What Happens When Social Security Finds an Overpayment?
Did you receive an overpayment notice from the Social Security Administration (SSA)?
If yes, you probably worry about how you got an overpayment in the first place and how to repay it. You don’t want to face legal consequences, but you may not have enough finances to refund the amount.
However, it’s better to understand more about the overpayment notice first before panicking. You should know if the SSA is correct about your benefits status or if you should appeal the alleged overpayment.
So, read on and know how to handle things if the SSA claims you have benefits overpayment.
What Are the Benefits of Overpayment?
An overpayment happens if the SSA finds you received more benefits than you deserve. The agency will send you an overpayment notice to ask you to repay the excess amount.
While it sounds simple, it becomes complicated if the SSA finds an excess amount you cannot afford to repay. However, the agency may also make wrong calculations and wrongly accuse you of receiving additional benefits.
Appealing a Benefits Overpayment
Appealing allows you to prove the SSA’s miscalculations about your overpayment. You may appeal an overpayment notice if:
- You did not receive excess benefits amount.
- You have received an excess amount, but the SSA miscalculated the overpayment and asked you to repay a higher amount.
Here’s how to appeal an overpayment notice:
- Hire a Burbank Social Security benefits attorney to resolve your appeal in the least possible time. They can prove your case by collecting evidence and representing you in hearings.
- File a request for reconsideration by filling out and submitting the SSA Form 561 within 60 days of receiving the notice. The SSA will check your case and give more information about your overpayment. You may also present evidence to an SSA employee in an informal hearing during the reconsideration phase.
- You may request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ) within 60 days of your reconsideration denial. Ensure you attend the hearing with your legal counsel to prove your case.
- You may file an appeal at the SSA Appeals Council within 60 days if you get an unfavorable outcome from the ALJ hearing.
Repayment Option for Benefits Overpayment
Remember these options if you can’t afford to repay the total overpayment amount:
1. Request a Waiver
You may request the SSA to waive the overpayment if you can prove the excess amount wasn’t your fault. For example, you may prove to the agency that you have reported truthful, accurate, and updated financial details to avoid benefits miscalculations.
Moreover, you should prove you can’t afford to repay the amount, as you must cover essential living expenses.
2. Arrange a Repayment Plan
The SSA may agree to come up with a repayment plan so you can cover the amount over a period. For example, they may take a small amount off your monthly benefits until you complete the repayment.
3. Get a Discount
The SSA may allow you to get a discount if you can immediately repay the reduced amount you owe. You can get a reduction of 20% or higher depending on your overpayment.
For example, suppose you have a $5,000 overpayment, and the SSA awards you a 20% discount; you must repay $4,000 immediately.
Social Security Benefits Lawyer in Burbank to Handle Your Overpayment Case
It’s normal to panic if you receive an SSA overpayment notice.
However, remember you can always appeal the case and prove you didn’t receive excess benefits. You may also negotiate with the SSA if you can’t afford the amount.
Moreover, consulting a Burbank Social Security benefits attorney will help you resolve an overpayment case.