Dec 31, 2014

What Would You Do?

     Back in May we received a fee of $5,911 on a client. That's what the "maximum fee" of $6,000 comes to after the "user fee." On November 20, we received a fee of $65.86. I sent the $65.86 back to the Social Security field office since it was in excess of what we are supposed to receive. Today, I received another check for $65.86 in the case.
     I could send the money back to Social Security but they may reissue the check to me once again. I could send the money to my client since it's almost certainly supposed to go to him but later Social Security may declare me overpaid by $65.86 and they won't care that I sent the money directly to the client. As far as they're concerned, it's always their money that's been overpaid and a direct payment to the client doesn't resolve the overpayment. I could tear up the check but the money really should go to the client. I could spend a lot of time on the phone trying to convince Social Security to take the money back from me and reissue it to my client but it's only $65.86 and it may not matter how much time we spend on the phone about this.
     What would you do?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Money goes in escrow account.

Anonymous said...

Send it directly to Colvin. Let her solve the problem.

Anonymous said...

I'd send it to the client if that's where it was supposed to go. If SSA then wanted it back, I'd just pay it back. How much of your time is saving $65.86 worth?

Anonymous said...

Put in escrow, send letter to both field office and payment center, and if nothing happens after 90 days contact OGC.

I did that on a case earlier this year when I was sent two checks both app $5900. I cashed one and escrowed the other. I finally got a letter with instructions to remit it after OGC stepped in.

It also helped my client because in so doing I made sure they didn't overpay her either (it was Title Ii and widow benefits)

Max Abilify said...

You can play the return/reissue game ad infinitem. Stick the payment in your IOLTA account, and send one letter to OCO about the overpayment. You will eventually get a fee overpayment notice with language threatening you with suspension from representation before SSA unless you return the overpayment. Until they have the overpayment on the system, you can't clear it.

Anonymous said...

If you don't cash the check and just let it sit in a drawer, has an over-payment actually occurred?

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the current world of SSA.

The employees in OCO/PSCs don't care about stuff like this. They don't and won't expend even one iota of effort to resolve situation. They instead take the path of least resistance. In this case, it is much easier to just re-issue the check to you rather than to actually take the time to figure out what to do with it.

Anonymous said...

When this happens to me I return it to the field office. I make a copy of the check, write returned and the date on it, and have the fo staff write their name on it and sign it. I keep a copy for my records and send one with a letter to the client. I am reluctant to send to the client for fear I'll have to pay taxes on it (mine are often higher; situations where I waived fees and got paid anyway). Calling the attorney fees branch never worked--they don't call back.

Anonymous said...

Good call on the attorney fee branch, or really any of the mods, very hard to reach someone live.

Justin

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