To most of us, benefits come into our bank accounts. The payments don’t go out. However, sometimes benefit overpayments happen.
Receiving too much money from the government seems too good to be true.
Unfortunately, it is.
The Government’s Response to Benefit Overpayments
The Social Security Administration (Social Security) manages both the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Once Social Security realizes they have paid you too much, they will send you a notice of overpayment.
What happens next could depend on whether you are still getting benefits.
If you are, Social Security will take your monthly benefit payment until benefit overpayments are paid in full. In some cases, they can take the entire check each month.
If you are not still receiving SSDI, Social Security still expects you to repay the excess amount you received. However, sometimes it is possible to work out a repayment plan with Social Security.
Fighting the Decision
The notice of overpayment Social Security sends you will contain information about appealing their decision. But you only have 60 days to appeal an overpayment decision. You will need to submit a form SSA-561 Request for Reconsideration. Social Security will stop taking your monthly benefits until a decision is made on your request. If your request is denied, Social Security often works out repayment plans with benefit recipients.
It’s also possible to ask Social Security to waive repayment of benefit overpayments. For example, maybe the overpayment was not your fault. You can talk to your local Social Security Office about the situation. To initiate the process – which has no time limit – you can file a form SSA-632-BK Request for Waiver of Overpayment Recovery or Change in Repayment Rate. Here, again, Social Security will stop taking your monthly benefit until a decision is made on your request.
Preventing Benefit Overpayment
Overpayments happen for a variety of reasons. Some of them might be avoided by:
- notifying Social Security if you begin working
- reporting income to your Social Security Office
- reporting that your income has increased
- telling Social Security when you move
- reporting changes in marital status
- letting Social Security know about changes in your medical status
If you think you might be in danger of benefit overpayments, talk to your attorney. You could also call your local Social Security office to find out if your benefit amount should change. It’s probably easier to handle this before the government overpays you.
Learn More About Repaying Benefit Overpayments
The first step after learning you have a disability is to apply for benefits. However, applying for Social Security benefits is never easy. Appealing a denial of claims is even more difficult. We strongly encourage you to talk to an attorney before applying for SSDI.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience helping people obtain the disability benefits they deserve. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California