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Jul 25, 2009

"Doesn't Necessarily Mean You're Fine"

From the Rochester Post-Bulletin:

Three years into retirement, William Dunn of Rochester thought all was going well. Then he received a nine-page letter from the Social Security Administration that caught him off guard.

The letter, dated May 11, said he'd been overpaid and owed the administration $6,114....

"I've been enjoying retirement too much to work," he said. "I knew something was messed up."

Dunn appealed the letter and is waiting for the administration's investigation to be complete....

Carmen Moreno, communications director for Social Security in the Chicago region, said, "Just because you're getting benefits doesn't necessarily mean they're fine."

If you went only by what you heard from Social Security's Office of Inspector General you would believe that overpayments happen only because of fraud by claimants. There is some of that, but there is also a lot of what happened to Mr. Dunn.


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    Anonymous John Herling said...

    As anyone who has ever been a BA for SSA knows, overpayments can occur due to SSA computation errors rather than beneficiary error or fraud. An o/p can be waived if the beneficiary was not at fault, but only if he or she cannot afford to pay it back. Partial withholding of benefits is an option.

    1:04 PM, July 25, 2009  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    read this for more info:

    1:28 PM, July 25, 2009  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sounds like his work report was too low and that this is not an SSA error at all. If you're not full-retirement age, you have an obligation to keep SSA updated with an accurate estimate of what you're going to earn.

    6:32 PM, July 25, 2009  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    There is absolutely nothing in the newspaper article that explains the reason for the overpayment. Another fine job of "journalism".

    4:26 PM, July 26, 2009  
    Anonymous Mack said...

    As an SSA employee, it is so typical of people to give a lower earnings estimate or to give a lower figure of let's say $14,000 and then make $35,000 and complain about why they were overpaid. The disabled folks do this too, going back to work for years and then actually having the nerve to think that they could keep working for years with no disruption of their disability payments. As if when they filed the claims and got approved, that they said all along that they would be working. Had they told the truth and said they would be going back to work soon, issues such as trial work period and any ramifications could have been explained. But no, we have this article that acts like the agency just sent him a notice with no reason at all. If you underreport it affects your benefits, sorry this is the real world folks!

    8:55 PM, July 26, 2009  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    He was probably paid using the monthly earnings test and simply failed to file an annual report.

    Happens all the time - no news here.

    12:19 AM, July 27, 2009  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I suspect the last poster is correct - if your estimate of earnings for the year isn't the same as your W-2 sumitted after the end of the year, the system ignores the non-work months until the person responds to the letter and an SSA employee confirms the non-work month. The idea is that if your W-2 doesn't match your estimate, maybe you changed your work activity and didn't tell SSA. The article says he had no work activity but we don't know if that meant none in the year or none after he filed.

    6:44 PM, July 27, 2009  

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