Social Security Overpayment
An overpayment of Social Security benefits occurs when the Social Security Administration pays you more than you should have been paid. When the Social Security Administration believes that you have received an overpayment, they will send you a Notice of Overpayment. The Notice of Overpayment will tell you why you have been overpaid and how you can repay the Social Security Administration. The Notice of Overpayment will also allow you to ask the Social Security Administration to reconsider its decision, for a different repayment rate or for a waiver of the overpayment. The Notice of Overpayment will usually require repayment in 30 days. Overpayments occur most often when Social Security benefit recipients do not report a change in circumstances to the Social Security Administration. For example, if you do not tell the Social Security Administration that you started working, that your child moved out of your house, or that your child began receiving child support, you may receive an overpayment of benefits. In other cases, while you have reported the change in circumstances, the Social Security Administration did not decrease your monthly benefit amount to reflect the change yet. If you do not believe that you were overpaid, you may request reconsideration by the Social Security Administration. You must ask for reconsideration in writing through your local Social Security office or by filling out the Request for Reconsideration Form. The request must be made within sixty days of receiving the Notice of Overpayment. However, if you file your request within thirty days of receiving the Notice, the Social Security Administration will stop taking the overpayment out of your benefits until after they reach a decision on your reconsideration, and will repay any benefits withheld after the Notice. In your request for reconsideration, you may ask for one of three types of review. In a case review, an Administration worker will review your paperwork and make a new decision based upon your file. If you choose an informal conference, you will meet with the person who will decide your case to go over your file, provide new information and provide your side of the story. Finally, in a formal conference, you may bring witnesses to present your case to the Administrative decision-maker. Formal conferences are only used if SSI or Special Veterans Benefits have been stopped or lowered for non-medical reasons. If an overpayment was not your fault and you cannot afford to repay it, you may request a waiver. An automatic waiver will be granted if the amount is less than $1000, you did not cause the overpayment by making a false statement and you request a waiver. When applying for a waiver you need to fill out the Overpayment Recovery Request Form. If your waiver request is denied and you receive SSI benefits, you may request a reconsideration of the waiver decision. If the waiver is denied again, you may ask for an Administrative Hearing within sixty days of your reconsideration denial. Finally, if you are unsuccessful at the Administrative Hearing, you may have your case heard by the Appeals Council. Benefit recipients that are unsuccessful before the Appeals Council may then take the case to court. If you decide not to appeal the overpayment or you decide not to appeal further, you must pay the money back. The Social Security Administration will generally work with you to find a payment arrangement you can afford, but you must make the request. If you do not request a smaller amount, the Administration may withhold your whole disability benefit check or up to 10% of your SSI benefit check.