The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) has recently issued several announcements regarding the exemption of Holocaust-related compensation payments from being considered in calculating income for purposes of Social Security payments.
The SSA issued an “Emergency Message” in 2014, providing SSA staff with operating instructions to help them identify ZRBG compensation as Holocaust-related payments to victims of Nazi persecution. Holocaust-related payments, under a 1994 law, are not counted either as income or other resources in determining eligibility for and the amount to be paid relating to Supplemental Security Income [SSI]. The instruction distinguished ZRBG payments from ordinary German social security pensions, which would not be exempt under the 1994 law for SSI calculation purposes.
SSA updated its Program Operations Manual System (POMS) to clarify that German social insurance benefits based on work credits, such as ZRBG payments – or German social insurance payments based on being deprived of the opportunity to work in Germany during the Nazi regime – earned before 1957 are not subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). The WEP reduces U.S. Social Security payments for certain individuals receiving pensions based on work in another country from which Social Security taxes were not withheld.
SSA issued an instruction to provide guidance on the treatment of inherited Holocaust-related compensation and restitution payments for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility and payment-amount purposes. The instruction states that inherited payments are excluded from calculation of income and assets for SSI purposes: View the instructions.