Learn about Overpayments and Our Process

September 14, 2023 • By

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Last Updated: October 13, 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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  1. Rose M.

    My money was sent to a green Dot Bank in Provo. I’ve been trying to find out Why it was sent there and who authorized it to be sent there. I have no idea what the green dot is. I never gave authorization for my money to go there. I’ve been to the SSI twice and I’m going tomorrow. I’ve spent numerous hours on the phone. They said that green dot was sent my money and I don’t even have account. Stupid my e don’t write things or name’s. My bad. In all reality I’m eliterate.. I’m slow and don’t understand. They said I had to call green dot bank and get my money. I was given a tracer # and phone number so I could get money from them. I called green dot after I left SSI office. They said they couldn’t find account. What is really going on. Why does Green have my money and why aren’t they sending it back, I don’t know what to do.

    • C.B.

      We’re sorry to hear this, Rose. For your security, we do not have access to banking information in this venue. We encourage you to continue to work with your local Social Security office. We hope this matter is resolved soon. 

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  3. Jennifer H.

    I am a Certified Financial Planner working with an 86 year-old client trying to help her sort out a situation with Social Security and Medicare Part B. We have called social security seven times together, which I have documented, and received seven different answers to the same question. Every time we call, after being left on hold for no less than 2 hours each time, we get a different answer. How can we possibly trust any response from Social Security at this point?
    This is costing her tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. It is truly Kafkaesque. Do better!

    • C.B.

      Hi, Jennifer. We’re sorry to hear you did not receive the level of customer service you expected. You can submit feedback by visiting our Contact Social Security page. Once there, select the “Email Us” link. This will take you to the “Email A Question to our Support Team” form, where you can complete and submit a compliment, complaint, or suggestion. Please note that wait times to speak to a representative are typically shorter in the morning, later in the week, and later in the month. You can ask to speak to a supervisor or manager on your next call. We hope this information helps.

  4. Sean Y.

    I never received the letter stating that I owed for an over payment. How do I obtain that information about how much it is they say that I owe and why??

    • C.B.

      Hi, Sean. Thanks for reading our blog and for your question. Your overpayment notice explains why you have been overpaid, your overpayment amount, your repayment options, and your appeal and waiver rights. If you did not receive the notice, please contact your local Social Security office for assistance. We hope this information is helpful.

  5. BHam

    SSI has stopped my monthly payments stating that I made over 100k in previous years. I am retired and have been since 2022. Even before retiring I have never made that much. I have sent check stubs in and have gone to the SSI office in my area to no avail. How can this be!? What more can I do to rectify this?

    • C.B.

      Hi BHam, thank you for using our blog and for your question. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We encourage you to continue working with your local Social Security office . You can ask to speak to a supervisor or manager on your next call or visit. You can also call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. We hope this issue is rectified soon.

  6. Jack M.

    SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION is being RANSACKED FROM WITHIN by their very own OIG, CDI PROGRAM UNIT, overseers, contractors and affiliates. They are intentionally causing financial hardships, blocking all types of income so you can’t progress, poisoning people by giving them unknown substance without their knowledge by threatening an paying someone who usually would have access to your nutrition to put these things into your food and beverages. They intentionally block all opportunities for income and also online sources of income so don’t think being an online trader will work. All these while they threaten and pay people “to not say anything” it’s a secret” “they’re not suppose to know” ” don’t tell them” meanwhile they threaten people to make FALSE statements about the individual and force them to believe conspiracies and many FALSE theories of the reasons why this is OCCURING. SSA is a POVERTY PROGRAM is what they claim to keep you unemployed and isolated. The SSA OIG routinely deal in RACKETEERING, CONSPIRACY AND FRAUD. RANSACKING THE ADMINISTRATION FROM WITHIN.

    • Dan m.

      I caught there mistake and showed them that they used a 12 month benifit amount of 10thousand dollars instead of using the amount on my 1099 that was 7000 dollars I was told to leave or the would have me locked up for loitering and tresspassing I’m going to two major networks this week they can’t get away with this

  7. monique h.

    Attention SSI: my minor child was issued an over payment beginning in 2020. I had no Knopf this overpayment, ssi has been taking $105.00 per month out of her check . Ssi claimed I originally owed over $3,500. After continually taking the $105.00 out for the over payment. The balance was $1,509. I received a letter dated 02/01/2024 now claiming . I owe $6,583.36 I am at a loss for words . Ssi said due to Covid in 2020 ssi decided to stop all over payment charges . Claiming they did not want to put a financial strain on people receiving ssi. To the contrary that’s exactly what they did now because Ssi chose to stop this overpayment that I had no idea I had in 2020 now I’m in further debt because they stopped the overpayment from taking the $105 out of the check every month. I am completely in shock and I’m very upset. I would like this overpayment to cease, and I would like the money thats been taken from my child to be returned is not right is not fair. I’m already poor I’m already disabled. My daughter is disabled and poor as well and for Ssi is very wrong for doing this . I am seeking legal advice in this matter . I have filed all the correct paperwork to curtail this overpayment. The beginning of 02/24 I found a request for waiver for overpayment recovery that was misplaced by the Social Security office. So I went back down February 26, 2024 and found another request for waiver overpayment, I’ve had to file reconsideration. They stopped my daughters SSI this is causing me a great deal of stress, I tried to contact the agent that I’m handling this case Mr. Alegre I am not been able to contact him. I’ve left several messages. I am very very upset. I would like to receive a call back from a district manager from the Social Security office. My phone number is 510-984-8973. This matter is urgent. Parent to Kalia Alicia White (minor)
    Sincerely, Miss. Harriel

    • C.B.

      Hi Monique, thank you for using our blog. We’re sorry to hear that you’ve had trouble reaching us by phone regarding an overpayment. You can submit feedback related to your experience by visiting our Contact Social Security page. Once there, select the “Email Us” link. This will take you to the “Email A Question to our Support Team” form, where you can complete and submit a compliment, complaint, or suggestion. In the meantime, we have forwarded your message to our colleagues in California. We hope this matter is resolved soon.

  8. Sylvia W.

    How do I get help contacting someone to help file an appeal on back money that I was made to pay back for my mother’s case when I was a child. They made me pay back all the money from back money owed to me that I recently received last year. How can I get help to get my case reviewed so that I can get my money back if possible?

    • S.D.

      We’re sorry to hear about your situation, Syliva. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. To learn more about our overpayment process, check out our blog. You’ll find information about your appeal and waiver options in our Overpayments fact sheet. Although many people handle their own appeals, a representative familiar with Social Security’s programs can provide a valuable service to you. However, the decision to seek the services of a representative (attorney or another qualified person) is up to you. Each of our local offices has a list of organizations that can help you find a representative. For more information, check out our Your Right to Representation fact sheet. We hope this helps.

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