Receiving notice of a Social Security overpayment can be difficult for a recipient, especially when benefits are their only source of income. Often, such notices state that the recipient owes thousands of dollars in back benefits and their benefits for the next month will be completely removed or drastically cut. Understanding overpayments can help recipients know their options if they are faced with an allegation of an overpayment.
Why Overpayments Occur
There are a variety of reasons why an overpayment may occur. If a recipient’s income changed because he or she returned to work but failed to notify the Social Security Administration, an overpayment will be the likely result. Another reason an overpayment can occur is if a person’s medical condition has improved to the point that he or she is no longer considered disabled, the Social Security Administration may request reimbursement for the months when the individual was no longer considered disabled. SSI recipients are only allowed a certain amount of resources and if this amount is exceeded, they can lose eligibility for a certain period of time. Overpayments can also occur because of inaccurate information that the Social Security Administration has about a recipient or because of computer miscalculations. A Social Security law firm Chicago can review the notice for the stated reasons why an overpayment is alleged.
Overpayment Repayment Adjustment
If a recipient determines that the overpayment is valid but simply cannot afford the amount of money that is withheld from his or her benefits check, he or she can request to change this rate. An attorney may be able to advocate on a client’s behalf in order to reduce the amount of funds that are withheld so that the overpayment does not have as dramatic of an effect on a recipient.
If the recipient believes that the overpayment is incorrect or the amount of the overpayment is wrong, he or she can request Reconsideration. This request must be made within 60 days of receiving the overpayment notice. If the recipient does not make the request for reconsideration within 60 days, he or she must have good reason for passing this deadline in order for Social Security to still consider the request.
Waiver for Overpayment
The overpayment can be waived if the recipient can show that the overpayment was not his or her fault and paying it back would be unfair or cause financial hardship.