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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 11841
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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I will try to keep it short. SS wants me to repay benefits(

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I will try to keep it short. SS wants me to repay benefits( $13,000) because I received income in 2011. They say in shows up as self employment on my tax return. I received it as goodwill. I did no work for the money. I have been to their office a number of times and been on the phone with them. They just keep sending me letters saying that they will take the money, giving me 60 days to respond. I can't seem to get an official determination so that I can appeal if needed. How long can they pursue this? Do I need counsel? So far the best answer I have gotten is that it will be turned over to a supervisor, and then another collection notification. Note: My brother worked 30 years for SS and says I am correct.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon Sal,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. What form of social security are you receiving? Disability, early retirement?
2. What do you mean that the money you received was "as goodwill"? Please explain.
3. Why does it show up as self employment on your tax return? Did you declare it as self employment income?

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Early retirement . A company I worked with in the past, decided that it would be to their benefit to use my name as an associate of their company. They did not issue a w2 or a 1099 so I put the amount under self employment. SS had me get a letter from them explaining the money. I did not perform any substantial services for the company. The second defense is that the money was actually earned over 30 years of experience. SS rules are different from IRS rules but they have not yet recognized the difference. I submitted form ssa-561-u2, twice. They say I can't appeal until I get a determination, but I can't seem to get a determination.

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Hi Sal,

Early retirement income makes no sense to me. Retirement income is not self employment income. Are you telling me that a company paid you a ton of money just to use your name in their business?

Have you explained how the money given you was a "goodwill" payment?

Were you paid from a federally regulated retirement fund at the company?
Did you have an investment interest in the company for which you were paid profits?

1. What form of social security are you receiving? Disability, early retirement?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

sorry I didn't number my answer


#1 - early retirement for SS - 62 1/2


#2 - Yes, My name was very valuable to this company. I had a large following and they were able to pick up a number of my old associates. Goodwill is an intangible value so their is nothing on the books to give it an exact amount, it is what you think it is.

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Hi Sal,

I am sorry, but I don't have a solution for you and I am therefore unable to further assist you in this matter. I am going to opt out of your question and open this up for other professionals.

Your question is being placed back in the question list for other professionals to see, and to respond to. You do not have to stay online for the question to be active. Should another professional pick it up, you should be alerted by email unless you actively disable this feature.

There is no need for you to reply at this time as this may "lock" your question back to me, thus inadvertently delaying other professionals' access to it.

I apologize for any inconvenience and wish you well in your future.



Doug

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I thank you for your inquiry. I have been practicing SS law full time for 10+ years and look forward to assisting you.

Quite an interesting court of events here, not one I recall seeing recently, certainly.

I will try to keep it short. SS wants me to repay benefits( $13,000) because I received income in 2011. OK.

 

They say in shows up as self employment on my tax return. That would mean you reported it as self-employment income, correct?

 

I received it as goodwill. I did no work for the money. I think perhaps your best avenue is amending your tax return to properly reflect that income, not as self employment income, but as a sale of the asset that is your name, your good will.

 

I have been to their office a number of times and been on the phone with them. They just keep sending me letters saying that they will take the money, giving me 60 days to respond. You need to APPEAL, and now!

 

I can't seem to get an official determination so that I can appeal if needed. They must have sent you a letter asking for the pay back. I'd use that 'determination' to file my appeal of same. I'd also put in writing that I do not want the money withheld to satisfy the erroneous finding of "overpayment" pending my appeal - IF but only if, that is the case.

 

How long can they pursue this? They will simply withhold your prospective benefits based on the alleged overpayment if you don't come to an agreement with them to pay it. Ergo, the appeal.

 

Do I need counsel? If you do not believe you know how to prove what needs to be proven, likely so. However, because, depending on the state, there is possible a "Reconsideration" appeal, followed then by a "Hearing" appeal, you can always try it yourself, the appeal and if you find yourself having to see a Judge (which is usually about a years wait AFTER you appeal for the Hearing), you may want to get a lawyer for that - as soon as you have to appeal for that, so he has time to get all evidence possible that you may have missed AND file his brief and arrange to be at the hearing. I.e. Don't wait to the hearing is actually scheduled, because you will likely find it hard to secure council.

 

So far the best answer I have gotten is that it will be turned over to a supervisor, and then another collection notification. Note: My brother worked 30 years for SS and says I am correct.I'd appeal, I'd not wait. They can simply start 'garnishing', if you will, and if you need your current benefits to survive now, that could put you in a tight spot.

 

You will likely want to file an SSA-561 (request for Reconsideration). I know NJ and NY, however, would be a direct appeal for Hearing, so you'd want the HA-501. If you need them, let me know.

 


I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions. Be sure to start future posts with "To Stephanie Joy., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it.

Sincerely, XXXXX XXXXX Joy, Esq.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

To Stephanie Joy., ONLY - we are getting closer. First, it was under self employment but I don't want to ammend return. The IRS is happy and this would open me up for an audit. Second, The money is not needed. I am in new york. Now to get back to the problem in more detail. filed form ssa 561-u2 back in october 15,2012. Letter verifying october 24,2013. letter dec 3, 2012 stating that I will be notified at a latter date. March 6,2013 letter saying march 6,2013 letter saying 'dismissing my request for reconsideration because their was no initial determination'. Called ssa help line. They said they were as confused as I was and start over. march 13,2013 - submitted another form ssa 561-u2. Sept 3, 2013 - got another collection letter. Called local ss office. said they would look into and call back. They are now not returning my call. I just need to know what to file and where. I can send you a PDF of all correspondence and back up info if you give me an email address.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

To Stephanie Joy., ONLY - we are getting closer. First, it was under self employment but I don't want to ammend return. Unfortunately, if you want to continue to misrepresent it as SE when it is not, then you may have no choice but to accept the ruling that it is such - since that is what you are presenting. That may be influenced by whether you paid SE taxes on it, which we typically would not if it was sale of an asset, even if that asset was in our own business. Generally, we pay SE tax (SS tax) only on work from earnings, which then converts to social security earnings credits in a given year (and may increase our benefit amount).


The IRS is happy and this would open me up for an audit. Which wouldn't be big deal, generally, if all else is properly presented.


Second, The money is not needed. Then why bother? If the $13k goes back, you merely ensure that you get a higher benefit (less of a discount for "early" taking, since you will have now taken it early for less months)...


I am in new york. Now to get back to the problem in more detail. filed form ssa 561-u2 back in october 15,2012. OK, unless there is a recent change, that may have been an HA 501 you wanted. However, it is also true that where there is no Recon, the SSA it to construe it as the request for the next appropriate appeal.


Letter verifying october 24,2013. Wow, letter a year later, confirming your appeal?


letter dec 3, 2012 stating that I will be notified at a latter date. March 6,2013 letter saying march 6,2013 letter saying 'dismissing my request for reconsideration because their was no initial determination'. Good lord, what confused people they can be. Glad you covered your butt though with the appeal, because now you have in writing that there was no determination and therefore they can just garnish (at least not properly).


Called ssa help line. They said they were as confused as I was and start over. march 13,2013 - submitted another form ssa 561-u2. Sept 3, 2013 - got another collection letter. Called local ss office. said they would look into and call back. They are now not returning my call.


I just need to know what to file and where. Try an HA501, but I don't see that as the problem (given the constructive filing). But if you do, attach the letter saying that there was an overpayment, etc. I'd also attached the collectin letter. And given the immense "confusion" that they have created for themselves, if you feel confident you can convince them that it was NOT earnings (did you pay SE tax on that, i.e. SS tax? If you did, that means you were counting it as earnings from work activity. If you did not (which would be better), you can try to argue that it was your business income, but the sale of a business asset, not labor costs/work earnings.


I can send you a PDF of all correspondence and back up info if you give me an email address. No need, that would end up costing you must more, as it would very much exceed the level of transaction you chose.

 

One more thing, and this is because of the length of time without resolution - consider contacting your Congressman and providing concise but backed up proof of what you say - he can't adjudicate it but if the issue is NOT getting the proper procedural due process, that of an appeal when you disagree with the decision, and they won't move either way, but keep threatening you with collections - then the Congressman can then do a "congressional inquiry" into why the hold up - which generally lights a flame under someone and gets it moving procedurally -- again, he can't tell them how to rule on the substance, he wouldn't even know the law, obviously - but as the 'boss', he can tell them to decide what the determination is, pronto, and allow you to have your appeal properly processed.

 

But, going back to it - you may just want to give back the $13k if you have concerns about some worms coming out of the can.

I agree with your brother - particularly if the company letter confirms they paid you and it was for the price of 'license to use your name' - an asset, rather than work - even if you made the mistake on your tax return (there is a reason many of us use an experienced tax preparer, to avoid these errors that can cost us plenty).


Again, I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions. Be sure to start future posts with "To Stephanie Joy Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it.

Sincerely, Stephanie

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Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 11841
Experience: 19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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