An overpayment of your disability benefits from the Social Security Administration is not a gift. You are legally responsible for repaying the money even if it is not your fault that the overpayment was made. If you were notified you had an overpayment, here is what you need to know. 

What If You Do Not Agree?

If you believe that you have not received any overpayments from the SSA, you have the right to file an appeal. It is imperative that you file the appeal as soon as you receive notice because if you fail to do so, the agency could start withholding your future benefits to pay off the overpayment. 

If you are no longer receiving benefits, the SSA will still take action to collect the funds. Your federal tax refund could be withheld and your paycheck could be garnished. The agency can also report your failure to pay to credit bureaus, which could impact your ability to get credit in the future. 

What If You Cannot Pay?

If you do agree that you are responsible for repaying the overpayment, but you cannot afford to do so, ask for a waiver. A waiver is granted in situations in which a person is unable to pay because it would present a financial hardship. 

A waiver is also granted in situations in which it can be proven that the overpayment was not the fault of the recipient. For instance, if the SSA miscalculated your benefits and lowered them after further review of your case, it is technically not your fault that the overpayment occurred. 

What If the Waiver Is Denied?

Unfortunately, it is possible for the waiver request to be denied. If it is, you have the option of either paying the debt or requesting a reconsideration. Reconsiderations are conducted by the SSA on an informal and formal basis. You are allowed to choose which works best for you.

If you opt for the formal conference, witnesses can be compelled to appear and present documentation that can help you make your case. In an informal conference, witnesses can voluntarily appear and you can explain your reasoning for needing a waiver. 

In the event the agency denies the waiver again, you can request a hearing, which is conducted by an administrative law judge. You can continue to appeal your case to the Federal District Court if necessary. 

To fully explore your options, consult with an attorney, like Todd East Attorney at Law, as soon as possible.