Sometimes overpayments of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits occur inadvertently or because of circumstantial changes, but they also occur because of a claimant’s failure to provide enough information. If you receive an overpayment of benefits, you will likely get a notice of overpayment and it is important to consult a Chicago Social Security attorney in this situation. Your notice of overpayment will probably include an explanation of the overpayment and your options to repay what has been overpaid, as well as your rights to appeal.SSDI Overpayments
Overpayment of SSDI benefits can happen for many different reasons. Perhaps you did not know what needs to be reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA) or you assumed that the SSA knew your status change because you’re receiving some form of assistance from state agencies and have reported a change there. The SSA is a federal agency and it doesn’t share information with state agencies. Accordingly, you must report changes in your circumstances directly to the SSA. There may also be situations in which an overpayment is simply a bureaucratic error made by the SSA.
SSDI benefit overpayments need to be repaid. If you’re still getting SSDI benefits, the SSA will hold back the full amount of a benefit check every month until an overpayment is paid off. This starts 30 days after receipt of the notice of overpayment. You can call the SSA to hold back less than the full amount, but this request will need to be considered by the SSA at its discretion.
The procedure is a little different for overpayments of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If you get an overpayment and currently receive benefits, 10% of the benefit will be withheld every month in order to repay the overpayment. Generally, the withholding occurs around 60 days after you get a notice of overpayment and goes on until your overpayment is paid off. You can call the SSA to ask for more or less money to be held back. The SSA will need to approve the request.
The situation is a little more complicated if you are not currently receiving benefits. In that case, within 30 days of getting the notice of overpayment, you’re supposed to either send the full amount overpaid to the SSA or negotiate a payment plan with the SSA. If you don't take these steps to repay the overpayment when you are not getting benefits, the SSA can take certain steps to recover the overpayment. These steps could include reporting you to a credit bureau, taking some of your work paycheck before you receive it, taking your federal tax refund check, or taking future SSDI or SSI benefits.Appeals
Sometimes the SSA is wrong about whether you’ve received an overpayment. You have the opportunity to appeal if you get a notice that you’ve overpaid and you think it’s incorrect or the amount you’ve allegedly been overpaid is incorrect. It can be wise to have an attorney represent you through this process of explaining why you think you’ve not received an overpayment or that the SSA calculation is wrong.
There are situations in which someone simply cannot repay the overpayment or it would be unfair to make that person repay. If this situation applies to you, when you get the overpayment notice, you’ll need to file for a waiver. To be granted a waiver, you need to show the overpayment wasn’t your fault and that repaying what was overpaid would be unfair or trigger financial hardship for you. Once you’ve filed an appeal or waiver, the SSA should not take money immediately from your current benefits until a determination is made about your appeal or waiver.Consult a Social Security Attorney in Chicago
There are different ways to handle overpayments of SSDI in Chicago. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, our lawyers represent people disabled in Rockford, Quincy, Springfield, Champaign, and Aurora, as well as Adams, Cook, Sangamon, Kane and Winnebago Counties. Contact us toll-free at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or via our online form.