, and
    • the total amount payable from the date of the new claimant’s entitlement until the first of the month following the month for which VA last paid the current payees
  • reduce the awards to the current payees the first of the month following the month for which VA last paid the payees, and
  • pay the full-rate to which the additional claimant is entitled from that date.

IX.i.6.C.6.e.  Example of Making Payment When Withholding Has Not Been Made

Situation:  Two schoolchild beneficiaries are receiving REPS and an additional schoolchild establishes REPS entitlement retroactively.  The first two schoolchildren have been receiving payment at 75 percent of the PIA, but with the additional child the Family Maximum must be applied.
Action:
  • Follow the due process procedures shown in M21-1, Part I, 2.B, to advise the first two schoolchildren of the reduction in their payment rates.
  • Pay the additional child the available difference between the Family Maximum and the total amount paid to the other two schoolchildren from the additional schoolchild’s earliest payment effective date to the first of the month following the month for which VA last paid the current payees.
  • From the first of the month following the month for which VA last paid the current payees, award each schoolchild his/her appropriate share of the Family Maximum.

7.  REPS Provisions for Effective Dates and School Provisions


Introduction

This topic contains information on REPS provisions for effective dates and school provisions, including

Change Date

 July 23, 2015

IX.i.6.C.7.a.  Effective Dates for Payment of REPS Benefits

Upon the filing of a claim for REPS benefits, pay REPS benefits for all periods of eligibility beginning on or after the first day of the month in which the claimant becomes eligible.
Notes:
  • Do not pay REPS benefits for any period prior to January 1, 1983.
  • If service connection for the Veteran’s death is established based on a presumptive regulation, the effective date of REPS benefits is not limited by the effective date of the regulation establishing presumption.  Award REPS benefits retroactive for all periods of eligibility.
References:  For more information on

IX.i.6.C.7.b.  Payment of REPS Benefits for Children

Pay REPS benefits when an entitled child is enrolled in a post-secondary program as a full-time student and the school meets SSA’s approval requirements.
Do not pay REPS benefits for
  • correspondence courses
  • on-the-job training programs, or
  • courses conducted on line through the Internet.

IX.i.6.C.7.c.  When a School Approval Is Required

A determination regarding school approval is necessary only if the
  • RO records do not show the school or training institution has a current VA approval, or
  • course is not listed in POMS.
Reference:  For more information on verification development, see POMS RS 00205.250.

IX.i.6.C.7.d.  When a School Is Considered Approved

A school is approved if
  • it is approved by a State or national accrediting agency
  • it is operated or supported by the United States Government or a State or local government, or
  • its credits are accepted on transfer by three institutions qualifying above.

IX.i.6.C.7.e.  Establishing Full-Time Attendance

Certification by an official of a college or university that attendance is full-time according to the institution’s standards is sufficient to establish full-time attendance.
For non-college degree programs (technical, trade, or vocational schools), the student must be attending full-time by the school’s standards.
Note:  Normally, 20 clock hours of attendance per week establishes full-time attendance for non-college degree programs.
Reference:  For more information on full-time attendance, see

8.  Certification of School Attendance


Introduction

This topic contains information on certification of school attendance, including

Change Date

April 17, 2019

IX.i.6.C.8.a.  Requirement of Certification of Attendance

Certification of attendance by a school official is required at the beginning and end of each school year.
Certifications are normally sent to the student but must be returned by the school.

IX.i.6.C.8.b.  Payment During a Period of Nonattendance

Award benefits before the beginning date of school attendance, based on the statement of the student on the application if
  • the period of nonattendance is four full calendar months or less, and
  • the student establishes that he/she
    • intends to be in full-time attendance at a postsecondary school immediately following the period of nonattendance, or
    • is in full-time attendance at a postsecondary school immediately following the period of nonattendance.

IX.i.6.C.8.c.  Controlling for Re-enrollment After a Period of Nonattendance

To control for re-enrollment that is scheduled to begin after a period of nonattendance
  • establish a diary to provide for release of a certification no later than 30 days after the scheduled commencement date of attendance, and
  • request an immediate certification of attendance, VA Form 21P-8926,Certification of School Attendance – REPS, if there is any question about the claimant’s actual attendance that would affect entitlement to payment of benefits.
Note:  During the end of the month (EOM) in October, a system-generated listing is produced and mailed to the St. Louis RO showing active REPS student beneficiaries.

IX.i.6.C.8.d.  Certification When There Is an Active Chapter 35 Benefit Payment

Follow the steps in the table below for handling certifications when there is an active Chapter 35 benefit payment being made to the claimant.
Note:  The RO is provided a list of active REPS student beneficiaries during the EOM in October.
Step
Action
1
Review the Chapter 35 record to confirm full-time attendance of each REPS beneficiary on the list.
2
Is the REPS beneficiary in full-time attendance?
  • If yes, and the date last certified is at the first of the term claimed, no further certification is necessary.
  • If no, go to Step 3.
Notes:
  • In some cases, half-time or three-quarter time attendance under Chapter 35 may constitute full-time attendance under the REPS program. For example, deficiency hours are countable as attendance under the REPS program but not under Chapter 35.
  • One example indicating the REPS beneficiary is not in full-time attendance is that advance payment is indicated, but the bar has not been released.
3
  • Enter the REPS beneficiary’s SSN to issue a system-generated VA Form 21P-8926 to him/her
  • notify the beneficiary of the following:
    • the certification must be completed by the beneficiary and a school official and returned to VA within 60 days, and
    • if the completed form is not received, the award will be terminated effective the first of the month after the month during which school attendance commenced, and
  • set a control in the system for return of the form.
4
Did the beneficiary provide the certification within 60 days?
  • If yes, take appropriate action based on the information contained on the certification form.
  • If no, terminate the award effective the month following the month classes were scheduled to begin.

IX.i.6.C.8.e.  Certification When There Is No Active Chapter 35 Benefit Payment

Follow the steps in the table below for handling certifications when there is no active Chapter 35 benefit payment being made to the claimant.
Step
Action
1
Enter the REPS beneficiary’s SSN to issue a system-generated VA Form 21P-8926 to him/her no later than 30 days after commencement of scheduled attendance.
2
  • Inform the beneficiary that the certification must be completed by him/her and a school official and returned to VA within 60 days or further REPS payments will be discontinued effective the first of the month after the month during which school attendance commenced.
  • Set a control in the system for return of the form.
3
Did the beneficiary provide the certification within 60 days?
  • If yes,
    • adjust according to information contained on the certification form, and/or
    • clear the pending action (PACT).
  • If no, terminate the award effective the month following the month classes were scheduled to begin.
Notes:
  • The effective date of termination is based on SSA’s concept of presumed “intent” to resume school attendance.
  • If the student has not resumed attendance after a period of nonattendance (not to exceed four calendar months), the termination is effective as of the end of the nonattendance period.
Reference:  For more information on payment during a period of nonattendance, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.C.8.b.

IX.i.6.C.8.f.  Certification at the End of the School Year

Follow the steps in the table below for handling certifications at the end of the school year.
Step
Action
1
Establish a diary control to release a certification of attendance, VA Form 21P-8938-1, Student Beneficiary Report – REPS, for each schoolchild by
  • entering the enrollment period, and
  • entering “2” in each certification status (CERT) field on the Q01 screen.
Result:  If there is a running award, the system will send a VA Form 21P-8938-1 to the student beneficiary at the end of month (EOM) in March.
Note:  Use a local control if the system control is inadequate, such as in cases where enrollment will terminate prior to the EOM in March or April.
2
Release the suspense control on return of the properly completed certification by
  • changing the certification status code to 4 on the Q01 screen if no award action is required, or
  • using status code 1 or 2, as appropriate, if award action is required for current or future adjustment.
Reference:  For more information on the certification status codes, seeM21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.C.12.

IX.i.6.C.8.g.  Process if Certification Is Not Received

The table below describes the process when school certification has not been received.
Stage
Description
1
At the EOM in May, all cases with status code 3 on the Q01 screen, certification released, receive a system-generated
Note:  The letter advises the beneficiary of the proposed termination date, which is the first of the month after the PERIOD OF ATTENDANCE: BEGIN field on the Q01 screen.
2
During the EOM in July a system-generated listing is produced showing those cases still in status code 3 and mails the listing to the St. Louis RO.
3
If school attendance still has not been certified, the St. Louis REPS personnel stop the award effective the first of the month after the month school attendance commenced.
4
If an effective date earlier than the first of the month after the month school attendance commenced is required, the
  • beneficiary is sent another notice of proposed adverse action, and
  • code 1 is entered in the CERT field on the Q01 screen.
Reference:  For more information on notices of proposed adverse action, see M21-1, Part I, 2.B.

9.  Limitations on Annual Wages and Earnings for REPS Eligibility


Introduction

This topic contains information on the limitations on annual wages and earnings for REPS eligibility, including information on

Change Date

December 6, 2004

IX.i.6.C.9.a.  Setting Limits on the Annual Amount of Wages or Earnings

REPS cases are subject to an annual wage/earnings test that sets a limit on the annual amount of wages or earnings.
Authorization must reduce or terminate payments if a beneficiary reports excessive wages.  Reduce the REPS benefit by one dollar for every two dollars of wages over the annual limit.
Note:  The annual wage limit is amended by law each year.

IX.i.6.C.9.b.  Requesting the Annual Report of Wages and Earnings

The table below describes how to request the annual report of wages and earnings from beneficiaries.
Stage
Description
1
Print a computer-generated listing of those cases for which VA Form 21-8941P, REPS Annual Eligibility Report, must be sent.
2
Between the EOM in January and the middle of each February, send the following to all surviving spouse beneficiaries and those child beneficiaries identified as having had earned income that exceeded the prior year’s limit:
  • a cover letter advising the beneficiaries that failure to return the form within 60 days will result in
    • termination effective the beginning of the preceding calendar year, or
    • later effective date of the REPS award.
3
Establish a local control for 65 days at the time the VA Form 21P-8941is dispatched.
4
If no response is received
  • terminate the award as indicated in the cover letter
  • inform the beneficiary of the termination, and
  • furnish another VA Form 21P-8941 to the beneficiary.
5
Take appropriate award action based on the information received.
Note:  In cases where the earnings data is being reported to SSA and the data can be obtained from SSA, use the SSA earnings data in lieu of having the beneficiary file VA Form 21P-8941.
Example:  Phase out student cases and spouse cases in which SSA has made payments during the year.

IX.i.6.C.9.c.  Using a Monthly Earnings Test During Grace Years

A monthly earnings test can be used during grace years.  The two grace years are the
  • initial year of entitlement, and
  • year in which entitlement ends (unless it ends due to death or entitlement to another type of SSA benefit).
Note:  For schoolchild beneficiaries, any year can be a grace year.

IX.i.6.C.9.d.  Reasons to Use a Monthly Earnings Test

Use the monthly earnings test
  • to avoid penalizing a beneficiary who has substantial earned income before becoming entitled to Social Security or after Social Security entitlement ends, and
  • if
    • the beneficiary’s annual earnings exceed the exempt amount, and
    • it is a grace year for the beneficiary.

IX.i.6.C.9.e.  Determining Entitlement to REPS Benefits by Evaluating Monthly Earnings

Determine entitlement by evaluating the beneficiary’s monthly earnings.  The monthly earnings may result in a beneficiary’s REPS benefits either
  • going up and down from month to month, or
  • being stopped for one or more months during an initial or termination grace year.

IX.i.6.C.9.f.  Considering a Beneficiary’s Services in Self-Employment

Consider if the claimant is engaged in substantial services in self-employment, if
  • a REPS beneficiary who is self-employed reports earnings, which are above the exempt amount, and
  • it is during the initial or termination grace year.

IX.i.6.C.9.g.  Determining Substantial Employment

When more than 45 hours are devoted to self-employment in a month, services are considered substantial.
When less than 15 hours are devoted to self-employment in a month, services arenot considered substantial.
Generally, if between 15 and 45 hours are devoted to self-employment, services are considered substantial if the beneficiary is involved in a highly skilled occupation or the management of a sizable business.
Note:  A special determination of REPS eligibility is required when a beneficiary reports
  • wages that exceed the monthly limit, or
  • more than 45 hours of self-employment in one month.

IX.i.6.C.9.h.  Considering a Beneficiary’s Foreign Earnings

When a beneficiary reports foreign earnings, apply the procedure described inPOMS RS 2605.

10.  Preparing REPS Awards and Denials


Introduction

This topic contains information on preparing REPS awards and denials, including information on

Change Date

April 17, 2019

IX.i.6.C.10.a.  Completing Award Action

Prepare initial and supplemental awards in original only unless a copy is required because the claimant has a fiduciary payee.
Notes:
  • REPS hard-copy awards are input on a stand-alone personal computer (PC) in the REPS division of the St. Louis Veterans Service Center.
  • The hard-copy awards are
    • printed, and
    • input into BDN by finance activity personnel.

IX.i.6.C.10.b.  Completing Award Action

When completing REPS award action in the PC program
  • establish a PACT if one was not previously established, and
  • follow the computer prompts to enter the award data.
Item Name
Entry
Transaction Code
Enter
  • O” for an original award, and
  • S” for all supplemental awards.
Social Security Number of Veteran
Enter the Veteran’s SSN.
Payee Number
Enter the appropriate payee number to identify the person entitled.
Assign payee number
  • 10 for surviving spouse cases, and
  • payee numbers 11-19 for schoolchild cases.
Power of Attorney
Enter the claimant’s power of attorney code, if any.
RO Number C-File Location
Enter the number of the RO where the deceased Veteran’s claims folder is located.
Type of Other Record
If the claimant is in receipt of either DIC benefits or benefits under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35, mark the appropriate item.
Name and Address
Enter the beneficiary’s name and address, and the address line on which the beneficiary’s name is entered. If the beneficiary’s name cannot be matched against the stub name, enter a zero.
Claimant: DOB/SSN/CNBR
Enter the claimant’s
  • DOB
  • SSN, and
  • VA folder number.
Note:  Complete this item only when preparing an original award.
Veteran: Stub name/DOD/BR
Enter the Veteran’s
  • stub name
  • date of death, and
  • branch of service.
Note:  Complete this item only when preparing an original award.
Surviving Spouse: Qualifying Child DOB/Name
On payee 10 awards, enter the DOB for the child in care.
If there is more than one child in care who has reached age 16 but not age 18, enter the data for the youngest child.
Note:  Complete this item only when preparing an original award.
Family Maximum Amount
Enter the REPS Family Maximum.
Reference:  For more information on calculating the monthly REPS benefit, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.C.5.
SSA Base Rate
Enter the Social Security monthly pay amount used as the base rate for REPS payments.
Note:  This is derived from the computation inM21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.C.5 and should support the monthly rate for the current award line.
Award Data: CR
Enter the change reason code from M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.C.12 indicating the reason for the change in rate. Enter a change reason code on each award line.
Award Data:  Monthly Rate
Enter the monthly rate on each award line. Enter a termination or no-rate period as “0” effective as of the first month of non-entitlement.
Award Data:  Effective Date
Enter the effective date (MM-01-YYYY).
Prior Pay Data
Enter the monthly rate(s) and effective date(s) for all prior periods of pay on all retroactive awards. If no previous payments were made, enter “NONE.”
Pay Thru Date
Enter the month and year through which continuing payments are to be made.
Current Enrollment Period
Enter the beginning and ending dates for the current enrollment period for a student beneficiary.
Status for Certification
Input the appropriate code number for school attendance certification control as follows:
  • Code 1, No control
  • Code 2, Est control
  • Code 4, Certification received
Note:  Code 3, Cert released, is computer-generated and used by the Hines BPC only.

IX.i.6.C.10.c.  Responsibilities of the Authorization Activity

The authorization activity is responsible for
  • printing the completed hard-copy award
  • attaching the award to the REPS file
  • obtaining the necessary approval signature, and
  • forwarding the REPS award and file to the finance activity.

IX.i.6.C.10.d.  Responsibilities of the Finance Activity

The finance activity is responsible for inputting
  • the current monthly rate payable
  • any retroactive amount payable
  • the amount of any proceeds due, and
  • any accounts receivable amount.

IX.i.6.C.10.e.  Finance Activity Award Action Procedures

The table below describes the finance activity’s award action process.
Stage
Description
1
Finance Clerk
  • completes the bottom of the hard-copy award showing all the pertinent award information, such as
    • the current monthly amount payable
    • any retroactive amount payable, and
    • accounts receivable to be established, broken down by fiscal year, and
  • signs the award
2
Finance Clerk
  • enters the award information into BDN, and
  • prints a copy of the BDN screens for the file.
3
Another Finance Clerk or Analyst
  • verifies the award computations and BDN input from the BDN screens
  • marks any errors for correction by the input clerk
  • signs and dates the corrected hard-copy award, and
  • files the award and input screen(s) on the left side of the REPS folder.
Note:  Input by one clerk and review by another clerk is mandatory because information entered on the Q01 and Q02 screens does not require authorization such as CAUT or FAUT.

IX.i.6.C.10.f.  Establishing REPS Accounts Receivable

The St. Louis RO is responsible for
  • establishing any REPS accounts receivable
  • collecting all REPS debts, and
  • any waiver actions resulting from REPS overpayments.

IX.i.6.C.10.g.  Preparing Denials

REPS denials are prepared by a VSR and approved by a Senior VSR.  Prepare denials in the PC program and file the authorized denial in the REPS claims folder.

IX.i.6.C.10.h.  Completing Denial Action

When completing denial action in the PC program
  • establish a PACT if one was not previously established, and
  • follow the computer prompts to enter the denial data.
Item Name
Entry
Type Claim
Indicate whether the claimant was filing as a
  • surviving spouse, or
  • schoolchild.
Veteran’s/Wage Earner’s SSN
Enter the SSN of the wage earner (deceased Veteran).
Veteran’s/Wage Earner’s Name
Enter the full name of the wage earner.
Date of Claim
Enter the earliest date of receipt of the REPS claim that is being denied.
Location of XC-File
Enter the location of the deceased Veteran’s claims folder.
XC-File Number
Enter the deceased Veteran’s claims folder number.
Claimant’s Name
Enter the claimant’s full name.
Reasons for Disallowance
Select the applicable reason code for the denial of the claim.
Note:  If none of the specified denial reasons apply, use reason code 29, Other, and specify the reason for denial.

IX.i.6.C.10.i.  Notifying Claimants of Decisions

After awarding or denying entitlement to REPS benefits, issue the claimant a decision notice that
  • contains all applicable elements of decision notification, as described in38 CFR 3.103(f)
  • explains the reasons for award action or denial, and
  • discloses the creation of any overpayment.
Reference:  For more information on required elements of a decision notice, seeM21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 2.B.1.b.

IX.i.6.C.10.j.  Handling Disagreements Based on Prior SSA Dependency Determinations

Follow the steps in the table below when a claimant submits a legacy notice of disagreement (NOD) or request for decision review under 38 CFR 3.2500, regarding denial of a REPS claim based on a prior SSA determination on dependency.
Reference:  For information on handling a legacy NOD regarding denial of a claim for other reasons, such as marriage or full-time wages, see M21-1, Part I, 5.B.
Step
Action
1
  • Ask SSA to furnish VA with
    • a copy of SSA’s determination, and
    • all evidence relating to the SSA decision, and
  • consider or request from the claimant any additional evidencenot previously considered by SSA.
2
  • Review the decision made by SSA and all supporting evidence, including any new evidence submitted  or identified by the claimant, and
  • make an administrative decision as to whether or not dependency is established under the SSA rules.
Note:  The conclusion of the decision follows SSA’s finding of non-entitlement unless
  • SSA’s finding is patently in error, or
  • the claimant furnished new and relevant evidence that establishes dependency under SSA’s rules.
3
Has the SSA decision been affirmed?
  • If yes, prepare a legacy statement of the case or review decision in accordance with corresponding procedures.
  • If no, and authorization determines, based on the SSA rules, that dependency is established
    • approve the REPS claim
    • notify SSA of the decision, and
    • furnish all facts and circumstances relating to VA’s decision to establish dependency for REPS purposes.

11.  Exhibit 1:  REPS Change Reason Codes for Awards


Change Date

December 6, 2004

IX.i.6.C.11.a.  REPS Change Reason Codes for Awards

This exhibit contains the REPS change reason codes for awards.
Code
Description
00
Entitlement Begins
11
Income Change or Income Excessive
12
Youngest Child Reaches Age 16
13
Children No Longer Established
14
Relationship Not Established
15
Person Entitled Married
16
Failed To Furnish Requested Evidence
20
Claim Withdrawn
22
Death of Claimant Payee
23
Child Enters School
24
Child Reaches Age 18
25
Schoolchild Terminates Full-Time School Attendance
26
Dependency Change
27
Less Than Full-Time Attendance
28
Redistribution of Family Benefit
29
Continue Current Rate
31
Child Not In Care
35
Child Over Age 22
36
Child Over Age 22 – Eligibility Ends
37
Legislative Change
43
Another Payee in School
44
Another Payee No Longer Entitled
45
Another Payee No Longer Entitled
47
Another Payee No Longer Entitled
57
Spouse Not Entitled – Disabled Child
60
Benefits Resumed
70
Summer Suspense Starts
71
Summer Suspense Adjustment
72
Restore to 50% SS Paid (Eff. 9/1/83)
73
Restore to 75% SS Paid (Eff. 9/1/84)
74
Restore 100% Rate
75
Adjust Effective Date
76
Change in Other Benefit
80
Program Not Approved
81
School Not Approved
91
Child in High School – Receiving SS
97
Non-receipt of Cert of Attendance
98
Non-receipt of Earnings Information
99
Non-receipt of VA Form 21-8938

12.  Exhibit 2:  REPS Change Reason Codes for Denials


Change Date

December 6, 2004

IX.i.6.C.12.a.  REPS Change Reason Codes for Denial

This exhibit contains the REPS change reason codes.
Code
Description
11
Your earned income exceeds the maximum limit established by law. You may reapply if you earn less than reported.
12
The youngest qualifying child is still less than 16 years of age.
13
None of the Veteran’s children have been established as your dependent.
14
The evidence is insufficient to establish your relationship as a dependent of the Veteran.
15
You have married.
16
You have failed to furnish the evidence necessary to establish your possible entitlement.
20
You have withdrawn your claim for REPS benefits.
24
The Veteran’s youngest child in your care has reached age 18.
25
You are not attending school.
26
There has been a change in dependency status.
27
You are attending at less than the full-time rate.
29
For the reasons indicated below.
31
The Veteran’s child who would qualify you for benefits is not in your care.
35
You are over age 22.
57
You are still entitled to Social Security benefits because you have a disabled child in your care.
80
The program of education you have selected is not approved.
81
The postsecondary school you have selected is not approved.
91
You are still entitled to Social Security benefits because you are pursuing secondary school training (high school).
Historical_M21-1IX_i_6_SecC_7-23-15.doc May 19, 2019 344 KB
4-17-19_Key-Changes_M21-1IX_i_6_SecC.docx May 19, 2019 86 KB
Historical_M21-1IX_i_6_SecC_11-21-2006.docx May 19, 2019 71 KB
Change-July-23-2015-Transmittal-Sheet-M21-1IX_i_6_SecC_TS.docx May 19, 2019 41 KB
Did this article answer your question?

Leave a Reply





Pin It on Pinterest

Share This