South Carolina Legal Services > Blog > Uncategorized > Responding to a Social Security Administration (SSA) Overpayment

Responding to a Social Security Administration (SSA) Overpayment

The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines an overpayment as anytime someone receives more benefits than they are supposed to receive. It is a debt to a government agency. SSA is required to try and collect any money that was overpaid.

SSA uses the term “recover/recovery” when it talks about repayment of an overpayment. A notice is supposed to be mailed to you telling you the amount of the overpayment and why it happened. You have the right to file an appeal denying that there is an overpayment or that is not as much as they say it is. An appeal must be filed within 60 days of receiving an overpayment notice.

You also have the right to request that SSA waive the overpayment. This usually means that you agree that you were overpaid, but you are asking SSA to let you avoid paying the debt. A waiver should be granted if you can prove that you did nothing wrong and that you cannot afford to repay it. It is difficult to prove that you did everything right which is why you need to keep proof of anything you send to SSA.

There are other options besides filing an appeal or waiver request. You can ask for a reasonable repayment agreement; one that allows you to make monthly payments that you can afford. Another option for anyone who is on Medicare and receives help paying for their Part B or Part D benefits is to ask for a $10/month repayment. This request can be made by submitting a simple request in writing. A form for this can be found here: Request for $10 Withholding

If you do not do anything, SSA has default collection policies. It will not collect more than 10% of the current federal benefit rate for anyone receiving SSI. Federal law allows SSA to take the entire monthly benefit for anyone receiving retirement, disability, or survivor’s benefits. This has created a lot of hardship for seniors and persons with disabilities because it can take months for SSA to decide on an appeal or waiver request.

On March 26, 2024, Martin O’Malley, the new commissioner of SSA, announced a new default policy that limits the default payment to 10% for anyone receiving cash benefits from one of their programs. This is a new policy, and it will take SSA a few months to fully implement it. If your entire monthly benefits are taken to repay an overpayment after April 15, 2024, you will need to call SSA to request the lower amount.

Anyone who needs help with an overpayment should contact SCLS for more information.