What Happens When You Get a Social Security Disability Overpayment?

Social Security disability benefits allow you to make ends meet, but just barely. Unfortunately, if the Social Security Administration (SSA) claims that your payments are too high, you may suffer garnished tax returns or even be forced to write a check for the overpaid amount.

What Causes Overpayment?

Several circumstances prompt higher SSI or SSDI compensation than anticipated. Examples include:

  • Changes in living situation
  • Marital status updates
  • Resources beyond the allowable limit
  • Disappearance of disability
  • Failure to report any of the above changes

What Happens If My Payment Is Too High?

If the Social Security Administration discovers that you’ve received benefits beyond what you’re entitled, you may receive notice, along with a request for repayment within one month. The message may also include a plan for withholding future disability payments and the date on which the proposed withdrawal will begin.

What If You Don’t Think You Received Excessive Compensation?

If you feel you were paid correctly, request a reconsideration within ten days of hearing from the SSA. If you believe, however, you were overpaid but not due to any wrongdoing on your part, request a waiver. If granted, this will allow you to avoid repayment. First, however, you must demonstrate that you were not at fault, and that paying the SSA back would cause severe financial hardship. Be prepared to submit bills indicating that your monthly expenses approach or exceed your income. Consider seeking feedback from the SSA on the criteria used to determine whether you received more benefits than warranted.

What If Your Request Is Denied?

You have the right to appeal denial of your waiver request. However, if the SSA continues to insist that you were overpaid, withholdings from your monthly benefits payments may occur. If you no longer receive benefits, you can petition for monthly payments. Your overpayment may also be withheld from your federal tax return.

Whether you’re applying for Social Security disability, appealing a denial, or dealing with overpayment, you can count on Smith, Wallis and Scott, LLP for high-quality legal support.

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