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Thread: I owe SSA money. $45,000 overpayment! What do I do? Please, any advice would help!!!

  1. #1

    I owe SSA money. $45,000 overpayment! What do I do? Please, any advice would help!!!

    I started working 1 year and 3 months after my SCI. I was collecting disability/SSI payments(I'm not honestly sure which one, but I was getting monthly payments from the government) for my son and I. I notified SSA as soon as I started working. Every time I had any correspondence with them I made a point to mention my job. I never tried to hide it from them. I don't know how the "system" works. I was not trying to "screw the system". I'm sure in one of their MANY letters they sent to my house, on one of their little inserts, it said something about how long I was supposed to be collecting monthly payments from them after working, but after seeing the 200th envelope with more useless info in it, you kind of stop reading the inserts and you just read the main letter.(at least I did) The only time they sent me anything asking about my spending habits was a questionaire about my son's benefits and how I spend them. I answered the best I could, and again, I wrote down my job income. (they stopped his benefits, saying I never returned the questionaire). But when they found that I had returned the questionare, they sent me a lump sum payment of the benefits he should have gotten from the time they stopped. Not a month after they sent me the lump sum payment, they stopped my benefits, and told me I owe them $45,000 in overpayment for me and him because of my work income. I filed a waiver. They never acknowledged that they recieved it, so I sent all the paperwork in again(waiver, bank statement, paycheck stubs, bills, etc...) I still haven't heard anything, but the overpayment notices have stopped. But then I just got a "thank you" letter from the treasurers office saying that they kept my tax refund -$4,300 and put it toward my debt to SSA. I'm so frustrated. I need this to stop. I don't need this debt hanging over my head. Not only don't I make enough at my job to live(about $1200 a month) Now they are taking the only money that helps me get somewhat caught up. What do I do? Would a lawyer be able to help me? Even one of the people I talked to at the SSA said they see this all the time.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crybaby2025 View Post
    I started working 1 year and 3 months after my SCI. I was collecting disability/SSI payments(I'm not honestly sure which one, but I was getting monthly payments from the government) for my son and I. I notified SSA as soon as I started working. Every time I had any correspondence with them I made a point to mention my job. I never tried to hide it from them. I don't know how the "system" works. I was not trying to "screw the system". I'm sure in one of their MANY letters they sent to my house, on one of their little inserts, it said something about how long I was supposed to be collecting monthly payments from them after working, but after seeing the 200th envelope with more useless info in it, you kind of stop reading the inserts and you just read the main letter.(at least I did) The only time they sent me anything asking about my spending habits was a questionaire about my son's benefits and how I spend them. I answered the best I could, and again, I wrote down my job income. (they stopped his benefits, saying I never returned the questionaire). But when they found that I had returned the questionare, they sent me a lump sum payment of the benefits he should have gotten from the time they stopped. Not a month after they sent me the lump sum payment, they stopped my benefits, and told me I owe them $45,000 in overpayment for me and him because of my work income. I filed a waiver. They never acknowledged that they recieved it, so I sent all the paperwork in again(waiver, bank statement, paycheck stubs, bills, etc...) I still haven't heard anything, but the overpayment notices have stopped. But then I just got a "thank you" letter from the treasurers office saying that they kept my tax refund -$4,300 and put it toward my debt to SSA. I'm so frustrated. I need this to stop. I don't need this debt hanging over my head. Not only don't I make enough at my job to live(about $1200 a month) Now they are taking the only money that helps me get somewhat caught up. What do I do? Would a lawyer be able to help me? Even one of the people I talked to at the SSA said they see this all the time.
    Did you keep ALL of the letters? If so put them in Chronological/date order. Then my next question is what does the letter state that came regarding the lump sum and how the overpayment happened.

    You only have 60 days to appeal. If they have withheld your tax return then they have not waived the overpayment. You won't get your tax money back. A lawyer will cost you out of pocket money...chances are you have already passed the 60 day time limit to appeal their decision anyway.

    You always have to pay attention to their letters no matter how useless and redundent you think they are and create a paper trail even if you have to mail certified letters to them.

    I am in an overpayment status right now myself but I have a paper trail where they were notified but they were just not doing their jobs. They kept depositing money into my daughters account not mine and I am not paying it back. I have kept every letter and answered every one with a letter.

    But you have to write letters according to their time lines and follow their rules....you can't just assume they are sending you junk mail.

    You recieve payments for 11 months after you start working this is known as the trial work period...after that...you have to pay it back.

    http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10095.html

    You can also make $1000 and still collect SSDI benefits

    Your letters will tell you whether you were collecting SSDI or SSI.
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  3. #3
    i don't believe dependents are eligible for benefits under SSI, so fwiw, you must have been getting SSDI. ditto everything daisy said.

  4. #4
    Senior Member skippy13's Avatar
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    If you are getting a 4300 dollar tax refund, you need to change your deductions so that you are keeping more of your money and not using the tax refund as a savings account. It is not a savings account. You should be able to adjust your deductions to get the money for yourself rather than just overpaying to the IRS throughout the year.

    A big tax refund is NOT a good thing.
    Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess

  5. #5
    Senior Member Skogy's Avatar
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    They overpaid me when I started working. I kept getting checks after I told them to stop. I had to pay every cent back. One thing everyone asked me was "if you knew you should not be getting the checks, why did you cash them?"

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Skogy View Post
    They overpaid me when I started working. I kept getting checks after I told them to stop. I had to pay every cent back. One thing everyone asked me was "if you knew you should not be getting the checks, why did you cash them?"
    Reasonable question....did you really think "they" would never catch up with themselves and you? Did you really think it was ethical for you to cash checks and spend money that you knew wasn't rightly yours? Not judging....just asking.....

    All the best,
    GJ

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by gjnl View Post
    Reasonable question....did you really think "they" would never catch up with themselves and you? Did you really think it was ethical for you to cash checks and spend money that you knew wasn't rightly yours? Not judging....just asking.....

    All the best,
    GJ
    Were you in any program like Ticket to Work?

    I always advise folks-IF SS continues to pay you, deposit it in a savings account for when they ask for it back. This happened to me years ago--I asked for and received the waiver however. My overpayment was much smaller.

    Direct deposit can confuse this issue--DO NOT EVER just mail the money back or return uncashed checks by mail--IT IS A NIGHTMARE.
    Every day I wake up is a good one

  8. #8
    I just had to pay back $30,000.00 in SSDI over payments.... I just stuck it all in a savings account until they got their crap together and figured out I was working and I had told them I was working... many times.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by skippy13 View Post
    If you are getting a 4300 dollar tax refund, you need to change your deductions so that you are keeping more of your money and not using the tax refund as a savings account. It is not a savings account. You should be able to adjust your deductions to get the money for yourself rather than just overpaying to the IRS throughout the year.

    A big tax refund is NOT a good thing.
    She's more than likely getting an earned income credit, not paying in too much.

    If you were only making 1200 a month you can probably find a few hundred dollars a month worth of medical expenses to deduct proving you weren't overpaid. However it is going to be a major headache getting it fixed. One SSDI person let me use my cell phone bill as a deduction citing using it for safety in order to get to work. The next year they would not.
    I hope you have not waited too long.
    If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.


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  10. #10
    By the way it usually goes a lot better if you go to the office in person to handle this.
    If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.


    Sometimes it is easier to widen doors than it is to open minds.

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