Good day! Although we want everyone to enjoy their Social Security benefits smoothly, some recipients may receive a message that can cause them a lot of stress. They just found out they have an overpayment! No one likes to find out that they have to refund the money, especially if they have already spent it. For this reason, today we will explain how you can try to avoid these overpayments, as well as how we can help you clarify and resolve this situation.
Do not fall into the trap of scammers. Social Security will never contact you to inform you that we will suspend your Social Security because of suspected illegal activity and that you will be arrested unless you provide personal information. Nor will we pressure you to purchase a gift card to address an issue. These calls are completely fraudulent. Social Security never accepts gift cards to pay off potential debts. If you receive these calls, please report them to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271.
How do we try to avoid overpayment? Your request for benefits and a list of subsequent messages and confirmation of events that you must inform us. Depending on your eligibility, you must inform us of events such as marriage, divorce, employment, if you will receive benefits from another government agency or a pension from jobs not covered by Social Security or if you have been convicted or held for a crime, among other things. Clarify your doubts with us to prevent us from paying you incorrectly and then find out that you have to pay them.
Did you update your address? Even if you collect our benefits by direct deposit, you must notify us immediately of any change of address or if the post office asks you to change the format of your current address. We may stop your benefits if the mail returns our messages because we don’t know if there is a bigger problem. Update your mailing address and direct deposit information by accessing your My Social Security account at www.segurosocial.gov, by calling 1-800-772-1213, or by visiting your local Social Security office.
What do I do if I receive an overpayment letter? The notice will incorrectly explain why we paid you. Contact us immediately to clarify your doubts. Even if you do not agree, the important thing is that you understand the reason for the incorrect payment so that you can determine your next step. This way you can clarify if the situation really happened or if there was an error. Our experts will assess the case and present your options.
Generally, the notice gives you 30 days before we start collecting the debt. If you do not contact us on time, we may start taking all of your Social Security benefits – if any – until the overpayment is refunded. If you no longer collect benefits, we will ask you to pay off the debt in full. For this reason, it is important that you read our messages and contact us immediately to clarify your doubts and options.
An overpayment may be false if you show that the event that is alleged to have caused it did not occur or if there are other causes. If the overpayment is correct and you do not want us to deduct your entire benefits, we may set up a payment plan. Also, if you meet certain conditions, you may be able to file an appeal or ask us for debt forgiveness.
Let’s look at two examples of similar overpayments. In general, people who receive reduced retirement benefits must tell us whether they will continue to work and expect to earn more than a certain limit that is set annually.
Let’s say 64-year-old Mehmet Enchi has collected all of his reduced retirement benefits over the past year. Muhammad did not say that he would continue to work, but in the end he got more than the maximum. Last week you received our overpayment letter saying you owe us $4000.00 because we didn’t adjust your benefits for 2021. Mohamed agreed to the payment plan. Every month, we’ll deduct a certain amount from your benefits until the debt is paid off.
Junkyard, on the other hand, has collected all of his discounted retirement benefits for 2021. Last week he received our overpayment letter stating that we incorrectly paid him $4,000 because his record shows wages above the stated amount last year. Shatariro provided evidence that although he had not worked in the past year, he received accrued leave, sickness benefits and severance pay from a company he retired from several years ago. We make it clear that these special payments should not affect these benefits. In Rice and Beans, Shatariro “dances alone” because he doesn’t have to return the favor to us.
Finally, as a measure to discourage fraud, Social Security can impose additional penalties – to recover overpayments – on beneficiaries who willfully provide us with false information or conceal relevant situations that should have affected their benefits.
Get guidance by calling 1-800-772-1213, accessing www.segurosocial.gov, or visiting your local Social Security office.