One day, Joe received a notice from the Social Security Administration (“Social Security”). Unfortunately, it was not good news. The notice said Joe had received too much money for his Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Since he did not know how to handle an SSI overpayment, he ignored the notice and hoped the issue would just go away. He had already spent the money. There were other, better ways that Joe could have handled the situation. It would have helped if he had understood why he was overpaid and that he could ask for help.
Reasons for SSI Overpayment to Beneficiaries
An overpayment occurs anytime Social Security sends more money than someone is entitled to receive. So, you can calculate the overpayment by subtracting the amount you were supposed to be paid from the actual amount you received.
For example, Joe was supposed to receive $500 per month in SSI benefits. Social Security accidentally sent him $1,000. That made his overpayment $500.
Here are some of the reasons that an SSI overpayment might happen:
- Income is higher than estimated.
- Changes to your living situation happened.
- Your marital status changes.
- Your resources are more than the allowable limit.
- You are no longer eligible to receive benefits.
- You did not report changes to us.
- Social Security incorrectly calculated your benefits because of missing or incorrect information.
Social Security will notify you if you have received an SSI overpayment.
After You Receive the Notice
Read the notice very carefully. The notice explains how much you were overpaid, the reason why, and your repayment options.
If you currently receive Social Security benefits, Social Security could deduct the full amount from those benefits. They would start withholding within 30 days after they notify you of the SSI overpayment.
If you receive SSI benefits, they can withhold 10 percent each month until the debt is paid in full. They don’t start deducting for 60 days after they notify you.
Some people are no longer receive benefits when they learn about the overpayment. Repayment can be made by:
- Sending a check for the entire overpayment to Social Security.
- Visiting a Social Security office to make a payment by credit card, debit card, check, or money order.
- Asking Social Security to set up a convenient repayment plan.
Your notice of overpayment also includes details on how to appeal your overpayment. Options include:
- Asking for a waiver of the overpayment; and
- Requesting a reconsideration of Social Security’s decision.
The worst thing you can do here is just to ignore the notice of overpayment.
You Can’t Ignore an SSI Overpayment.
Social Security is not likely to forget that you received more SSI benefits than you should have. It is critical that you address overpayment as soon as you receive notice.
The application process can be long and frustrating, so you need someone on your side. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.