Disability, General, Retirement, SSI, Survivors

Social Security Eliminates Overpayment Burden for Social Security Beneficiaries – Automatic Overpayment Recovery Rate Reduced to 10 Percent

March 29, 2024 • By

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Last Updated: March 29, 2024

Social Security Administration SealSocial Security announced it will decrease the default overpayment withholding rate for Social Security beneficiaries to ten percent (or $10, whichever is greater) from 100 percent, significantly reducing financial hardship on people with overpayments.

“Social Security is taking a critically important step towards our goal of ensuring our overpayment policies are fair, equitable, and do not unduly harm anyone,” said Martin O’Malley, Commissioner of Social Security.  “It’s unconscionable that someone would find themselves facing homelessness or unable to pay bills, because Social Security withheld their entire payment for recovery of an overpayment.”

The agency works to pay the right people the right amounts at the right time, and Social Security issues correct payments in most cases.  However, there is room to improve, as people count on the agency to prevent overpayments from happening and make it easier to navigate the recovery and waiver processes when they occur.

When a person has been overpaid, the law requires the agency to seek repayment, which can create financial difficulties for beneficiaries.  As of March 25, 2024, the agency will collect ten percent (or $10, whichever is greater) of the total monthly Social Security benefit to recover an overpayment, rather than collecting 100 percent as was previous procedure.  There will be limited exceptions to this change, such as when an overpayment resulted from fraud.

There will be a short transition period where people will continue to experience the older policy.  People placed in 100 percent withholding during this transition period should call Social Security’s National 800 Number at 1-800-772-1213 to lower their withholding rate.

The change applies to new overpayments.  If beneficiaries already have an overpayment with a withholding rate greater than ten percent and would like a lower recovery rate, they too should call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or their local Social Security office to speak with a representative.  If a beneficiary requests a rate lower than ten percent, a representative will approve the request if it allows recovery of the overpayment within 60 months – a recent increase to improve how the agency serves its customers from the previous policy of only 36 months.  If the beneficiary’s proposed rate would extend recovery of the overpayment beyond 60 months, the Social Security representative will gather income, resource, and expense information from the beneficiary to make a determination.

Social Security launched a comprehensive review in October 2023 of agency overpayment policies and procedures to address payment accuracy systematically. Learn about Overpayments and Our Process and read our Press Release.  This procedure change is a direct result of the ongoing review.  This change and the adjustment to 60-month repayment are part of four recently announced key updates to address improper payments.  The agency also is working to reduce wage-related improper payments by establishing information exchanges with payroll data providers that will significantly reduce the number of improper payments, once implemented.  The agency will continue examining programmatic policy and making regulatory and sub-regulatory changes to improve the overpayment process.

Additionally, people have the right to appeal the overpayment decision or the amount.  They can 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.  The agency does not pursue recoveries while an initial appeal or waiver is pending.  Even if people do not want to appeal or request a waiver, they should contact the agency if the planned withholding would cause hardship.  Social Security has flexible repayment options, including repayment of as low as $10 per month.  Each person’s situation is unique, and the agency handles overpayments on a case-by-case basis.

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  1. Kat L.

    I was working a job that gave me opportunities to expand and still trying to stay within reason of that monthly allowance, but I went over several times in a row….but they still paid me my monthly benefits…they knew I was going over and they could have said something when I did. I went almost a year in having to repay the overage and it was hard, my benefit payment always goes toward rent, and during those months without it, my partner and I struggled to make rent, buy food, pay bills. And all this during the pandemic. They knew we were going over and nothing was said until a letter almost 9 months later, oh we are stopping your payments because of overpayments, we will be deducting these payments each month till paid. Over $10,000. I could not believe it. We almost were thinking about bankruptcy when thost payments stopped.

    Reply
  2. Linda L.

    I wish this was retroactive to 2020

    Reply
  3. Debra

    On an overpayment, the SSA should look at VA’s policy. One can appeal and provide financial documentation to reduce the repay payment to what is affordable to the person’s income/costs.

    The VA does recoup some payments at 100% immediately, and other recoupments for large amounts can take a l-o-n-g time, years not 10 months. It is not just repayment time, it is also the overpayment amount. One also has to look at the intent of the party.

    Reply
  4. Lilly b.

    They should wave the entire overpayment if the person cannot afford to pay it back and it takes forever to repay as prices are sky high some can’t even afford to pay rent or buy food

    Reply
    • Patricia D.

      AGREE!!! This was horrible!!! I have no money, no food, no medicine (cut off my medicare) with only 3 parts of my heart!

      Reply
    • Lucy Z.

      I totally agree with you it’s our money we worked hard for many years it’s their mistake.

      Reply
  5. Eric G.

    Hi, Iam simply just awaiting claim that I filed back in 2021 at The Michigan office.I now reside in Sandy Spring Ga, where Mrs Brown and Mrs Jackson at Stone Mountain and Kennasaw Adjudication let my claim request info, sit on they desk for 4 months, saying they were short on staff. I imediatey hired Mr Brenner at Afleck, to handle my claim. Although I make all my Doctor appointments and take all 6 of my meds for my diagnosed chronic illness and pains. Those guys at the adjudication office are very mean, and do not communicate well at all. They really make you fill like you have done something wrong for applying. They very non-chalant about my well documented issues and how they play a significant role in holding up the progress of an American citizen receiving they benefits to help with ongoing meds and therapy, as well as every day cost of living basic essentials, food, housing, health care, clothing, basic transportation needs.What should or could we do?Its good to hear that some steps up and goes to bat for the disabled, financially impoverished, chronic illness, American people.

    Reply
  6. Candace H.

    Overpayments are being pursued by Individuals claiming to be with the social security administration and are threatening individuals, companies, employers not to hire or do business with the Individuals the social security administration is pursuing with the alleged secretive debt they’re not suppose to know exists. The social security administration debt collectors tell neighbors, family, acquaintances and anyone their targeted Individual comes across, that they’re intentionally causing poverty because the individual is in a POVERTY PROGRAM which belongs to the SSA. They laugh and smile about the oppression and despair they are causing. They tell people that the Individual has “debt” that they are “not suppose to know about” and the community tells them, then why are y’all after them? If they are not allowed to work or know that a debt exist? And they simply smile and mention all the money they’re making while the government is WASTING money.

    Reply
  7. Judy

    Most people know they received more than they were due and the government should be asking for 100% repayment. This is another way Democrats are soliciting votes from their careless and recklessness with taxpayer dollars.

    Reply
    • Patrice

      What an ignorant remark!

      Reply
      • Patte

        I agree.

        Reply
        • Patricia D.

          I agree Patrice!

          Reply
      • Lucy

        I also agree

        Reply
      • Barbara

        Exactly.
        Some people are just downright ignorant.
        But in this case it is Stupidity.

        Reply
    • Margaret

      You got that down pat !

      Reply
    • Christopher W.

      This remark appears to be based upon the assumption that people have an intimate understanding of Social Security benefits. Many do not understand, for example, overpayments that result from the Government Offset, or Windfall Elimination Provision, or any number of specific rules relating to benefits. More telling, there’s an underlying sense of cruelty that permeates this comment. But I guess cruelty for its own sake is the Republican way, isn’t it?

      Reply
    • NYCHearts

      How IGNORANT of you to blame the SS errors on a political party!

      Reply
    • Patte

      Ok, you are entitled to your opinion but you are so wrong!! YES there are SOME people who took advantage. People like ME, with only 3 parts of my heart who can’t work a REGULAR job, worked as a substitute teacher so I could control how much money I got, did everything right! They included YEARS where I made less than $5,000 for the ENTIRE YEAR! How is that right? MOST people do things right! I truly hope you never need this kind of help. May God Bless you on this Resurrection weekend.

      Reply
    • NJA

      I understand that this may not make sense. I am a representative payee responsible for managing the payee’s SSI. In the past year I have received 2 notices from SS stating overpayments were made. It took much of my time to find person at SS to inquire and resolve, what turned out to be an incorrect review by SS. Once I finally reached supervisor, who was very helpful, I had to gather bank statements and pay slips to submit for review. I have always been honest in my dealings with SS.
      ‘overpayments’ can sometimes happen when I’m behind on managing SSI funds at the end of each month and inadvertently went over the $2000 asset limit for SSI recipients. This can easily happen with the most scrupulous payees.
      I hope this info can help reduce judgement and stigma of those on SS benefits.
      NJA

      Reply
    • Jouri

      Keep on topic and keep your obviously disdain for the other party out of the convo bc there’s a whole lot that could be said about the red hat party. What must it be like to wake up so angry and hateful.

      Reply
  8. CSG

    Another area to work on is when SS under charges a recipient b/c they issued incorrect invoices for an entire year on Medicare payments. To receive an invoice backcharging IRMA for an entire year is quite a shock when the recipient paid exactly what the monthly invoice noted each month. On top of that, it takes 4-5 months to straighten it out and obtain answers as to what happened! Then, receive a new medicare card noting no Part B coverage, acknowledged by SS as no insurance coverage as well. After all IRMA payments made, then receive another invoice for the months that supposedly was no coverage only to be told ‘oh, you had coverage, resubmit bills’.

    Reply
    • Debra

      CSG: that is alot of compounded errors. It sounds like SSA needs more employees that work on an appeals team to correct errors. If it is a compounded error upon compounded error, the amount should just be written off as an admin error and the debt cleared. Again, SSA should look at what the VA does.

      Reply
  9. William H.

    How about a policy to prevent this to begin with?

    Reply
    • Patte

      AGREE!!

      Reply
  10. Sudhirkumar V.

    The social security office(s) in my opinion does a wonderful job of assisting the tax payers. My head bows to the wonderful employees of this Agency. God bless you all.

    Reply
    • Vince L.

      Agreed

      Reply

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