If Social Security has sent you an overpayment notice, you have some options. You can request reconsideration or you can request an overpayment waiver or you can do both. Learn more about your options here: How To Handle a Social Security Overpayment Notice
In order to be eligible for a reconsideration, appeal, or waiver, you will need to show that the overpayment was not your fault. Here’s some ideas for how to do that.
If you correctly followed all the policies:
💮 If you followed all the policies, enclose any written documentation you have showing that you correctly reported everything to Social Security. What Do I Need to Report to Social Security?
💮 If you don’t have copies of documents you signed or sent in, you may be able to request copies by calling or visiting your local office (assuming they were not lost).
💮 If you can’t get proof, all you can do is explain your intentions and hope for the best. It’s possible that anything you reported is already in their files.
If you did not follow the policies:
💮 If you were unable to follow or understand the policies because of your disabilities (or because of side effects from meds), enclose a letter from your doctor verifying problems with memory/focus/concentration or ability to follow directions.
💮 If you were unable to follow the policies because you were in the hospital or other emergency circumstances, enclose written proof of this.
💮 If you were simply unaware of the policies, all you can do is explain your intentions and hope for the best.
If something else happened:
💮 If Social Security made a mistake that had nothing to do with your actions, and you did not realize this was happening, you don’t need to prove that it was not your fault.
💮 If you were aware that you were being paid too much, and you did not chose to return the money, Social Security may consider that you should return the money now. Even if the mistake was theirs.
In addition to showing it was not your fault, they will look at these issue:
💮 For an appeal – Is Social Security wrong when they say that you owe this money? Do you think you were never actually overpaid and that all your checks were correct? If possible, it would be helpful if you can enclose a copy of the policy that you think they broke.
💮 For a waiver – Are you too poor to pay the money back? The overpayment application will ask for details on your income and expenses. You chances of success will be greater if you can show that having your check reduced, means that you will not be able to meet your basic living expenses (rent, food, utilities, medical care, disability-related expenses).
Got Questions? Need Help?
Some legal aide programs provide free assistance with overpayment issues. Start by contacting your local nonprofit legal aid center
Here’s a list of people who can answer your Social Security questions.
If Social Security has made a mistake, broken a policy or lost your paperwork, contacting your congressperson can be especially helpful.
Thanks for Reading
🌷 This page is part of the free online guide: Everything No One Ever Tells You About Living on Social Security Disability
🌷 Learn more about your options here: How To Handle a Social Security Overpayment Notice
🌷 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.
🌷 Page Updated: 8/1/19
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6 thoughts on “How Do I Prove that a Social Security Overpayment was Not My Fault?”
I have disabilities I was mistakenly overpaid was not my fault my husband had my debit card and never reported my information that I was incarcerated at the time for self-defense but still got locked up for and I get out and was received a letter notice stating that I was overpaid and it was around 2,700 I try to explain to these people what was going on and at the time I I’ve been on medication since I was 8 years old I do have issues with learning disabilities and memory relapse I don’t know what to do it’s keeping me from making it in life with bills and rent I need help what do I do
What exactly do you mean by:
“If Social Security made a mistake that had nothing to do with your actions, and you did not realize this was happening, you don’t need to prove that it was not your fault.”
I just received a letter from SSI saying they have been overpaying me since 2018. Now they want me to pay back over $10,000 in 30 days. I had no idea I was being overpaid. They just randomly send me this letter 2 yrs later.
Thank you so much, this has been so helpful. My son was getting disability and I was reporting my income as best as I could. I also suffer mental illness and often go from job to job and at times have no job. The paperwork to figure out how much my son should get I’m sure is complicated, but that’s there job to figure out, not mine. I get the statements and try to understand as best as I can. Now they say they overpaid him and he has no Medicaid because they are saying he is no longer disabled? As far as I know there’s no cure for Autism or ADHD.. so now I don’t know what to do in the meantime for health insurance.
I’m so sorry this is happening.
Did the letter state that he is no longer disabled?
If that is what happened, it’s not about anything you did. If they are saying he’s not disabled, something went wrong with his medical review. That’s not something you have control over – it’s about what is in his doctors records.
You can appeal the overpayment, but you can also put in an appeal about the medical decision.
If you are able, I think trying to contact legal aide might be helpful. In some areas they are able to help with things like this, but legal aid is a little different in each area.
Is your son a child or adult? Do you remember how long ago he first got a denial letter?
If you are low income, he should still be able to keep Medicaid. They will just switch him to a different form of Medicaid until this gets sorted out. You can contact your local Medicaid office about that.
Thanks for the information,I got problem with overdue,last night I was worried but now I’m a little relax but I need help with overpayment
Thank you for this blog. Tons of extremely valuable information for anybody who’s struggling with chronic illness.