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SSA proposes teleconferences over in-home hearing for overpayment cases

The Social Security Administration launched a proposal to conduct telephonic or video teleconferencing regarding Title II overpayment cases especially when such meetings or conferences are convened outside the SSA field office. However, this does not mean that in-home hearing or face-to-face conferences will not be conducted anymore.

Los Angeles, California – May 9, 2007 – According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the individuals charged with overpayment would have a choice between having to appear for a face-to-face conference inside the field office and participating through telephonic or video teleconferencing, at whatever location they choose to be.

This is the main essence of the proposal to amend Reg. #404.506.

Furthermore, these options will also be given to other individuals charged with Title XVI overpayment cases by adding new Reg. #416.557.

The SSA’s main goal of such a proposal is to reduce the need for remote conferences, thus saving more money. The SSA expects a significant decrease on costly home visits upon approval of this proposal. Conducting in-home conferences would still be practiced on a case-to-case basis depending on the claimant’s situation.

Starting May 4, 2007, the SSA are currently open for comments and suggestions regarding this proposal.

The existing Title II and Title XVI of Social Security laws contain regulations regarding overpayment of Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These regulations stipulate that SSA will waive recovery of overpaid amount on three counts.

First, if an individual was without fault in causing overpayment in their SS benefits or SSI. Second, if recovery would defeat the purpose of the Social Security Act. Third, if recovery would be against equity and good conscience.

However, prior to the denial of a request to waive recovery of an overpayment, the SSA abides by a current and long-standing policy of conducting a face-to-face pre-recovery hearing, in Title II cases. This kind of hearing is not yet available for individuals in Title XVI cases.

For such conference to be conducted either the SSA invites the individual concerned to come to an SSA field office or some field office personnel will go to the individual’s location.  Now, with the amendment proposals, individual have the option to participate by telephone or video teleconference.

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