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What happens I receive overpayment of my SSI benefits?

North Carolina residents who receive Supplemental Security Income through the Social Security disability program will be approved after they have met all federal requirements. Once qualifying for benefits, it is possible that an SSI recipient will be overpaid at some point. Receiving more money than the person should have is considered overpayment. It is essential that the SSI recipient understand what to do if there is an overpayment, as there may be serious ramifications of certain steps are not taken.

An overpayment can come about for a variety of reasons, including earning more than the initial estimate, changing living situations, changing marital status, having more resources than what is allowed, not having the same disability that led to the approval of benefits, not reporting a change to the Social Security Administration, or the SSA failing to accurately calculate what the person was supposed to receive.

If there is an overpayment, the SSA will inform the person and ask for the overpayment to be refunded within 30 days. If the SSI recipient does not return the refund, then there will be a notice that says the overpayment could be withheld at the rate of the lesser of 10 percent for the payment for that month, informs the recipient when the withholding will begin, explains the recipient's right to appeal and how to request that the overpayment be reviewed and waived so there is no need to repay it, and explains how to appeal the decision the SSA has made.

For those who do not think they were overpaid, it is possible to ask for reconsideration. The appeal request must be made within 10 days from the date the notice is received so the payments will continue as the SSA decides on the case. Those who think they were overpaid through no fault of their own can ask for a waiver. In these instances, it must be shown that the recipient was not responsible for the overpayment and that it is impossible to repay the SSA because the money was needed to meet living expenses.

For many individuals, it is a relief to get SSI benefits, but there are numerous rules that must be adhered to in order to retain those benefits. Receiving an overpayment and failing to properly address it can lead to negative consequences, putting one's financial future at risk. Therefore, it is important to have legal help to deal with this or any other situation related to SSI benefits. A lawyer experienced in SSI Supplemental Security Income may be able to provide much needed guidance when dealing with these matters.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Understanding Supplemental Security Income Overpayments -- 2017 Edition," accessed on Nov. 14, 2017

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