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Social Security Error: Woman Repays More Than $300k Due To This Mistake; Can It Happen To You?

Social Security
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: A woman holds a sign at a labor rally to protest the privatization of Social Security 31 March, 2005, in New York. US President George W. Bush has expressed confidence about one of his chief domestic priorities, the partial privatization of the government-run Social Security retirement program, despite polls showing broad skepticism. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

Being overpaid by Social Security due to a mathematical error is nice, but if you don’t follow the correct steps, it costs you a lot of money. 

SThis comes after Forbes revealed that one unfortunate lady had to forcibly pay back more than $300,000 due to a Social Security mistake. 

Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for almost 70 million Americans would increase by 8.7% in 2023.

Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for almost 70 million Americans would increase by 8.7% in 2023.(Photo: JJ GOUIN/GETTY IMAGES)

Social Security Overpayment Explained

Overpayments from the Social Security system may occur for several reasons and are more often than you believe. 

Triage Center explained that this process happens when you get more money in a given month than you should have. And the overpayment amount is the difference between the benefits you should have earned and the amount you received. 

There are many causes for an overpayment, as Social Security Administration explained on its website. These include:

  • Your income exceeds expectations;
  • You kept receiving benefits even if you are no longer disabled;
  • You changed your residence;
  • As a result of inaccurate or lacking information, your benefits have been wrongly estimated. 

ALSO READ: Debt Ceiling Pushes Social Security Payments On The Line; What Happens Next?

What to Do If You Receive an Overpayment Notice

You have 30 days to make the repayment if the Social Security Administration notifies you in writing that you received more money than you were entitled to. Before beginning the collection procedure, the SSA will hold off for at least 35 days (including five mail days) from the date of the overpayment notification. 

Before a decision is reached on your request, the SSA will not start collecting the overpayment if you file a request for a waiver or reconsideration before the 30-day deadline. 

Pine Tree Legal Assistance advises carefully reviewing the overpayment notification first to check that the details, sums, and dates are accurate. Here are some options for you after that: 

  • Request for a reassessment. This appeal demonstrates your desire for the SSA to review your case again. If you believe the overpayment amount or the explanation provided by the SSA is incorrect, you should request a reconsideration. 
  • Request for a waiver. Even if you acknowledge that Social Security overpaid you, you may still get a waiver from the SSA to avoid paying it back. Request a waiver if you believe that the overpayment was not your fault and/or that you cannot pay the money back. 
  • Request for a payment schedule. If you can afford to repay the overpayment and believe it was your responsibility, you should choose this option. You can pay the money back in installments via payment plans. The officials would determine the amount based on how much you usually pay for your basic essentials.

It is crucial to gather any supporting evidence if you decide to perform one of these three actions. You may want to consider hiring an attorney to assist you with this procedure. 

Call the SSA at 855-807-8807 if you have any questions regarding the notification (TTY 800-325-0778). You may also repay online at if your overpayment notice has instructions for making an online payment and a Remittance ID.

RELATED ARTICLE: Social Security Payments February 2023: Exact Distribution Dates Revealed

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