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The SSA overpaid me on my benefits. What next?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2023 | Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) |

If the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines they have paid you more Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits than you are entitled to, they will consider this an overpayment. Such cases typically require you to repay the excess amount.

However, you may request a “waiver of recovery” for the overpayment if you cannot afford to pay it back. If granted, you will not have to repay the overpaid benefits.

Can I qualify for a waiver of recovery?

SSDI benefits are recurring payments issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, like any institution, the SSA can make errors, including overpayments. If they overpaid on benefits, you may not necessarily have to return the excess funds, provided you qualify for a ‘waiver of recovery.’ This waiver applies if you were not at fault for the overpayment and if the repayment would cause you significant financial hardship or would be unfair in light of your circumstances. Specifically, if returning the overpaid amount would deprive you of income necessary for your ordinary living expenses, the SSA may consider this a valid reason for qualification for the waiver.

What if I don’t qualify?

If you don’t qualify for a waiver and can’t pay the total amount back immediately, the SSA can usually set up a payment plan for you. However, if you do not resolve the overpayment, the SSA can withhold the overpayment amount from your future SSDI benefits. Typically, they will withhold the full benefit amount each month until they fully recover the overpayment amount. In some cases, if withholding the full benefit amount would cause hardship, the SSA may withhold less than the total benefit amount.

A call for a response

Requesting a waiver could be a lifeline if you genuinely cannot afford to repay an overpayment. It’s important to remember that this option exists, particularly in cases where you are not at fault for the overpayment. However, once you receive a notice of overpayment from the SSA, you must act quickly. You could appeal the notice and potentially change the course of the situation or move forward with repayment. Nevertheless, starting a line of communication with the federal agency could benefit you in dealing with SSDI overpayments.