Overpayments from Social Security

An overpayment happens when Social Security decides you received more money than you were supposed to get, either in your monthly disability benefit check or your lump sum back payment.  Some of the most frequently asked questions about overpayments from Social Security are:

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There are various reasons Social Security may think you have been overpaid.  Some common examples include:  

          • When you or your spouse go back to work and the earnings are not taken into account in figuring your monthly benefit amount.
          • When you have income from other sources that has not been taken into account in figuring your monthly benefit amount. 
          • When Social Security incorrectly calculates the amount of retroactive (back) disability benefits owed to you.
          • When your living situation changes (your rent increases or decreases, your electricity is now included in your rent, you get a roommate who pays room and board) and these changes affect the amount of your SSI but Social Security has not considered them in determining your SSI benefit for the month(s).

Review the overpayment notice and determine why Social Security alleges you have been overpaid.

          • If you disagree you were overpaid (dispute the facts) − request “reconsideration” of the overpayment.
          • If you agree you were overpaid (do not dispute the facts) but it was not your fault you were overpaid − request a “waiver” of the overpayment.
          • If you agree you were overpaid (do not dispute the facts) and it was your fault you were overpaid − negotiate a reasonable payment plan with Social Security.

The columns below describe your options when you are overpaid: 

Call Utah Legal Services immediately at (801) 328-8891, Toll Free:  1-800-662-4245.   We may be able to assist you with your case.  At a minimum, we can offer you legal advice.

        • Once you submit a request for a waiver or a request for reconsideration, Social Security will stop collections until they make a decision.
        • If you submit your request for a waiver or a request for reconsideration within 30 days of the date of the overpayment notice, Social Security will not even start       collecting the overpayment until a decision is made.
        • Walk into your local Social Security Office and ask them for the forms.
        • Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and ask them to send you the forms.
        • Go to Social Security’s Web-page at http://www.ssa.gov/online/#Other and under “other SSA forms” choose:  SSA-632-BK “Request for Waiver of Overpayment,” and/or SSA-561-U2 for “Request for Reconsideration.”

Utah Legal Services (801) 328-8891 in the Salt Lake area, or Toll Free:  1-800-662-4245.  Call between 9 and 2, Monday - Friday to open a new intake.

To prevent a Social Security overpayment from happening, you should do the following:

          • Report all changes in your household (earnings, work activity, etc.) within ten days (10) of the event or no later than the tenth (10th) of the following month.
          • Try to report all changes to the particular Social Security worker(s) assigned to your case. 
          • Keep copies of all documents you receive from Social Security.
          • Keep a copy of all requests and reports you make to Social Security.
          • Make all requests and reports to Social Security in writing.
          • Always get proof from Social Security that you have reported a significant change to them.  Have a copy of the report you submit “dated-stamped” by a worker at the Social Security office or send your report “return receipt requested.”  While it does cost more than regular mail, it requires Social Security to sign for the document and the post-office sends you a “receipt” showing that Social Security signed for (received) the document. 
        • Report if you go to work.
        • Report if you get a raise – report every raise you get.
        • Report if you quit work or lose your job.
        • Report if your spouse or child goes to work/gets a raise.
        • Report if you get insurance money, an inheritance or win the lottery.
        • If you receive SSI report any changes to the amount you pay in rent.
        • Always! If in doubt, Report It!   
The information in this site is not intended as legal advice.
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