If you need a lawyer to help you with an overpayment issue, you are going to have a hard time finding help. Overpayment cases arise when Social Security discovers that they have paid you too much – sometimes for years – and now they want their money back.
In most cases, you will receive a letter that says something like this:
We are writing to give you new information about the disability/retirement/survivors benefits which you receive on this Social Security record. We have determined that you were overpaid in the amount of $30,000. Please refund this overpayment within 30 days.
An explanation of the overpayment will be included. And, to show that they have some compassion, they do include an envelope. If you do not send them the full amount due they will withhold your monthly benefit check for as many months as it takes to recover the overpayment.
Obviously if your Social Security money is your only source of income, this can be a huge problem.
An overpayment can happen for several reasons.
- Perhaps you were found disabled then returned to work under the Ticket to Work or a trial work period program. Social Security may have continued to pay you disability benefits even after you returned to work.
- You could be an SSI recipient whose income and resources exceeded the stingy limits of that program.
- You could be a disabled widow who was receiving benefits under a deceased spouse’s earnings record and now you have remarried.
- The mistake could have been on SSA’s end – they may have advised you that you were eligible for a particular type of benefit but later concluded that you were not so eligible.
Whatever the reason, it is probably a safe bet that you don’t have $10,000, $20,000 or whatever the overpayment number is claimed. What can you do? [Read more…]