What Should I Do If I Receive a Disability Overpayment?

a disability recipient managing an overpaymentIf you receive a monthly disability payment through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you may be overpaid at some point. When this happens, you are responsible for paying back any extra funds to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Below, Sigman Janssen further discuss the cause of SSDI/SSI overpayments and how to proceed to avoid it impacting your disability benefits. For help with applying or appealing a disability claim, reach out to our firm for a free consultation. There is no obligation after this initial meeting to retain our services.

Understanding Disability Overpayments

An overpayment is when a disability recipient receives more money from Social Security for the month than the amount he or she should have been paid. The amount of an overpayment is the difference between the amount received in disability benefits and the amount actually due on a monthly basis.

How to Avoid an Overpayment

Overpayments can sometimes happen due to clerical errors made by the SSA, but usually it is because disability recipients fail to inform the SSA about a change in their situation.

Changes that can impact one’s eligibility or monthly benefit amount include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical condition has improved
  • Work hours have increased, if still able to work in some capacity
  • Income or financial resources have increased over the limit, if receiving SSI
  • Any adjustments in current living situation or marital status 

That is why it is in your best interest to remain in regular contact with the SSA regarding changes that may impact your monthly disability benefits. When in doubt, we recommend speaking with a Social Security representative for clarification on anything. You do not want to have to owe an overpayment.    

Catching an Overpayment When it Occurs

Catching an overpayment used to be a bit easier when disability recipients received their monthly disability payments in a mailed check. Now, these payments are sent electronically and automatically deposited into a banking account or benefit card, so it is even more important to check the amount of your disability benefits every month to catch an overpayment when it occurs. 

Any extra funds received should not be spent and need to be paid back as soon possible. Social Security will send you a notice explaining the overpayment amount and the reason you were overpaid. Social Security will also ask for a full refund within 30 days from the date of the notice.

Depending on your situation, you may have the option to repay the funds in monthly installments.

Reporting an Overpayment to the SSA

Should you notice that your monthly benefit amount is greater than normal, it is important to speak with a Social Security representative to make sure that this amount is accurate. He or she will investigate your concerns to determine if you have been overpaid and your options for repaying any extra funds. 

For instance, for those receiving SSDI payments, Social Security will withhold your full benefit amount every month, unless you request a lesser withholding amount. For those receiving SSI payments, Social Security will withhold 10 percent of the federal benefit rate every month to recover the overpayment.

If you think you should not have to pay the funds back because it was not your fault, you may be able to file a waiver. Although there is no limit to file, the waiver must show that the overpayment was due to a clerical error and that having to pay back the extra funds would cause you financial hardship.

Disability recipients who feel they were not overpaid or disagree with the overpayment amount also have the right to file an appeal. The appeal must be done in writing within 60 days from receiving the overpayment notice. You need to explain why you were not overpaid or why the amount is inaccurate.

If your request for a waiver or an appeal is denied, one of our experienced Oshkosh Social Security Disability lawyers is prepared to inform you of your rights and legal options moving forward.

It is important to note that not paying back the extra funds without filing a waiver or an appeal may result in Social Security recovering the overpayment from your federal income tax return or work wages or withholding funds from future SSDI or SSI benefits. It can also be reported to the credit bureaus.

Sigman Janssen is Here to Help

Our lawyers at Sigman Janssen have decades of experience representing Social Security Disability applicants and helping them obtain and maintain their benefits.

Contact us anytime, day or night, to schedule a free initial consultation. You are under no obligation to have us represent you, but if you do, we charge nothing up front unless we help you obtain benefits.

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