Overpayments

Legal Guidance for Massachusetts Recipients of Government Benefits

Overpayment of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may occur when an individual receives payment to which he or she is not entitled. The government benefits attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates have more than two decades of experience representing clients in Boston as well as throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. We are knowledgeable in how to navigate complex issues, including appeals and waivers related to overpayment.

SSDI Overpayments

This situation frequently arises when a beneficiary neglects to report an event to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that affects the benefit amount, such as obtaining employment, losing a dependent, or receiving other government benefits. Failure to report any of these changes may cause overpayment by the SSA, which then may issue a notice of overpayment.

If you receive this notice and are getting Social Security disability benefits, the SSA will withhold the full amount of your benefits until repayment is made. Withholding will occur within 30 days of when you get the notice. Alternatively, less-than-full withholding is available with SSA approval. If you no longer receive benefits, you can resolve the matter by sending the SSA a check for the full repayment amount within 30 days of getting the notice, or you can ask the SSA to set up a payment plan with monthly installments.

Failure to make timely payment arrangements with the SSA may result in negative consequences. The government may try to recover the debt from your federal income tax refunds. It also may try to garnish your wages if you are employed, and it may report the delinquent account to credit bureaus.

If you feel that you have not been overpaid or that the repayment amount is in error, you may file an appeal. This can be accomplished by filing form SSA-561 in writing within 60 days of receiving the notice of overpayment. On the form, it is important to explain clearly why you have not been overpaid or the amount is incorrect.

Alternatively, if you have other grounds to believe that you should not be required to pay the money back, you may file a waiver to ask that the SSA cease collection efforts. This is accomplished by filing form SSA-632. A waiver request may be submitted at any time. In the form, you must show why the overpayment was not your fault or that paying back the funds would cause you undue financial hardship. As part of the process, you may be required to submit additional documents to the SSA, such as proof of income, or attend a meeting.

Massachusetts Attorneys for Social Security Beneficiaries

If you have received a notice of overpayment, you should contact an attorney immediately to evaluate your situation. Your ability to exercise certain rights, such as the right to appeal, depends on your responding to SSA communications in a timely manner. The experienced social security lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates have worked with many Massachusetts residents to evaluate possible overpayment and respond appropriately to SSA notifications. We have helped current and former beneficiaries in Middlesex, Essex, Plymouth, Norfolk, and Suffolk Counties, as well as the Merrimack River area. If you have questions about what to do next in response to a notice of overpayment, contact us today by calling toll-free at 1-800-367-0871 or completing the contact form on our website.