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Disability payments-when overpayment is bad news

For any disabled worker in Ohio, that first check from the Social Security Administration (SSA) leaves you will a great feeling. Because many people are initially denied Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits when they apply, being approved for and actually receiving the payments may seem like the end of a long struggle.

Imagine the horror you would feel if, after a few months, or even years on the SSDI program, you suddenly receive notice from the SSA that they have been overpaying your benefits and you now owe the SSA thousands of dollars for those overpayments? 

While the SSA claims its payment accuracy is 99 percent, with billions of dollars in payments every year to SSDI beneficiaries could still mean thousands of people are receiving these unsettling notices every year.

However, with thousands of fewer employees and cuts to the budget, SSA is short handed and with the baby boomers aging, the program will continue to experience growth, placing additional pressure on the agency and likely increasing the number of errors.

A CNN story describes one woman who had was receiving for her two autistic sons. Her husband had received a raise that made them ineligible for SSI.

While she let SSA know six months after they received the raise, SSA apparently reevaluated their case and determined that in addition to owing six months of SSI payments, she should never have received any benefits, and they wanted more than four years of payments back.

She calculates that it may take her 30 years to repay this debt. With this type of a problem with SSA, an attorney can provide help to sort out what happened and work to develop a reasonable solution. 

Source: CNNMoney.com, “‘I was overpaid by Social Security’,” Blake Ellis, October 28, 2013

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