SSI and SSDI Overpayment
A study published by CNN found that between December 2010 and January 2013, approximately 36,000 people may have received overpayments from the Social Security Administration. The total of those overpayments is a staggering $1.3 billion!
It’s worth clarifying exactly how the SSA defines an overpayment. They define it as someone receiving more money for a month than what they should have been paid. As a simple example, if an individual is approved for $2,500 in monthly benefits but receives a $3,000 check one month, that would be a $500 overpayment.
So how can so many people receive such a significant amount of overpayments? There are a variety of factors that can cause an overpayment to be made. For the SSI program, one of the most common reasons an overpayment is made is if someone’s living situation or marital status changes. Other reasons include if a recipient’s income is actually higher than they estimated or having more resources than the SSA’s allowable limit. For either the SSI or SSDI programs reasons for overpayments include: no longer being disabled but still receiving benefits, not reporting a change to the SSA, or the Social Security Administration incorrectly calculating benefits as a result of wrong or missing information.
What Does the SSA Do When They Realize They’ve Made an Overpayment?
When the Social Security Administration realizes they’ve messed up, they’ll send an overpayment notice to the individual. This notice will explain that an overpayment was made and states that the excess amount should be refunded to the SSA within thirty days. The notice will also explain what will happen to your monthly benefits if the overpayment isn’t paid back.
Process of Repayment
The standard process outlined in the notice involves the SSA proposing to withhold 10% of your total monthly income. They’ll also say the date this withholding will start, and the notice will outline your appeal rights. It will also go over what you can do to get it reviewed and waived. If that course of action is successful, you won’t have to pay back anything.
Even if you’re unable to get the overpayment waived by SSA, it’s still possible to negotiate a favorable repayment plan that doesn’t create a financial strain for you. In many cases, all someone needs in this situation is an experienced legal professional who may be able to guide them through the nuances of negotiating with the SSA.
If you’re currently having any issues with your Social Security benefits or are thinking about applying, don’t hesitate to contact Lisa M. Ritacco to arrange a free consultation about your specific situation.