Learn about Overpayments and Our Process

September 14, 2023 • By

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Last Updated: September 14, 2023

mother cooking with her daughterThe Social Security Administration works to ensure that we pay the right person the right amount at the right time, and our payment accuracy rates are high. Given the magnitude of the benefits we pay each year—$1.4 trillion in benefits to more than 70 million people—and complexity of the programs we administer, overpayments can happen.

Social Security is required by law to adjust benefits or recover debts when people receive payments they weren’t entitled to. We take seriously our responsibilities to our customers and to taxpayers to safeguard the integrity of our benefit programs and be good stewards of the trust funds.

Overpayments can occur for many reasons, like when someone does not timely report work or other changes that can affect benefits or when an individual chooses to continue receiving payments during an appeal. Each person’s situation is unique, and we handle overpayments on a case-by-case basis.

Getting an overpayment notice may be unsettling or unclear, and we work with people to navigate the process. We inform people about the fact and amount of the overpayment, their right to appeal, and the options to repay or, in some cases, receive waivers for the debt.

People have the right to appeal the overpayment decision or the amount. They can also ask Social Security to waive collection of the overpayment, if they believe it was not their fault and can’t afford to pay it back. We examine every waiver request to determine if the person caused the debt and their ability to repay. If we can’t waive the debt, we have flexible repayment options—including repayment of as low as $10 per month.

Social Security is working to prevent overpayments and make the process easier.

For more information about the overpayment process, please see our Overpayments Fact Sheet.

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    I would like to know why my bebifit payment went down

  2. Jennifer W.

    I don’t understand why ss doesn’t train their employees better. There is no reason for all the over payments on survivor benefits. This just happened to me last week & when I saw the money was deposited into my bank account, I called my local office right away. I was on hold for half hour & than on the call for another half hour while the girl researched it. At the end of the call she told me that it was my money and I could spend it. Of course I didn’t believe her. So I check on there Web site today and it now states that it was a over payment. I went to my local office today to arrange payments. So what happens to all the employees who are making these mistakes?

    • Sarah

      I want to know why the amount SSA wants me to pay back is more than the amount they say they overpaid me. Is SSA charging us interest for THEIR mistakes?!

      • Ann C.

        Hi, Sarah. We are sorry to hear about your situation. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.



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