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Social Security Disability Benefits: Overpayments

Social Security Administration may determine an overpayment has occurred when a disability beneficiary receives more cash benefits than should have been paid. Overpayments routinely arise when medical improvement has occurred or when a beneficiary returns to work. For Supplemental Security Income cases, they can also result when the recipient has failed to report additional income or resources.

If the Administration determines that an overpayment has occurred, they will send a written notice of the overpayment and may seek recoupment. If the beneficiary believes there is an error in the amount of overpayment assessed, the beneficiary may challenge the recoupment by filing a request for reconsideration within 60 days of the notice of an overpayment.

If the beneficiary misses the deadline or the overpayment stands, the beneficiary may also request a waiver of recoupment. To secure a waiver, the beneficiary must be “not at fault” and “unable to repay.”

Social Security Administration will determine fault considering all circumstances, including the beneficiary’s age, education, nature of disability, and ability to comprehend reporting requirements. The Administration will find fault where the beneficiary failed to furnish information which he or she should have known to be material or should have known to be incorrect.

All beneficiaries of Supplemental Security Income benefits are assumed to be “unable to repay” based on the means tested nature of the benefit received. In the case of a Disability Insurance Benefit recipient, the Administration will consider the budget worksheets contained in the waiver or recoupment form in making the determination. If the recipient is not at fault but able to pay, the Administration may still grant the waiver if recovery would be “against equity and good conscience.”

If you have questions about an overpayment or waiver, you may wish to consult with a Social Security Disability attorney or legal representative.

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