SSI Overpayments

An overpayment is when you receive more money for a month than the amount you should have been paid.

If you are collecting Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you need to be aware of rules regarding overpayments. An overpayment is when you receive more money for a month than the amount you should have been paid. The amount of your overpayment is the difference between the amount you received and the amount due.

SSI Overpayments are usually caused when a change happens in your life that would cause your SSI payment to be adjusted or discontinued, but for some reason, the adjustment never happened.

Here are a few examples:

Linda, in San Marcos, CA, forgot to tell the Social Security Administration that she has been earning $300 a month from a part-time job for the past 6 months while she was also collecting SSI. Linda’s SSI payments should have been slightly reduced for those months where she earned extra income, so she has 6 months of Overpayments.

Tom, in Chula Vista, CA, did not notify the Social Security Administration when he was married 8 months ago. Tom’s new wife works and brings income into the home so Tom’s SSI payments from the past 8 months have been Overpayments.

Katy, in San Diego, CA, received $10,000 in inheritance. After receiving this money, she did not report it and she continued to receive SSI payments for 4 months. Katy had 4 months of Overpayments.

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) finds out about your overpayments, they will send you a notice explaining the overpayment and ask you to pay back the overpaid amount within 30 days.

If you are still getting checks and do not pay back the overpayment, then the SSA will propose to withhold the overpayment at a rate of 10 percent of your total income.

If you receive an overpayment notice and you believe that you were not overpaid, you have 10 days to appeal. If you were overpaid and you believe that it was not your fault, you can ask for a waiver. If you can show that it was not your fault and that you are unable to repay the overpayment, then the SSA may grant you a waiver and you may not be required to pay it back.

If you are not granted an overpayment waiver, you can request a reconsideration of your waiver denial or you can ask the SSA to withhold less than the proposed amount each month.

If you owe the SSA for overpayments and you no longer receive SSI benefits, then you can arrange to make monthly payments. If you do not repay the overpayment, the SSA can withhold your overpayment from your Federal Income Tax Return, or from any future Social Security benefits that you may receive.

If your SSI payments have been discontinued in the past and you are eligible again, or if you are applying for the first time, talk with a qualified disability attorney.