Sep 3, 2017

An Old Overpayment

     From WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, MI:
More than a decade after the Social Security Administration overpaid a Hesperia couple, they’re being told they owe the federal government nearly $22,000.
Janet and Edward Marshall said they were floored when they got a letter last week telling them to repay the money within 30 days. They have no idea how they’re going to come up with the cash.
“I’m almost died. My husband almost died. Couldn’t believe it,” Janet Marshall told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday. “I mean, after 15 years you send a letter? And what part of disability don’t they understand?”
In each check sent to the Marshalls between 2002 and 2005, Social Security overpaid them by roughly $600.
“(In) 2004, he was receiving $1,038 and he should’ve only got $463.60,” Marshall said, reading the letter from Social Security.
In all, they got an extra $21,970. ...
     I post from time to time about how unfair it is that there is no statute of limitations on the collection of Social Security overpayments by setoff. This sort of case is why I think the lack of a statute of limitations is wrong.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

The rest of the letter would have said to contact SSA for a possible waiver or arrangement of payments if they were unable to afford or had good cause

Anonymous said...

Statute of Limitations would not apply to this. Given the cyclical workload, this sounds like the NH received workers' compensation and failed to report it. SSA is following up on cases where the claim failed to report their workers' compensation. Most of these cases (see from processing waiver requests) had the NH sign a repayment and reporting agreement. So, no, the NH is at fault here and your suggestion would be pointless because the overpayment would just now exists since SSA did not make the determination until recently.

Anonymous said...

What about the reverse? If SSA discovered that someone had been underpaid (WC offset applied when it should not have been) for 10 years, should the recipient then qualify for the additional funds?

Administrative finality reopening rules are already in existence, a four year rule for SSDI and and 2 year rule for SSI. Both are tossed if fraud is involved. Perhaps the 4 year rule was incorrectly ignored.

Anonymous said...

@12:13pm -
If it is a change in the facts it is never administrative finality. Also, yes, I have seen people get underpaid from WC, get the payment years later, and then have had to explain how they are not do more money because they are getting the highest amount possible based on their earnings (i.e. unreduced, no offset).
See GN04001.030 and GN04030.080.

Arizona Jim said...

I believe SSA is barred from collecting after 10 years. Ninth Cir. once tossed a SSA tardy attempt to collect over payment because SSA had destroyed all records by time they sent repayment demand.

Anonymous said...

This couple needs to file an appeal of the overpayment and specifically cite Social Security regulations 404.510a and 404.512(a). However, this waiver would only apply if the documents they received from Social Security (award letter, subsequent letters regarding cost of living adjustments) cited the amount(s) they received. For example, if the documents said they would receive $3,000 per month and that is what they received but in reality they should have only been entitled to $2400 a month, then the above regs come into play and the overpayment would be waived.

Anonymous said...

@8:39am
Again, that would only apply if the facts do not change. If they failed disclose or report something, then they would be "at fault" in causing the overpayment. Just from my experience in the field, this sounds like a workers' compensation issue because they do take time to settle and after ~5-7 years (entirely possible) of waiting for their settlement or claim, they would have forgotten they needed to report it to Social Security.

Anonymous said...

Should that statute of limitations apply to underpayments too? I know I have paid people tens of thousands of dollars when we discovered that they should have been paid a higher rate going back 10-20 years. Say they filed retirement prior to FRA and deemed filing applies. For some reason a (divorced) spouse's claim was never taken and the guy died a few years ago.
As someone said above, this was most likely a worker's compensation case that the claimant failed to report to SSA when it was settled.

Anonymous said...

8:39

Man, everyone seems to forget there is a second prong to the waiver of repayment of overpayment claim. Not being at fault is just the first hurdle the claimant must show to get to the second prong. I always find it so funny that folks waste infinite time debating without fault in cases where prong two is clearly not going to be satisfied.