What is an Overpayment of Social Security Disability Benefits?

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When you are receiving Supplementary Security Income (SSI) benefits or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, it is possible for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to overpay you. Overpayment is when SSA pays you more than what you have been entitled to as per SSA rules.

Overpayments can become quite a hassle for you as an SSI or SSDI benefits recipient. This is why it is important to understand why overpayment occurs in the first place and your options once you have been overpaid.

How Does an Overpayment Occur?

Overpayments typically occur when you have a change in your circumstances and the SSA is unable to take that into account when sending you the checks. For instance, if you resumed work which would disqualify you from receiving disability benefits, but SSA was not informed and continued to send you the checks, this is an overpayment.

Similarly, if your medical condition has improved so much that you no longer meet the disability criterion set by SSA, your payments should stop. But when the improvement is not reported to the SSA in time, payments continue. Finally, there may be an increase in your monthly income which should have affected the amount of disability benefits you receive. However, you failed to report the change and SSA didn’t reduce your benefits.

In these cases, when the SSA finally realizes that your checks should have stopped or reduced but didn’t because you failed to report the change in time, the agency wants to recoup the overpaid amount. The process typically involves sending you a notice and then pursuing one of the many ways of receiving the overpayment. There are instances where you can appeal the SSA against recovering the overpaid amount.

SSA Notice for Overpayment and Deadlines

If you were overpaid while receiving SSDI or SSI benefits, SSA will send you a notice of overpayment. The notice confirms that an overpayment has occurred and also explains what caused the overpayment in the first place. SSA will then start deducting the overpaid amount from your SSDI benefits 30 days after the receipt of the notice, or from your SSI benefits 60 days after you have received the notice. You typically have a 60-day window after the receipt of the notice to respond to it.

Responding to the Overpayment Notice

You can respond to an overpayment notice in various ways, depending on the circumstances. If you think you were not overpaid at all or that the overpaid amount mentioned in the notice is incorrect, you can fill out an SSA 561 Request for Reconsideration form. This form must be filled and submitted within 60 days of the notice.

Alternatively, if you believe that the notice is valid but you can’t afford to pay back at the designated rate specified by SSA, you must file a different form. In such a case, you must file an SSA 632 Request for Waiver of Overpayment or Change in Repayment Rate form.

How Does SSA Recoup Extra Payments?

SSA has a specified process for recovering the overpaid amount. The process varies depending on whether you were overpaid as an SSI or SSDI benefits recipient. Here’s a look at the repayment process for both categories.

Repayment for SSI Overpayments

If you were overpaid as an SSI recipient and still receive SSI benefits, SSA will withhold 10% of your SSI benefits every month. This deduction will begin 60 days after you receive the overpayment notice. You can use the waiver or change in repayment form linked above to request a lower deduction percentage.

Repayment for SSDI Overpayments

The repayment method for SSDI recipients is different. If you are overpaid as an SSDI recipient and are still receiving SSDI benefits, SSA will withhold the full amount of your benefits every month. This will continue until the full overpaid amount is recouped by the agency. You can request that a lower amount be deducted each month. This request will be subject to SSA’s approval.

Hiring a Reliable Disability Lawyer in SC

If you have received an overpayment notice from SSA, it is important to consult a good disability lawyer in SC at the earliest. Here at Robert Surface Law Firm, we help SSI and SSDI recipients secure their rights. We can help you if you think you were not overpaid or if you wish to request a lower repayment rate. Our lawyers can work with you to file a suitable request with the SSA. Call us today for a free consultation with our attorneys.