Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Overpayments

What to Do if You Got a Notice of Overpayment from Social Security:

 This video is for people who get SSI (Supplemental Security Income). It will explain what you can do if Social Security sends you a letter telling you that they are going to take money out of your check for an overpayment. If you get SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), we have a different video that will help you because the rules are not the same. If you don't know if you are getting SSI or SSDI, you can call your local Social Security office to ask.

Common Questions

What is a Social Security overpayment?

An overpayment occurs when the Social Security Administration (SSA) finds that your SSI benefits for a certain month or months were higher than they should have been. This often happens if your income has increased or your expenses have decreased. For example, you may not have told the SSA that you started working, your child moved out of your house, or that your child began getting child support. In some cases, you may have reported the change, but SSA delayed in decreasing your monthly check.

How do I know if I have been overpaid?

SSA will send you a Notice of Overpayment. The letter will tell you how much you were overpaid. It will tell you to send the money back in 30 days.

What do I do if I get a Notice of Overpayment?

First make sure you read the Notice carefully. Make sure that they information on it is correct, that the amounts and dates are correct, and try to figure out if you were really overpaid the amount SSA says.

There are three ways to deal with the overpayment.

  1. Ask for Reconsideration. This means you want SSA to look at your case again, either by looking at your file or by meeting with you in a conference or hearing. Ask for a reconsideration if you think the amount of the overpayment is wrong, the amount owed is incorrect, or the reason SSA gives for the overpayment is wrong.
  2. Ask for a Waiver. If you agree that you were overpaid, you can still ask SSA to waive it so that you don’t have to pay it back. Ask for a waiver if you think that the overpayment was not your fault or you can’t afford to pay the money back.
  3. Ask for a Payment Arrangement. Do this if you think that the overpayment was your fault or you can afford to pay it back. You can tell SSA that you want to pay the money back a little at a time.

Whatever you decide to do, act quickly. Do not just put the notice aside. If you do not take care of the amount of money owed SSA will start taking money out of your future checks.

How do I file for any of these 3 options?

There are forms to submit for each of these options. It is best to submit these forms in person, but you can submit the forms to SSA by certified mail with a return receipt request from the post office. To find the nearest SSA office call 1-800-772-1213 or go here to find a location.

Do I need a lawyer to help me?

You can ask a lawyer to help you or you can file on your own.

It is always a good idea to at least talk to a lawyer about your case if possible. You can also see if you are eligible for free legal assistance by applying for help from Legal Aid of West Virginia. Legal Aid advocates can’t go to court with everyone that qualifies for help, but we try to give information and advice to everyone who qualifies. Or you can try these other resources.