SSI Overpayments

by admin on May 4, 2021 · SSI Overpayments

If you are like many SSI recipients, you dread seeing a letter from Social Security. The letter arrives in an official looking envelope…you open and sure enough there is another overpayment.

Overpayments on your SSI record arise for a variety of reasons; however, they all have one factor in common: other income. If you receive income from your spouse’s employment, your employment, child support, an insurance settlement, inheritance, or even if you win money won at the casino, this income will most likely create an overpayment with your SSI benefits.

If you are working and receiving SSI benefits, Social Security excludes only $85 of what you earn from the job each month when counting your income. After excluding the first $85 (pre-tax or gross earnings) they will deduct $1 for every $2 you earn over the $85 limit. When you report that you are working to Social Security they will base your monthly SSI payments off an estimate of your work earnings. This estimate is usually higher than what you actually earn to prevent you from being overpaid. You will need to submit copies of your pay stubs to the local Social Security office to ensure that you are being paid correctly.

If you are working and receiving SSI benefits or if your child receives SSI benefits and you or your spouse starts working, you need to notify Social Security as soon as possible. If you don’t call Social Security to let them know, the IRS will notify Social Security of your earnings and you will have a hefty overpayment to deal with. Social Security could even stop your SSI benefits because of your earnings.

This is true for any other income you receive. Insurance settlements, casino or lottery winnings, and family inherences all affect your SSI payment amounts. You might think Social Security won’t know, but they always find out. It’s best to notify them in advance than to receive that nasty overpayment letter later.

When you receive an overpayment letter from Social Security you have 60 days to file an appeal. At the end of the 60 day timeframe Social Security will usually start withholding ten percent of your SSI benefits for the overpayment. If you don’t agree with Social Security’s reason for your overpayment there are two ways to file an appeal. If the overpayment is not your fault you can file for reconsideration on the overpayment. This could be if Social Security made a mistake and paid you too much. If paying your overpayment back would create a financial hardship for you where you would not be able to pay your rent, food, and medical expenses, you can request a waiver. You can even file both reconsideration and waiver requests. To request reconsideration or a waiver call Social Security at the toll-free number below.

If your overpayment was caused by cashing two checks for a given month Social Security generally will not waive the overpayment unless you can prove it wasn’t you that cashed both checks. To prove this you will have to submit signature samples and the Treasury Department will conduct an investigation. Some people who receive SSI cash the check they receive on the first of the month, and then call Social Security to report that they did not receive the check. Social Security is very trusting until you give them a reason not to be; they will send out a replacement check for the one you didn’t receive. If you cash both checks this is called “double check negotiation.” Social Security frowns on this and people who do this can be prosecuted for fraud.

If you receive an overpayment letter from Social Security the best thing to do is call the toll-free number to clarify the reason for the overpayment and how it will affect your check. Social Security is notorious for poorly written letters and a representative should be able to answer your questions and tell you how the overpayment will affect your SSI payments. To speak to a representative, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

marilyn bloch December 6, 2009 at 4:18 pm

i receive ssi and all they want to pay is 449. i used to get 630 in ny. how much is ssi in ny?

Ignacio Patino for Milagros Patino January 3, 2010 at 1:46 pm

My name is Ignacio Patino I’m the father of Milagros Patino who is receiving SSI.I received a letter on October saying I had an overpayment of $231.46 then in December 5, 2009 I receive the same letter but this time it I had an amount of $2,233.50. As of Dec.29.2009 my total of overpayment is of $2,166.10. I want to know the reason why this is happening. The amount keeps incresing throughout the months. Is there anything I can do to fix this?

billie December 6, 2010 at 7:10 pm

I would like to know why i have an overpayment for the month of November. My sons father died oct. 2, I haven’t received a cs payment since sept. 29. I reported him dead in nov., now i get the dreaded overpayment letter that not only says i am overpaid, but i am overpaid by a dead man. My local office runs a incompetent, unprofessional and uninformative office. First of all the expected amount of child support was supposed to be changed to $360.00 per mo. (child support order is 360.00 per mo), the worker i had changed it with, took it upon himself to change (without my knowledge) my expected amount to 450.00 per mo. Why would we expect 450.00 when court order says to pay360.00 per mo. And if I am expecting to get 450.00 per mo. than why is there an overpayment if i receive more than 360.00. Last why don’t they increase the next check when i don’t receive the expected amount of 450 or the the court ordered 360.00. They never pay me back for underpayments or mistakes that they make. They told me they don’t have enough time or people to check my child support (which takes 1 minute to bring up) so i am responsible for providing them with this information. How do i provide them with this? Good question. They have a local telephone number that no one answers (when i asked why, i was told once again they were to busy and not enough people, and will admit they don’t answer it. ) I asked if I could fax the information to specific person attention, and i was told, someday they work the front desk, some days they interview clients etc., so if i faxed it, it most likely would not be seen by the person i was faxing to. Isn’t this just “dumb” so far? WEll IT GETS DUMBER. Lets just say i mailed it to them, this is what is going to happen. 1 I will have to wait till the last day of the month to be sure of my chd support payments for that month, by the time they receive the information the mistake is already being made. So i cant possibly give them information that i am responsible to provide to them and stop the overpayment before it happens bottom line ….I’m getting an overpayment whether i have one or not and if i don’t like it too bad because i didn’t provide them with the information to change this from happening. Question? I mentioned it only takes 1 minute to pull up my child support case information, don’t you think it takes longer to give me an overpayment and foul up my payments. They have access to my case information, i had to sign a release so they could. why do i have to give them access to my personal information that they don’t have enough time or people to look at it. And did they look at to determine i have an overpayment. I have a landlord that wants to know why i don’t know how much i am getting per mo and always behind in rent. I don’t know how much longer he will put up with this. Several appointments later, i still have no guarantees. Now its Christmas time and my sons father dies and now the 360.00 chd support payments are gone, i owe my landlord back and current rent and i have to wait 45 days to find out my son is eligible for survivors benefits and my check will be reduced because “I was overpaid by a deadman” who is stupid?

loyda June 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm

i needed this money to help my kids i think it was a bad idea to cash both checks im sitting on egg shells over here wondering what they are going to do ssi dont give u much to take care of ur family

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