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Handling Overpayment from the SSA

by | Jul 19, 2016 | Lawyer

Securing disability benefits from the Social Security Administration can be a difficult process. But you hope that once you have completed the process, everything will run smoothly and there will be no surprises or interruptions. That is rarely the case. One fairly frequent surprise, that may at first appear to be pleasant is the case of overpayment to you by the Social Security Administration. It is always nice to get more than you thought you would receive, but if it is in error, this can cause a whole new series of headaches for you. Overpayment is simply “when you receive more money for a month than the amount you should have been paid”. So if this happens, what do you do?

Notify the SSA
There are many reasons that an overpayment can happen, such as: a change in marital status, your estimated income is more than you thought, you recover from your disability, or even simple computer error. Many people might be tempted to keep the money and say nothing at all the Social Security Administration. This is, however, the exact opposite of what you need to do. If you notice an overpayment from the Social Security Administration you need to notify them right away. If you aren’t sure why there was an overpayment and receive an overpayment notice, you may apply for a waiver, a reconsideration of benefits, or even both.

Receiving a Waiver
If you are granted the waiver you will not need to repay the full amount, or even part of the amount which was overpaid to you. (Otherwise, you will need to pay that amount back to the Social Security Administration.)

In order to receive the waiver you must be able to demonstrate that:
1- The overpayment was not your fault (if you misrepresented information, on purpose or by accident) AND
2- You cannot make the repayment and still make your usual living costs. Typically this is accomplished by submitting a record of all of your monthly expenses and showing that your expenses take up all of your income.

Waiver Denial
Should the worst case scenario occur and your waiver is denied, again you may ask for a reconsideration. If your request is denied again, you will need to repay the full amount which was overpaid initially. The overpayment can be repaid in a variety of ways: you can choose to repay it all at once, the amount will be withheld by the SSA from your future benefits payments, or you can arrange for a small amount to be withheld each month. Additionally, you can also arrange to pay the SSA back in small monthly payments if you are no longer receiving benefits.

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