Social security can garnish your wages, take your social security payments and place liens...
However, they will work with you for a payment plan...and you can also request a waiver of paying it back altogether.
And yes, the representative was correct, your expenses will have no affect on the amount you pay back, but you can set up a payment plan that will make it managable...or maybe even get it waived altogether.
I copied the information below from the social security website.
An overpayment occurs when Social Security pays you more than you should have been paid. If this happens, we will notify you. Our notice will tell you why you have been overpaid and how you can pay us back. We will also tell you how you can ask us to:
- Reconsider our decision, if you believe you are not overpaid;
- Let you pay back the amount at a different rate; or
- Waive (not collect) the overpayment.
If you do not agree that you have been overpaid, or if you believe the amount is incorrect, you can appeal by filing Form SSA-561, Request for Reconsideration. You should explain why you think you have not been overpaid or why you think the amount is not correct.
If you agree that you have been overpaid and are willing to pay it back, but cannot afford to pay it back at the rate we tell you about in our letter, you should file Form SSA-632, Request for Waiver of Overpayment Recovery Or Change In Repayment Rate.
If you agree that you have been overpaid, but you feel you should not have to pay it back because you did not cause the overpayment and you cannot afford to repay it, you should file Form SSA-632, Request for Waiver of Overpayment Recovery Or Change In Repayment Rate.
amount in monthly installments.
If you are not receiving benefits, and you
do not pay the amount back, we can recover
the overpayment from your federal income tax
refund or from your wages if you are working.
Also, we can recover overpayments from future
SSI or Social Security benefits. We also will
report the delinquency to credit bureaus