Questions about SSDI Overpayments for
Waco, Temple and all of Central Texas
If you get a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you’ve received an overpayment of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you need to act fast.
This is sort of like the IRS telling you that you owe back taxes. You have mere days to respond to Social Security about this notice. If you don’t, it can cause you a major financial headache.
But you can dispute Social Security’s finding that you received too much—and possibly avoid paying charges that you can’t afford when you’re struggling with health problems and unable to work.
Continue reading for a guide from Waco Second Chance Lawyer Merryl Jones on how you can handle the situation if you’re hit with an overpayment.
How Does an SSDI Overpayment Happen?
Receiving an overpayment letter doesn’t mean an honest person like you suddenly started getting larger monthly benefit checks and just treated it like a bonus.
In fact, the most common reasons people receive overpayments are:
- Your overall reported taxable income is higher than was initially anticipated.
- You experienced a change in your situation, including:
- A marriage, divorce or death of a spouse.
- A change in your living arrangements.
- A medical change in your disability status.
- You have more resources than are allowed by the SSA.
- The SSA has an error in your file, which could be either incorrect or incomplete information about you.
Why You Must Act Fast on a Disability Overpayment
When Social Security mails you an SSDI overpayment notice, the clock starts ticking.
Even though the average disability check payment is only a little over $1,000 per month, the government expects you to pay back the entire overpayment in only 30 days!
That can be impossible, considering your check only stretches far enough to buy basic food at discount grocery stores, pay your utilities, buy medications and put some gas in your car.
If you can’t pay the overpayment back to the SSA in full by 30 days, make sure you contact them in the same timeframe to set up a payment plan.
Social Security could take any of these steps against you:
- Withhold money from your disability checks until your overage is repaid.
- Garnish your wages.
- Take your annual federal income tax refund.
- Report you to the three credit bureaus and ruin your credit.
If you don’t act now, you can be left with a financial mess that can take years to fix.
Don’t Wait to Say You Disagree
The government doesn’t like being told they’re wrong, which might be why they make it even harder for you to dispute an overpayment.
If you disagree that you were overpaid, you only have 10 days to dispute the letter and still allow your regular monthly checks to come in.
What if You Were Overpaid, but it Wasn’t Your Fault?
If you actually did receive too much money from Social Security Disability, but it was because of the government’s error, not yours, you can file for a waiver of your overpayment notice.
You must show them two things:
- That the government was at fault for overpaying you.
- That you can’t afford to pay them back because you need every cent of your disability check to meet your basic needs.
Getting an SSDI overpayment is scary. It’s definitely not something to ignore. You should respond fast for the best chance of avoiding having to pay some of your benefits back.
If You Still Need to Win Disability Income to Begin With…
If you still need to apply for Social Security Disability benefits—or you were denied and want to appeal the decision for a Second Chance—Merryl Jones is an experienced disability lawyer who can help you succeed.
And she can ensure your application or appeal is complete and correct, so in the future you don’t have to deal with an overpayment.