Overpayments Cause Chaos – How to Challenge Them

Overpayment notices arrive like incoming missiles, shattering the fragile stasis of the lives of disability paymnet recipients. Frequently there are errors in the notices, many caused by Social Secuity itself. A common situation is one where the client has reported income and Social Security has failed to record it. Often a skilled advocate can challenge the amount due, whether any amount is due, and/or create a reasonable payback plan that doesn’t put a client out on the street. Decisions can be appealed – judges often want to settle these complicated cases rather than spend weeks unraveling contradictory notices and book keeping problems.

A recent posting on an HIV list-serve by Hilary Armstrong, Senior Attorney with
AIDS Legal Services at Law Foundation of Silicon Valley notes that
clients who have a 100% Medicare Part D subsidy, POMS GN 02210.030(B)(6) requires SSA to accept a $10 per month repayment plan offer for any overpayment, even if that would not allow full recovery within 36 months: “If a negotiated/requested rate would not permit recovery within 36 months but the debtor has a 100% Medicare Part D subsidy, grant, without financial development, any request that is at least $10.” SSA may apply this POMS section even when the underlying overpayment is significant (i.e. $15,000-50,000), though it does usually require actually printing out the section and highlighting the applicable part for the claims representative. Sometimes SSA will accept $10 per month plans for clients without Medicare who would be financially eligible for a 100% Medicare Part D subsidy (i.e. SSI only clients).