Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

How Do You Avoid, and What causes, a Social Security Disability Overpayment?

The most common reason for an overpayment of disability benefits is work activity on the part of the disability beneficiary. Many disability beneficiaries find that living on their disability benefits is difficult so they find a job to supplement their income. Which is perfectly fine if the social security disability and SSI guidelines about work activity are adhered to.

It is important for disability beneficiaries to be aware of substantial gainful activity earnings amounts: any month in which an individual works over that limit (SGA limit), after the full utilization of their nine month trial work period, could make them ineligible for benefits.

Obviously, if the Social Security Administration pays benefits for months that a disability beneficiary was ineligible due to work activity, it causes an overpayment. For this reason it is very important to report all work activity to Social Security timely.

Another common reason for an overpayment of disability benefits is a person's entitlement to workman’s compensation benefits. If a disability beneficiary receives workman’s compensation benefits, or a workman’s compensation settlement, they should contact Social Security immediately so that Social Security can apply the proper offset to their disability benefits.

It may not seem fair, but Social Security disability benefits are offset by any public disability (i.e. California state disability benefits) or workman’s compensation benefits. If a beneficiary does not report these benefits, they will incur an overpayment with Social Security.

Reasons for an overpayment with Social Security other than those listed above that may not be the disability beneficiary’s fault are computational errors (i.e. Social Security paid the wrong amount) on the part of the Social Security Administration.

These errors occur occasionally. If the disability beneficiary has no way to repay the erroneously paid disability benefits, their overpayment is waived by Social Security.

However, if a disability beneficiary has the financial means to repay even an overpayment caused by Social Security, they will have to repay the erroneously paid benefits.

There are two factors that must be met for Social Security to waive repayment of an overpayment. They are A) that the individual must not be at fault in creating the overpayment and B) they must not have the financial mean to repay the overpayment.

A word of caution: if an individual’s disability benefits are ceased due to medical improvement or the performance of substantial work activity for so many months that their disability benefits were terminated, there is often a large overpayment of benefits. Social Security considers this kind of overpayment to be the fault of the disability beneficiary and expects repayment.

Consequently, if a disability beneficiary wants to avoid being overpaid, they should be mindful of all work activity or entitlement to benefits such as workman’s compensation or public disability benefits.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

What should you do when a social security disability or ssi overpayment occurs?
How Do You Avoid, and What causes, a Social Security Disability Overpayment?
Why do social security disability and ssi overpayments happen?
Social Security made a mistake and assessed an overpayment and stopped benefits
Social Security Disability Waiver of Overpayment
Getting a Waiver of a Social Security Disability Overpayment
When happens when a person that has been receiving SSD monthly payments dies?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria