Unable to Repay - Overpayment

If you are trying to ask the Social Security Administration to waive an overpayment amount, you must first satisfy a basic two prong test:

  1. The Beneficiary must be without fault, AND The Beneficiary must be unable to afford to repay without risking the ability to provide for basic needs, OR
  2. Recovery of the overpayments would be "Against equity and good conscience".

When assessing an individual's ability to repay the overpayment, SSA will look to see if your income is needed for "ordinary and necessary living expenses." If you are receiving SSI or some other kind of welfare benefit, SSA will assume that that recovery of the overpayment will "defeat the purposes of the act". You are presumed to be unable to repay the overpayment.

However, if you keep any of the overpaid funds, then it is assumed that recovery of these funds is NOT against the purposes of the act and SSA will able to recoup these funds to reduce the outstanding balance. For example, if you have a case pending and are awarded a large amount of back pay, this can be used to repay your overpayment.

For other beneficiaries, SSA must consider a monthly budget picture. If the beneficiary uses substantially all of monthly income to meet "ordinary and necessary living expenses" then the inability to repay will be found. If not, the beneficiary must repay the overpayment.

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