What to Do After Notice of SSI Overpayments

By: Atty. Gabriel Cosh

If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income and you suddenly received Notice from SSI that you have been overpaid, the worst thing you can do is to ignore it. Many SSI awardees chose to ignore the notice but with serious consequences in the end.

Overpayment of SSI simply means that you received more money than you are otherwise entitled to for a given month.

There are several reasons for your having been overpaid. Some of the reasons are:

1. Your living situation has changed;
2. Your marital status has changed;
3. Your income is more than you have estimated;
4. You have more resources than the limits allowed by SSI rules;
5. Your condition has changed like when you are no longer disabled and you still received benefits;
6. SSI made an incorrect estimate of your benefits due to incorrect or incomplete information which you provided; or
7. You did not report a change in your circumstance.

If you receive a notice of overpayment from SSI, there are two things you can do. You can either ask for reconsideration or an appeal or ask for a waiver depending on your reason.

If you believe you were not overpaid, you may request for a reconsideration or an appeal. If you ask for an appeal, you have ten (10) days from the date of receipt of notice to file appeal.

However, if you admit that you have been overpaid by SSI but feel that it was not your fault, you can ask for a waiver of the overpayment. For SSI to grant you waiver, you need to prove at least two things, that:

1. It was not your fault that you received overpayment; and
2. To be asked to pay back the overpayment will create injustice as you need the money to meet at least your ordinary living expenses.

If you are lucky enough and deserving to be granted the waiver, then SSI will not anymore claim the overpayment but they will make the necessary corrections in your benefits the following month. If, on the other hand, you are not really overpaid, then you do not have to pay back the alleged overpayment and SSI will continue to send you your benefits.

If, on the other hand, SSI did not grant your request for waiver of the overpayment if you have been actually overpaid, you can still request for a reconsideration of SSI’s denial. Ultimately, if SSI denies your reconsideration or appeal, you will necessarily have to pay them back the overpayments made. The best thing that you can do in this situation is to ask for a more reasonable schedule of payments or ask them to withhold portions of your monthly benefits instead.


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