Steps to Take in SSI Overpayment
If you have a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) overpayment, what will you do? Will you just keep quiet and take advantage of the oversight or mistake?
Well, you may just shrug it off but what happens if the oversight is discovered. Surely, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will collect it from you.
This article is aimed at assisting you of what to do in case of SSI overpayment and steps to take thereafter.
What Is An Overpayment?
SSA defines an “overpayment” as a payment:
- in excess of the amount due;
- resulting from failure to suspend or terminate benefits; or
- where no amount was payable.
However, SSA regulations specifically exclude the following benefits from the definition of overpayment:
- paid by means of a forged endorsement;
- incorrectly paid for the current year based on current year work and estimated income; and
- issued for the month of death.
How to determine if there is an overpayment or amount of overpayment is correct?
If you think you are not overpaid or if you want to assail the correctness of the amount of overpayment, you should file a Request for Reconsideration within 60 days of the mailing date of the overpayment notice.
A Request for Reconsideration must be written and filed with your local Social Security Office within said period. You may also submit additional evidence with your Request for Reconsideration.
Upon filing of the request, SSA will stop any collection attempts until a decision is made on the Request for Reconsideration.
The validity of your request will be determined by your local Social Security office.
If an unfavorable decision is made on an overpayment reconsideration request, SSA will again continue its collection efforts.
Denial of your reconsideration will entitle you to ask in writing for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Request for a hearing must be submitted within 60 days from the date the reconsideration decision is issued. During the hearing, you may submit additional evidence and you may explain why overpayment should not be made or why overpayment is incorrect.
An unfavorable hearing decision may be elevated to the Appeals Council, and an unfavorable Appeals Council decision may be challenged in Federal Court.
Appeal may delay but will not forestall collection efforts on the fact or amount of the overpayment.
Am I required to repay overpayment?
You are not required to pay overpayment if you establish in a Request for Waiver of Overpayment that you are both without fault and that you are unable to repay the overpayment. Inability to repay must be because to do so will deprive you of income needed for ordinary and necessary living expenses.
Generally, SSA will automatically waive an overpayment of $500 or less if a Request for Waiver is filed and you were not at fault in causing the overpayment.
You must file immediately because SSA will not stop collection of the overpayment until a Request for Waiver is filed. Moreover, SSA will not refund any money collected prior to the filing of the waiver request.
Can I repay overpayment in an installment basis?
Typically, SSA will accept an offer to repay an overpayment in installments if repayment will be made within 36 months or less. Otherwise, SSA will ask the claimant to prove that a financial hardship exists.
In addition, SSA will generally allow a lump-sum compromise offer of 80% of the total overpayment. However, if a lump-sum offer is less than 80% of the total overpayment, SSA has discretion to consider the offer, depending on the circumstances.