Hands holding hundred dollar bills due to SSA overpyament by the SSA with social security benefits

Is the Social Security Administration Claiming You Have Been Overpaid?

If you receive Social Security benefits and get a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) telling you that you have gotten an overpayment, it can feel confusing and intimidating.

In response to recent criticisms, SSA is changing how they handle overpayments. Keep reading to find out if these new rules can help you.

What is an overpayment?

An overpayment is when you receive more money in a month than you should have been paid.

And the amount of the overpayment is the difference in the amount you received and the amount of benefits you should have actually received.

Why might you get an overpayment?

Reasons you might get an overpayment include:

  • Your income is more than estimated
  • You no longer have a disability but continued to receive benefits
  • Your living situation changes
  • Your benefits are incorrectly calculated due to incorrect or incomplete information

When this happens, the SSA will ask for their money back.

What are the new rules on overpayments?

  1. Withholding Rate Drops from 100% to 10%: Starting March 25, 2024, if you are overpaid and don't respond to the SSA request to pay back the overpaid funds, the SSA will withhold 10% of your monthly benefits moving forward. Previously, the SSA would keep 100% of your monthly benefits until the overpayment was fully paid back.
  2. Shifting the Burden of Proof: The SSA will now have to prove that they overpaid you, rather than making you prove that you did not receive more than you should have.
  3. Repayment Plans Extended to 60 months: You can request repayment plans for up to 60 months. Previously, people only had 36 months to repay funds. And, the process is now easier. SSDI recipients will only need to provide a verbal summary of their financial situation, and  SSI recipients do not need to provide any income information.
  4. Easier Waiver Requests: The SSA will make it easier for beneficiaries to request waivers for repayments if they can't afford them, or if they overpayment was not their fault. 

For more information about overpayments and how to handle them, contact the SSA at 800-772-1213 or www.ssa.gov.  

About Triage Cancer

Triage Cancer is a national, nonprofit providing free education to people diagnosed with cancer, caregivers, and health care professionals on cancer-related legal and practical issues. Through events, materials, and resources, Triage Cancer is dedicated to helping people move beyond diagnosis.

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