Why do Social Security Disability and ssi overpayments happen?

Why do Social Security Disability and ssi overpayments happen?

Disability benefit overpayments (both Social Security Disability and SSI) happen for a variety of reasons. Some overpayments are caused by the disability beneficiary and others are not.

Overpayments are often created due to work activity on the part of the disability beneficiary,resulting in an overpayment of monthly benefits to the beneficiary and their dependents. Performing SGA---in other words, earning more gross monthly income than the allowed limit for SGA or substantial gainful activity---may suspend your monthly benefit.

Additionally, some overpayments are caused by disability medical cessations. What does this mean? It means that the state agency responsible for reviewing your file every few years (see CDRs) has determined that you have had medical improvement and are no longer disabled according to Social Security rules and regulations.

In such situations, if a benefit recipient has elected to continue receiving benefits while they appeal their cessation and then lose their disability appeal, they will have been overpaid and will be responsible for paying this money back.

In somewhat rarer instances, of course, it may be that the Social Security administration has paid a disability benefits recipient too much money due to a computational error, which may not be the fault of the recipient.

Therefore, if you receive a letter from Social Security stating you have an overpayment, you should contact your local Social Security office to determine the cause of the overpayment and to make arrangements to resolve the overpayment.

What should you do if you have been assessed an overpayment of disability benefits? For more information, refer to this page:

What should you do when a disability overpayment happens?

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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