Reopening of a Prior Waiver in a Disability Case

"Thank you for taking my message. I hope you can find a answer to my question concerning the reopening of a prior waiver in my disability case. This is the situation; I was found disabled and approved for benefits as of May,2000. I received a notice of remand and reopening of my decision issued March, 2001.

In March 2004, I received a decision denying my reconsideration and decided I was not disabled during this period. I had a overpayment of $42,841.00 and all was waived except $2,166.00 I could not be found without fault. I was making monthly payments on this $2,166.00 during my new case.

I was then awarded benefits by the district court claiming a onset date of March, 2003. The notice of award stated a entitlement of approx., $90,027.00 in back benefits. Of that amt. $22,506.75 (21%) was withheld for attorney fees.

I received a back pay check of $31,599.00 in April, 2003. And monthly benfits have been ongoing. May, 2012, I received a notice that I was overpaid due to termination of benefits from Nov,2000 through March,2004. And they used all of my benefits for that period to reduce my past due back benefits. It also states I have a overpayment still remaining of $1,011.25.

My lawyer received 1/4 of the entire $90,027.00. Can a waiver be reopened in this manner? Please understand that my reason for remand was not a matter of lack of evidence but rather it was found the ALJ did not give my 2 physicians the weight they should have been given. I am unable to find a answer to this and therefore am going to request a hearing before a ALJ. I have no idea where to even begin. And I have yet to know if and why the waived amt. is now being enforcable. I hope you can give me a answer. Regards, Cynthia"

I, like you, am not sure why Social Security would charge an overpayment that has been previously waived. I have reviewed SSA policy on reopening waiver determinations, and according to regulations they generally to not reopen an overpayment that has been waived in the past.

Your situation is very unique as you were ceased and the overpayment was waived other than the $2166.00, however you became re-entitled to disability benefits for part of the initial disability period. There may be a provision that allows SSA to collect an overpayment from past due disability benefits with the new period of disability. I am really not sure.

I would suggest that you request another waiver. If you have a copy of your waiver approval notice include it with the request for waiver. Perhaps your waiver will be approved, if not, file a personal conference at your local Social Security office. If you're personal conference is denied, you can request a hearing before an ALJ. If your previous overpayment was waived, you have a good chance of having the overpayment waived by the judge.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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