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Has Social Security Told You You've Been Overpaid?

SSI

Has Social Security Told You You've Been Overpaid?

Date Posted: 
03/30/2015

What is a Social Security/SSI overpayment?

An “overpayment” is when the Social Security Administration (SSA) gave you benefits when they shouldn’t have or paid you more than they were supposed to.  If SSA thinks they overpaid you, they will want their money back.  If you do nothing, SSA will collect the overpayment by taking money out of your checks.    

What should I do if I get a Notice of Overpayment? 

  • APPEAL:  You can appeal if you don’t think you were overpaid or you disagree with the amount of the overpayment.  If you appeal, SSA will reconsider whether they were right about the overpayment.  An appeal is called a “Request for Reconsideration.” 
  • ASK FOR A WAIVER:  You can ask SSA to forgive the overpayment if you don’t think the overpayment was your fault and you can’t afford to pay it back.  This is called a “Request for Waiver.” (More information).
  • ASK FOR A PAYMENT PLAN:  You can always ask SSA to let you pay back the overpayment on a monthly schedule you can afford.  In many cases, SSA will accept $50 a month or less.  SSA will even often agree to $10 a month.  This is called a “Payment Plan.” 

To do any of the above, visit your local SSA office.  You will have to fill out some forms. 

Can I file an appeal AND ask for Waiver?

Yes.  You can file an appeal and a Request for Waiver at the same time.  You can also appeal first and then ask for a Waiver if SSA denies your appeal. 

What is the deadline for filing an appeal or asking for a waiver? 

If you want to appeal and/or ask for a Waiver, you should make these requests immediately so that SSA stops taking money out of your checks as soon as possible.  Ask that no money be taken out of your benefits until SSA makes a decision about your overpayment.

The deadline for filing an appeal is 65 days from the date on the notice of overpayment. 

There is no deadline for requesting a waiver – you can ask for one at any time. 

What happens if SSA denies my appeal (Request for Reconsideration) and/or Request for Waiver?

You have the right to appeal the denial.  This right will be explained in the denial notice from SSA.  There are deadlines to appeal, so it is important to act quickly.  If you need help with your appeal, contact or visit Community Legal Services.

How Can I Get a Payment Plan I Can Afford? 

Go to your local SSA office and ask for a payment plan to pay back your overpayment.  Offer a monthly payment amount that you know you can afford.  In many cases, SSA will accept $50 a month or less.  SSA will even often agree to $10 a month. 

If your situation changes and you can no longer afford the payment plan you agreed to, contact SSA right away.  Tell them that you need to change the monthly payment amount. 

OTHER HELPFUL TIPS

Finding your local Social Security office:

You can find your local Social Security office by calling 1-800-772-1213, or by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/locator.

Give everything to SSA in-person:

You should bring everything to your local SSA office in-person.  You should keep copies of all paperwork, and ask SSA for receipts.  If SSA loses your papers, your copies and receipts will help prove what you turned in.

Click here to get help with SSI/Social Security.