Social Security Questions? Ask a Social Security Expert
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First, you can try to get a waiver or fight the repayment (If this does not interest you and you simply want to repay then skip to the last paragraph) Sometimes an overpayment happens because you did not report a change in your income or household to SSA. Maybe you did not know that you were supposed to report the change. Or maybe you did tell SSA and they didn't record it. If the overpayment was not your fault and you cannot afford to pay it back, you can ask for a waiver. A waiver means that even though you were overpaid, SSA will not ask you to give the money back. If a waiver is still denied, you can ask for an Administrative Hearing. Ask for the hearing in writing within 60 days after your reconsideration was turned down, or by filling out the Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ha-501.pdf) form. This hearing is held by an an Administrative Law Judge. At the hearing, you will have a chance to tell the judge your side of the story. If you lose your hearing, you can ask to have your case reviewed by the Appeals Council. Tell the local SSA office that you want to appeal the Administrative Law Judge's decision. The Appeals Council is outside Washington, D.C. You do not have to go the Appeals Council to have your case reviewed. They will look over the records in your case to see if the judge at your hearing made a mistake. If you lose at the Appeals Council level, you can take your case to court. You will need a lawyer to do this.
Get a form called Overpayment Recovery Request (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ssa-632.pdf), (you can also ask for one at your local Social Security office). This form asks you questions about whether you reported the change and whether you knew you should report the change. It will also ask questions about your income. Remember, you must show both that the overpayment was not your fault and that you do not have enough money to pay back the overpayment.
If you have lost all of your appeals or have decided not to appeal any further, you must pay the money back. Tell SSA that you want to repay it in small amounts each month that you can afford. Otherwise, SSA may automatically take your whole Social Security disability or retirement check. Usually you will have to pay back at least $10.00 a month. SSA tries to get the money back within 3 years. With this repayment being relatively small, SSA should work with you, you simply need to call and speak to someone and set up a plan. You can use the SSA-795 (http://www.ssa.gov/online/ssa-795.pdf) form or just write Social Security a letter describing the terms of your offer.
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