The Social Security Administration currently operates two disability programs that provide financial benefits to those who are blind, disabled, and who meet certain criteria: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Both SSDI and SSI payments are issued on a monthly basis. While payments are usually very straightforward and accurate, sometimes the Social Security Administration will mistakenly issue an overpayment. If you ever get an overpayment, return the disability overpayment to avoid penalties.
What is an SSDI or SSI overpayment?
An overpayment for disability benefits is exactly what it sounds like. When the Social Security Administration issues you a payment amount that is more than the amount to which you are actually entitled – in other words, they overpay you – then you are responsible for returning the money in a timely manner.
Causes of Overpayments
Typically, overpayments are avoidable, and occur as a result of an error made regarding your financial status or living situation. If the Social Security Administration is not notified changes in a timely manner, they may assume that you still qualify for a previously agreed upon benefit amount.
As such, overpayments can typically be avoided by always notifying the Social Security Administration of these common changes.
- Income level
- Living situation
- Marital status
- Disability status
While informing the Social Security Administration of changes can reduce the risk of an overpayment, sometimes, the error is entirely the Social Security Administration’s fault.
Always Return Disability Overpayments to the SSA
If the Social Security Administration believes that it has issued you an overpayment, you will receive notice via written statement.
The notice must include the following information.
- The amount of the overpayment
- Information about your right to appeal
- Explanation about how you may have the overpayment waived
- Proposal to withhold the overpayment at an amount of 10 percent of your monthly income
- Statement about the month that the withholding will start
The Social Security Administration will also inform you that you have 30 days from receiving the notice to return the disability overpayment. If you don’t, then the Social Security Administration will, as stated above, begin withholding the overpayment amount at an amount of 10 percent of your monthly income.
Appealing a Disability Overpayment
If you believe that the Social Security Administration did not issue an overpayment, and therefore is in error in requesting a repayment and/or suggesting to withhold the overpayment amount, you have the right to appeal the decision. In order to do this and continue to receive benefits, you must file the appeal – known as a request for reconsideration – within 10 days of receiving the overpayment notice.
If the overpayment notice contains a blatant error – like misstating your income level or marital status – or if you believe that the error is that of the Social Security Administration, and not your own, then you should consider filing an appeal. A waiver can be filed instead of an appeal if it was not your fault that you were overpaid, or if you cannot pay back the overpayment for financial reasons.
If you continue receiving overpayments, it’s important that you make the errors known to the Social Security Administration as soon as possible.
Rob Levine Can Help with Legal Matters Concerning Disability Benefits
If you’ve been issued an overpayment by the Social Security Administration and need help filing an appeal or a waiver, an attorney can help you. To work with a Social Security disability attorney today who understands your rights, call Rob Levine, the Heavy Hitter®, if you’re in Rhode Island, Connecticut, or Massachusetts. To get started, call us now at 866-LAW-SSDI.