I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.
You should consider applying for a Waiver for the overpayment. While the fact that you were not aware of the overpayment is not a valid treason for a Waiver being granted, perhaps you have a better excuse that you are not seeing, or perhaps repayment would be financially disastrous for you.
Under the present circumstances, you will need to file for a waiver of the overpayment based on the fact that you were unaware that you were ineligible and that you are financially hurting, and paying it back would result in an extreme financial hardship on you, possibly resulting in your need to go on public assistance.
You can file for a waiver (it's a form SSA-632) and here is the link to the form:
You will want to indicate that the overpayment was in no way your fault---if that statement is at all possible to make, and that you cannot afford to repay the money they are asking for.
Alternatively, you may argue need. Recovery of an overpayment will defeat the purpose of Title
II of the Social Security Act if recovery would deprive the beneficiary
of income required for ordinary and necessary living expenses. POMS GN 02250.100; 20 C.F.R. § 404.508. Such ordinary living expenses can include: food, clothing, rent/mortgage, utilities, insurance premiums
, taxes, medical expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses. Proof that recovery would deprive the person of such income can be shown on SSA's Request for Waiver form.
Just fill out the questions as they appear on the form. Then drop it off, or mail it to your local social security office.
Even if they don't approve your waiver, at least they will stop collection efforts until they decide on your waiver. If they deny your request for a waiver, you may appeal their decision two times. If the waiver is denied the first time, I would urge you to retain a local Social Security attorney to represent you on the appeals---to give you a better chance at persuading them to grant the waiver.
You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.
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I wish you and yours the best in 2015,