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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13568
Experience:  22+ years legal exp. - 12+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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Payroll error discovered after five years of being paid for

Customer Question

Payroll error discovered after five years of being paid for 4 hrs instead of 3 while collecting survivor ss before nra. Payback to employer is 10,000 net. Due to their error $1.00 of every $2.00 was withheld from me for 2011-2015. Will i be compensated for the money withheld for those five years? How can this be corrected? My total earnings for those years were an average of 25,000
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Hello: This is Phillipsesq. Welcome to JustAnswer! I am reviewing your post, and I will post my response very shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 11 months ago.

I am sorry, but I am having difficulty understanding your post.

Kindly review, edit, properly identify the parties and your issues, ask specific question(s), and resubmit.

Thank you for your cooperation,

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
In february of 2016 it was discovered that i was being paid for a four hour position in the cafeteria of our middle school. i was told that as of January of 2011 i would be paid for a three hour position due to lack of student participation and received a memo from my boss verifying the change. this memo was sent to our then assistant superintendent for Human Resources as well as copies to the head of payroll and my principal. somehow it never happened. i did not notice at all because of health issues, operations and my mother dying. the now new superindendent wants me to pay it all back. i have no problem with returning money not earned, however, the length of time it took to discover the error, as well as the money that was withheld from my husbands survivor social security is a sore spot with me. because they made this error i have lost benefits i would otherwise have had. i just turned 65 in july. i opted to collect my husbands social security when i turned 60. so for these last five years i have had checks withheld. how will i recover that loss? i feel it is only fair for them to forgive a few years of overpayment to offset my losses. they tell me the net amount that i was overpaid is $11,257.18.
2011 $2,258.97
2012 $2165.85
2013 $2285.75
2014 $2769.54
2015 $1777.07
during 2016 i accrued additional hours resulting in the amount of $259.03 as well as a longevity payment in the amount of $192.86 that the District did not issue to you. deducting those two amounts from the original debt leaves a total of $10,805.29.
i researched what needs to be done going forward. if i were to pay them say $3,000 over the next 3 years and the balance in the fourth year they would have to give me a w2s with that payment deducted from my income since i already paid taxes on this money. is this correct?
also, i was eligible to receive half off my property taxes for the year 2014 which would have been $2500 that i did not get because my income was too high. I'm hoping next year i will qualify.
i need to know how this all works with social security. if they will go back those years and reimburse me it wouldn't be such a pinch to my pocket. i hope i've made all this clear. thank you for your help.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.

Hi, my name is***** and I am here to assist you. I am a social security attorney in my private practice – that is ALL I do. Please let me know that my post here is coming through for you by typing a quick reply.

I obviously can't opine on your property tax issues and others not related to SS, but I can discuss with you the SS, OK?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.

First, can you tell me, you were earning $25k per year, when it should have been about 25% less than that? (Such as 19k?) I think that is what you are saying.

Once the correct payroll is reported to IRS, and then to SSA, you will want to get your paperwork and ask for your earnings record to be corrected in your SS file. While you will still be over the earnings limit while collecting that dependent survival benefit, and therefore not due ALL of the SS you received, the overage should be less, thereby increasing what you were due from survivor benefits. While there is generally a 3 year (approx) time limit to correct any particular SS year of earning, exception do exist, particularly if it is employee mis-reporting your earnings, so push for that.

As such, I believe there is a good change of getting your lost survivor benefits paid to you.

As for your employer, perhaps consider trying to negotiate with them, a compromise. For instance, if you DO have, say, $3000 in savings you could use to pay them back, consider offering 3000 now, in full and final settlement of the WHOLE claim (thereby saving you 8000)... perhaps they will bite, because a bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush. There are many reasons they should realize could cause them to NOT get paid, if they have to wait for you on a payment plan. For instance, let's say you say you can afford $50/mo. That will take 224 months to pay off. Lots can happen, you could have medical expenses that cause you to not be able to pay the $50... they will have to hound you.... you could just decide you are going to breach the payment plan.... you could become sick and simply forget to pay... or (gosh forbid) you could pass away - and pay nothing more. It is reasons like this that parties, when owed a larger sum, will often take a smaller sum even if way less, if it is paid immediately. If something like that happens, you will want to make sure the settlement agreement is signed by all, in writing.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.

I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurateservice – 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 aredone. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions. Be sure to start future posts with "To ***** Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it.

Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.

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