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Thread: They want me to pay back my benefits!

  1. #1

    They want me to pay back my benefits!

    I have been getting SSI for the last 8 years since my injury. I am a c-6 quad who needs total assistance. I have received, every year, some type of form asking for my income for the previous year. Due to 2 consulting jobs I have made more income per month allowed to receive benefits. The form says that if you make over a certain amount, you "may" not be eligable for benefits. I wrongly interpretted this to mean that other criteria were involved just like as in my private disability. In 2004, I went so far as to call the SSI representative and the gentleman told me on the phone not to worry because i was eligible. I wish i had taped that conversation, but I didnt. I have now received a letter requesting my income and expense records for the past 8 years so that they may determine the amount of "overage." I asked the representative "does that mean you want me to pay all of this back?" and he said "possibly, yes." I said, "I have faithfully returned my income that i have earned every year on a form and nobody has ever contacted me." She said, "What form are you talking about?" I knew I had trouble then. I said, "I also called in 2004 about this and the representative said everything was fine." She said it wasnt.

    The bottom line is I need help and I dont know who to turn to. I have gone to two "disability" lawyers and they have never dealt with "overage" cases. I dont want to take my collected papers into that meeting without being well-prepared. Does anybody have any experience with this and know what I should do? Thank You.


    p.s. If this should be copied to or moved to another forum that would get me more exposure. Please do so.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mr_coffee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    I had the same situation, but they contacted me sooner. I was doing an internship making 25/hr hence making more than I was allowed and still getting SSI. Well this lasted 11 months, but then my job ends so all they did was stop sending me SSI checks or slowly reducing the amount they gave me after I stopped working to pay it off.

    So in the end, yes I had to pay it off, because I was making MONEY while getting money from them which isn't allowed.

    Your allowed to either not make any money or very little and get SSI/SSDI or you can make money, and then NOT get any of their money.

    So if you were working and also cashing in their checks, then yes I think your in trouble.
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  3. #3
    you may not be in trouble. you are allowed work related expenses which can get you under the SGA amount. do you have pca's help you up and dressed for work? gather copies of the checks you have paid them. how about transportation? do you pay for that? any assistive devices you paid for that you need at work? these are examples.

    i worked for years and still got ssdi checks. i went into my ssa office with photocopies of checks for my work related expenses.

    read the SSA Redbook. work related expenses are discussed in there. it's online:

    btw, you're not consulting very good lawyers if they have never dealt with overpayment cases. what you need is an attorney who deals with social security obtained through a referral (not some ad). if you live in WA state, i can give you an excellent referral.

    more info from ssa on work related expenses, specifically ssi:

    from that site:

    In most cases, we can deduct the out–of–pocket costs of these items, which we call impairment–related work expenses (IRWE), from the amount of earnings we use to figure your SSI benefit.
    This means that we do not reduce your SSI benefit as much because we do not count all of your earnings.
    What are some examples of IRWEs that can be deducted?

    If you work, we may deduct your out–of–pocket expenses for items such as medicine, medical supplies, medical devices, service animals, and disposable items such as bandages and syringes when figuring the amount of your earned income.
    We may also be able to deduct your out–of–pocket expenses for medical services such as doctors visits and some attendant care services charged for preparing you for work, attending to you while you are at work, or getting you to and from work. We may also deduct certain out–of–pocket expenses for transportation and modifications to your home, car, or van to allow you to work.
    The expense must not be reimbursed, and must be related to your disability(ies) and needed in order for you to work.
    Last edited by cass; 10-06-2008 at 05:16 AM.

  4. #4

    I am a Community Work Incentive Coordinator (a CWIC), trained by Social Security on the work incentives available through SSA for indivudals on SSDI and SSI. Basically, I am trained to educate indivudals on the impact of work on their federal, state and local benefits (state and local specific to NH).

    I would be glad to help you with SSDI questions (at least general). If I can not help, I should be able to refer to a specific person who can.

    CWIC Melanie Renfrew-Hebert
    Granite State Independent Living, NH

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