Guest post by Sandra Rick Pearson
We used to get notices of over payment all the time. It was always the fault of the worker who didn’t adjust for the changes I reported. Each time, I filled out an Overpayment Waiver form and they were all accepted.
As long as you are on SSI and there is any kind of income in your household, you can expect to get over payment notices. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get them.
You can request a waiver when the mistake is their fault, not yours, and you can show a hardship for repayment, which might require proof of bills. Just remember to make copies before you submit anything in case Social Security loses it, which also happens a lot.
The first step is figuring out why there is an overpayment. In my situation, they kept changing workers without letting me know. I was submitting changes to the wrong person. What they did with my paperwork is a mystery. They never called or wrote to tell me I had a new worker. It was clearly their fault, not mine. I was doing what I was suppose to be doing.
I wouldn’t bother with an attorney in this situation. These forms aren’t too hard to fill out, and no attorney can prevent these overpayment notices. Most attorneys will not help with overpayments. The only time you’d really need an attorney is when Social Security says the person isn’t disabled.
I never had official help for filling out the waiver. I got help over the phone from my best friend who lives in another state. Sometimes networking on social media helps you find a person to help walk you through it.
Don’t feel bad if you get an overpayment. I got these notices all the time when my son was on SSI. My best friend gets overpayment notices every month. I don’t know what is up with Social Security workers, but it seems many of them missed math class.
Learn More About Overpayments
Sometimes Social Security gives you too much money and then later wants the extra money back. If you can’t pay it back, they may lower your future checks. If the overpayment was not your fault, you have the right to appeal the decision and/or request an overpayment waiver.
Appeals and waivers are sometimes denied at first. If this happens, b persistent and keep appealing. Sometimes it takes three or four different appeals. You do not need a lawyer, you can fill out the forms yourself. In some cases, your local nonprofit low-income legal aid center may help.
The story above is about SSI. Overpayments are common for SSI. If you are on SSDI, it is possible to get an overpayment, but much much less likely. How to Understand the Difference Between SSI and SSDI Without Making Your Head Explode