As a disability claimant, there must have been a time when you found yourself receiving more than your benefit limit. If you have been overpaid, the SSA will send you a notice explaining the overpayment and requesting that you return the money in full within 30 days. The document will also outline your right to appeal if you disagree with SSA's decision and how to get a waiver from the agency.
If you believe that the SSA made a mistake and that you were not overpaid, you must request a review. Before we explain how to win an SSI overpayment case, let's talk a little more about what it is.
What Is An SSI Overpayment?
If the SSA determines that you have received an excessive amount of money as a Social Security benefit, they will send you a Notice of Overpayment. Overpayments of Social Security benefits can occur for a variety of reasons:
- An overpayment happens when a change in circumstances reduces or eliminates an individual's SSI benefit and is undetected for a period of time.
- When an SSI recipient works, an overpayment is unavoidable. Earnings are reported by the 10th of the following month, and SSI is adjusted that month. If earnings fluctuate, there will be overpayments in months when earnings exceed the SSA's SSI benefit calculation amount.
- In other circumstances, the SSA will cap an overpayment at two years, even though the fault lingered for much longer.
How To Successfully Appeal An Overpayment
Social Security pays out more benefits than are legally due at times, and the government also provides overpayment notices that are incorrectly issued. In this case, three options are available to you:
- Request for Reconsideration
- Payment agreement
Form 561, Request for Reconsideration, should be filed with the SSA if you do not believe that you have been overpaid or if you believe that the SSA has estimated the amount of your overpayment improperly.
In most cases, you have 60 days from the date you received the Notice of Overpayment to file a reconsideration request. However, if you file within 10 days of receiving the notice, the SSA will not attempt to recover the overpayment until after your reconsideration has been decided.
It frequently occurs that an individual has absolutely no notion whether or not an alleged overpayment is justified in any way. In this situation, submitting a reconsideration request forces the SSA to reexamine your case and explain to you why it believes you were overpaid.
In an informal hearing with a Social Security employee, you have the opportunity to provide evidence in support of your case during the reconsideration stage of your appeal process. If you are denied a request for reconsideration, you have 60 days to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge for an appeal.
If you receive an adverse decision from the ALJ, you have an additional 60 days to file a final administrative appeal with the Social Security Administration's Appeals Council. To ensure that your overpayment appeal is properly handled, it's a good idea to consult with an expert disability attorney as soon as you receive your overpayment letter.
Frequently Asked Questions:
If you receive an overpayment notice from the Social Security Administration (SSA), carefully review the notice to understand the reasons for the overpayment. Verify the accuracy of the information provided, and gather any documentation that may support your case. You can then request a reconsideration, which is an appeal of the overpayment decision, within 60 days of receiving the notice.
Common defenses against SSI overpayment claims include disputing the SSA's calculations, demonstrating that the overpayment was not your fault, and providing evidence that you were not aware of the changes in your circumstances that resulted in the overpayment. A strong defense will typically involve supporting documentation and a clear explanation of your position.
Yes, if you cannot afford to repay the SSI overpayment and can demonstrate that the overpayment was not your fault, you can request a waiver. To request a waiver, you must submit the SSA's Overpayment Recovery Questionnaire (Form SSA-632) along with any supporting documentation. The SSA will then review your financial situation, your role in the overpayment, and your ability to repay before making a decision on your waiver request.
If you feel as though you have been wrongly served an SSI overpayment letter, you can always appeal it. You will need to appear before an administrative law judge and fight for your case. The best way to do this is by requesting a reconsideration.
At Disability Help, you will find numerous informative resources such as how to calculate social security payments.