Believe it or not, despite the relatively modest amount of monetary benefits disability claimants receive each month, the SSA will occasionally claim to have overpaid you!
There are a variety of reasons the SSA may have reached this conclusion. Perhaps your total household income rose past the allowed threshold, maybe you went back to work and earned too much money or the SSA could have simply made an accounting error and actually paid you too much money.
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to address this issue if it was caused by an honest mistake made by either you or the SSA.
If the SSA is in error and it did not actually overpay you, you can appeal the decision by completing and filing a Request for Reconsideration – Form SSA-561. This form basically lays out your thinking and why you believe you have not been overpaid. Perhaps the SSA received some incorrect information about that household income or it mistakenly thought you had returned to work when you actually didn’t, etc.
If the SSA did actually overpay you through no fault of your own, you can complete and file a Request For Waiver Of Overpayment Recovery Or Change In Repayment Rate – Form SSA-632, which is exactly what it sounds like. Essentially you are admitting that the SSA overpaid you but it was not your fault, you can’t afford to pay it back and accordingly it should be waived.
Another alternative is to simply pay it back. The SSA will give you notice of what rate it would like you to pay. Usually, given the modest amount of monthly monetary benefits recipients receive, that rate is unaffordable. Again, you can file the Request For Waiver Of Overpayment Recovery Or Change In Repayment Rate – Form SSA-632 and explain why this is so and that you can only afford a lower rate rather than the one determined by the SSA.
Remember, there is a deadline for filing these documents so don’t procrastinate!
Ultimately, if all else fails and the SSA still claims you owe it an impossible sum to repay, you can consider filing bankruptcy. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcies can address the problem. Please see our company blog where we cover these bankruptcies in detail.
Unfortunately, if this issue was not caused by an honest mistake made by the claimant, e.g. the monetary benefit was obtained fraudulently, then none of the above may remedy the overpayment and moreover the individual may be charged with a crime and their benefits may be cut. Please note: bankruptcies do not address debts arising out of criminal or fraudulent acts.
If you have been denied disability benefits or suffer from a severe impairment that is expected to last more than twelve months and that prevents you from doing any of your past or other work, please contact our office nearest to you to set up a free consultation appointment to discuss your situation.