South Carolina Legal Services > Blog > Uncategorized > Social Security Eliminates Overpayment Burden for Social Security Beneficiaries – Automatic Overpayment Recovery Rate Reduced to 10 Percent

Social Security Eliminates Overpayment Burden for Social Security Beneficiaries – Automatic Overpayment Recovery Rate Reduced to 10 Percent

The organization is dedicated to ensuring accurate disbursement of funds to beneficiaries in a timely manner, with Social Security striving to issue correct payments in the majority of cases. Nonetheless, there remains room for improvement to prevent and manage instances of overpayment more effectively, as individuals rely on the agency for financial stability.

When an overpayment occurs, it is mandated by law for the agency to recover the excess amount, potentially creating financial strain for recipients. Effective March 25, 2024, a new policy has been implemented wherein the agency will collect ten percent of the total monthly Social Security benefit, or $10, whichever is greater, to recoup overpayments, as opposed to the previous practice of collecting the entire amount. Exceptions to this policy change will be limited, such as in cases involving fraud.

During a brief transition period, individuals may still encounter the previous policy. Those subjected to 100 percent withholding during this transition phase are advised to contact Social Security’s National 800 Number at 1-800-772-1213 to request a reduction in their withholding rate.

The revised policy applies to newly identified overpayments. Beneficiaries with existing overpayments subject to a withholding rate exceeding ten percent can also contact Social Security to discuss lowering the repayment rate. Requests for rates below ten percent will be evaluated by representatives, with approval granted if the proposed rate allows for full repayment within 60 months—a recent extension from the previous 36-month limit. If the proposed rate extends repayment beyond 60 months, additional financial information will be requested from the beneficiary to make a determination.

In October 2023, Social Security initiated a comprehensive review of overpayment policies and procedures to enhance payment accuracy systematically. This procedural adjustment is a direct outcome of the ongoing review process and is one of four recent key updates aimed at addressing improper payments. Efforts are also underway to minimize wage-related improper payments through enhanced information exchanges with payroll data providers. The organization remains committed to evaluating programmatic policies and implementing regulatory changes to streamline the overpayment process.

Recipients have the right to appeal overpayment decisions or amounts and can request a waiver for overpayment collection if they believe it was not their fault and they cannot afford repayment. The agency refrains from pursuing recoveries while initial appeals or waiver requests are pending. Even if individuals opt not to appeal or seek a waiver, they are encouraged to contact the agency if planned withholdings would cause hardship. Social Security offers flexible repayment options, including monthly repayments as low as $10, and each case is handled on an individual basis, considering the unique circumstances of the beneficiary.

This article is based on a blog post from the Social Security Administration. Read their full blog here: