12 Oct How to Handle Social Security Overpayment
Occasionally, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may accidentally overpay you. This may happen just once, or it may happen over a period of monthly payments. For instance, if your Social Security Benefits are supposed to be $1,180 monthly, but you have been receiving $1,380 a month for seven months, you will be required to pay back the additional $1,400 that the SSA overpaid you. However, in many instances, an individual who is receiving Social Security benefits is typically living a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle, so to speak, and they do not have the funds to pay back the overpaid amount in full. If this is the case, the SSA may be willing to negotiate a repayment plan. In this article, we’ll provide suggestions for handling social security overpayment and how a social security attorney can help.
Social Security Overpayment: Paying Back the SSA
If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and were overpaid, and if the social security overpayment was accidental, the Social Security Administration will simply take a percentage of your current benefits out of your check each month. Usually, they will take 10 percent until you have repaid them in full. However, if the SSI overpayment was a result of SSI fraud—including false information on your SSI application—the SSA is entitled to take back 100 percent of your benefits, which they will request in full. The SSA will begin withholding a percentage of your check within 60 days of sending out the social security overpayment notice.
If you received an overpayment on your Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits, the SSA will withhold your entire SSDI check each month until they have recovered the entire overpaid amount. They will withhold your entire SSDI check but not your SSI check because they assume that individuals who receive SSDI also have a supplemental income coming in from elsewhere, while many people who receive SSI benefits rely solely on those benefits to get by each month.
When You Cannot Afford Social Security Overpayment
Many times, it is not the beneficiary’s fault that the SSA overpaid them, yet the beneficiary is the one that suffers when they must repay the overpaid amount. Many SSI and SSDI beneficiaries cannot afford for even a small percentage of their check to be withheld each month, much less their entire check (as is the case with SSDI overpayment). If the SSA has contacted you regarding social security overpayment, and if you simply cannot afford to lose the predetermined amount of money each month from your benefits check, you can always request a different repayment schedule. However, you must be prepared to show the SSA that you cannot even afford what they deem ordinary and necessary living expenses—such as rent, mortgage, food, clothing, utilities, medical expenses, and the like—in order for them to be willing to negotiate.
Once you prove that your budget is already tight, you must then negotiate a repayment plan. Typically, the Social Security office prefers payment plans that can be paid off within one year; if you can come up with a repayment plan that will allow the social security overpayment to be repaid in full within 12 months, the SSA cannot deny your proposal and must accept the new negotiated repayment plan. If you feel that 12 months is still too short of a time to repay the social security overpayment in full, you may be able to negotiate a 36-month plan. If you can propose a 36-month plan on which you pay at least $10 a month, the Social Security Administration has no choice but to accept your proposal.
Requesting a Waiver
Finally, if you cannot afford a proposed repayment plan, and if you cannot afford to repay 60 to 80 percent of the overpaid amount, you have the option of asking the Social Security Administration to waive the overpaid amount entirely. However, because this is asking a lot, you may want to approach the SSA with an experienced South Carolina social security attorney at your side.
Consult a Mount Pleasant Social Security Attorney
At Klok Law Firm LLC, our social security attorneys can assist you in negotiating a feasible repayment plan with the SSA in the case of social security overpayment. If necessary, we can also help you receive a reduction in overpayments or get your payments waived entirely. If you have received a social security overpayment notice from the SSA, and if you are unsure of how you are going to repay them on your limited budget, contact the attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC to discuss your options.