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|What To Do When the Social Security Administration Says You Owe Money||
Last updated: March 2006
An overpayment is when the Social Security Administration (SSA) mistakenly sends you a benefits check when they should not or when they pay you more than their guidelines say they should.
Overpayments can be caused by many different events. Some examples are:
The overpayment recovery process starts when the SSA sends you a Notice of Overpayment. This notice must tell you:
Do not ignore the Notice of Overpayment! You have the right to challenge an overpayment, but there may be time limits. You must act quickly.
You have 3 options. They are:
Request for Reconsideration
File a Request for Reconsideration (SSA Form 561-U2) if you do not think that the SSA made an overpayment or you think the amount is wrong. This will ask the SSA to calculate the overpayment amount again. If you file a Request for Reconsideration:
You can ask for a Request for Reconsideration form from your local Social Security Office or call 1-800-772-1213. You can also get the Request for Reconsideration form online by clicking on the title below.
Request for Waiver
File a Request for Waiver (SSA Form 632-BK) if the overpayment was not your fault and you cannot pay it back. This asks the SSA to forgive the overpayment and not make you pay them back. If you file a Request for Waiver:
You can ask for a Request for Waiver form from your local Social Security Office or call 1-800-772-1213. You can also get the Request for Waiver form online by clicking on the title below.
Try to work out a payment plan if you do not disagree that you received an overpayment. If you negotiate a payment plan:
Yes. Both the Request for Reconsideration and the Request for Waiver decisions can be appealed. Your rights to appeal will be listed on the decision notice you get from the SSA. The time you have to appeal the SSA's decision is limited, so you must act quickly.
Yes. You may file both an appeal and a Request for Waiver of the overpayment. You can file both at the same time or you can wait and file a Request for Waiver if you lose your appeal on the Request for Reconsideration.
No. If you appeal an overpayment and/or ask for a waiver within 30 days, payment of your benefits will continue at the same amount. It will not be reduced for an overpayment until a final decision has been made. So be sure to file quickly.
If you are receiving any SSI benefits, no more than 10% of your monthly benefits can be taken out of your check each month. If you are only receiving other Social Security benefits, then Social Security may take your entire monthly check unless you can agree on a repayment plan with them. Social Security will want the overpayment repaid within 36 months, unless you can show that it would be too hard for you to pay it back in that amount of time.
For a list of organizations in your area that may be able to help you, enter your zip code.
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