Handling A Social Security Overpayment Notice

Every once in a while, some key piece of information gets lost in the Social Security bureaucracy. If that piece of information pertains to you or your family, you may end up being paid more than you are legally owed as part of your regular payment. You will probably first learn about the overpayment through a notice in the mail, which should inform you of the error, the reason it was caused and how much you now owe to the Social Security program. Before you begin panicking, however, you should know that you have options to fight the overpayment notice and hold onto your money. 

Verifying the Accuracy of the Overpayment

First, evaluate the source of the issue to make sure that you were actually overpaid. You may have neglected to send the Social Security office updated information on your living status or your dependents, which must be corrected as quickly as possible. Alternatively, the overpayment may have been their fault as a result of human error or lost information. Understanding whether or not you are really at fault for the overpayment is the first step toward deciding if you are going to fight the notice or repay Social Security. 

Arranging a Repayment

If you were responsible for the overpayment or have the money to pay it back, arranging a repayment to Social Security is the quickest and easiest way to close the issue. In cases where you don't have the cash on hand, your Social Security lawyer can help you negotiate a more advantageous payment plan. Once your debt is paid, your payments should resume as normal. 

Seeking a Waiver

Not every overpayment notice is the fault of the recipient. When you agree that you were overpaid but disagree that it was due to your own action or inaction, you may file an application for a waiver. If approved, the waiver will absolve you of your debt and allow you to keep the overpaid amount.

Arguing for Reconsideration

In some cases, you might believe that you are not being overpaid at all. Applying for reconsideration often involves an in-person hearing, but you can also request a simple case review if the problem is relatively apparent. During your hearing, you must present evidence that the overpaid amount is correct, and that you are not in violation of Social Security's regulations. This may all sound a little intimidating, but your Social Security lawyer will be able to walk you through the process, help you gather evidence and plead your case for you, giving you the best chance of being paid what you are really owed.